This is a time of year when people are quickly falling off of their New Year’s Resolution wagons. December 31, with the glitz and glamour of a sparkling New Year’s Eve, often brings people face to face with the things they want to change in the new year. But rather than making a new years resolution which rapidly turns to faded enthusiasm, why not just make a new days resolution, each day, to start fresh and live your best life? Instead of making a lofty goal and then hating yourself for falling short, just resolve to make small changes each day and move yourself toward big successes.
This might sound simplistic or too “soft”. Perhaps you’ve been taught to believe that you must be hard on yourself and have big goals to achieve anything. I’m proposing an alternative: be loving with yourself, and celebrate small victories. Set realistic, specific and achievable goals. When you achieve a goal, even a small goal, celebrate your success. Be happy with your small successes, and they will lead you naturally to bigger ones. What if the only resolution you made in 2014 was to love yourself more?
I see so many people as a therapist who absolutely despise themselves. They tell me endlessly how unhappy they are with the way they look, the way they live, the people they love. I listen, and I wish that each person filled with self loathing would just wake up and love who they are. I have told many clients what I’ve struggled to learn myself: hating yourself will never lead to anything productive. Any form of self improvement, no matter what you hope to improve, must be centered in and motivated by love, in order to be successful.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to lose some weight, or get more toned, or learn to dance, or heal your ulcer…or conquer your fear of heights, or become a huge business success….unless you approach and manage the changes you want to make in yourself from a place of love….you are setting yourself up for disappointing setbacks and ultimate frustration and failure. The truth of change is that it is difficult under the best circumstances. As humans, we are creatures of habit. We turn to what is familiar because it is familiar. We find comfort in familiarity. Even when we know that something (smoking, for instance) is not healthy for us, we cling to our bad habits because they have become a familiar comfort to us.
So, before you go beating yourself up over already dashed new year’s resolutions…stop and think what you would say to your best friend. Before you begin to berate yourself over the failed first week of the year, think of how you would speak to a young child who is frustrated over trying to learn something new. Make this year the year you change your approach toward yourself. Base your changes on self love. Talk to yourself as if you are extremely valuable, loved, and precious. Because, in fact, you are.