Not to be the Grinch who stole New Year’s, but I must preface this post with a disclaimer that I’m a bit anti-New Year’s resolution. This is not because I’m not all for making positive changes in our lives…in fact, I’m the complete opposite. My reasoning behind my dislike for resolutions is because it is very rare that I come across someone who actually stuck to his or her resolution, and made real changes.
Like many other things in life, it’s easy for what started out as a good intention for yourself, to turn into another reason for self-loathing. How many people out there vow to eat healthier, exercise five days a week, quit smoking, insert resolution here, and then after a week or two completely give up because you either think you’ve already failed so why bother, lose interest, or just plain forgot. This is the perfect ammunition for you to start out your shiny New Year feeling like crap because ‘once again you’ve tried and failed.’ Sound familiar? I know, because I’ve been there.
It is extremely difficult to make lasting changes if you don’t change your thinking in the process. Every day of the year is a new opportunity for change, not just January 1st. Everyday is a new opportunity to love yourself a little more. Everyday is a new opportunity to accept yourself as is, no matter what. Everyday is a new opportunity to reflect and contemplate the things you want to work on. Everyday is a new opportunity to work on those things, and be ok with it if you slip up. Everyday is a new opportunity to realize perfection is an illusion, and you are perfectly imperfect. Everyday is a new opportunity to know you are doing the best you can, and that is good enough.
Fueling yourself with good thoughts will give you the good feelings that are needed for motivation that doesn’t dissipate after a few weeks. Lasting motivation comes from feeling good, and feeling good comes from thoughts that serve you in a positive way. Hating yourself and/or negative self-talk will never work long term.
If you struggle with the idea of not ringing in the New Year with a resolution, I have few suggestions. First, come up with something realistic. If you’ve never exercised, don’t say you will exercise three days a week; maybe start with one. Second, if you don’t stick to the resolution 100%, be kind to yourself. Tomorrow is a new day. Lastly, have fun with it! Don’t look at is a chore or a punishment. Try and look at it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and change for the better.
For those of you who’d like to try something new this year, an alternative to New Year’s resolutions, that I have become fond of, is choosing a word for the year that inspires you. Back around New Year’s of 2009, someone I admire told me to envision what I wanted for myself that year. She told me not to worry about how I was going to get it, but to just hold the vision, and think of a word that would help me fulfill my dream for the year. I envisioned a wedding (even though I was single at the time), and my word for the year was BELIEVE. That year, I just kept on believing in my dream, and a year later I got engaged.
The word should evoke a giddiness within you that will feel so good, you will be easily motivated to make positive changes in your life. This year, I choose ALLOW.
What can you think about that gets you feeling inspired for 2016? Think of something that excites and scares you a little, and go for it! Today, just like every day, is a new day. You have the opportunity to make this year different if you choose to do so. You are in control of your life and how you feel. Your feelings come from your thoughts, so if you want to do one nice thing for yourself this year, choose your thoughts wisely!