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My therapist can attest to how much I like to focus on goals. We’ve discussed goals for my anxiety, exercise, and more. But she noticed something I needed to work on “drastically” in 2022 — something that was brand new to me, just in time for the new year.

After getting everything off my chest in our last session, she asked one question that left my mind blank: “Makaela, when was the last time you put your happiness before others’?” 

I couldn’t remember. It later dawned on me that I am someone who likes to see others happy. And I am generally a content human being, so why should it matter? Then thoughts started racing in my head: Why have I never put myself first? Am I doing a certain task for myself, or for someone else? Am I actually happy? Maybe I deserve more than what I’ve been giving myself in the past.

So she suggested my top goal in 2022 should be to put myself before others. That may sound selfish, but it’s selfish in a good way — it’s about attending to my needs first so that I can be more available for others. My mental health has taken a toll in the past because I haven’t taken care of myself.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a happy medium to this — I never want to lose that generous side of myself. But I know I’ve given my time and energy to friends when I wasn’t in the right headspace — when I wasn’t able to be fully there. 

After our session, I started creating a plan to prioritize self-care, beginning with continuing regular therapy. I came up with a list of practices that were all new to me:

  • Care for my own needs before I care for others.
  • Exercise 4-6 days per week (all my friends know I’m addicted to leg day).
  • Jot down my thoughts and feelings in a journal regularly.
  • Take a solo trip every year (I went to Denver for eight days this past September and it was life-changing!).

This list will continue to evolve as time goes on because I am learning to grow and give myself the care I’ve always needed.


When was the last time you did something for yourself? Can you remember a time when you put your feelings or mental health before someone else’s? If, like me, you can’t answer these questions confidently, then 2022 is a good opportunity to refresh. We’re through the holiday cheer (or chaos), so it’s time to start anew! 

All of us here at Grotto have been talking about how we’ll grow in ‘22 as a team and as individuals. And we want to make sure the Grotto community can find resources and inspiration if you’re stuck on how you want to develop this year. So, keep an eye out this month for pieces about starting fresh — from cultivating a growth mindset, to being confident in the gym, to stories of people who set out to change their lives. 

So cheers to 2022 — here’s to beginning to take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. We’re in the first pages of a 365-page book. How will you write your story?

—Makaela Douglas
Web Content Strategist

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