Got a list of New Year’s Resolutions but feel a little lost? Perhaps a small piece of you is realizing that while your resolutions are lovely, something just doesn’t add up about them.
I don’t hate New Year’s resolutions
It’s pretty cliche these days to hate on the idea of making a New Year’s Resolution. And it makes sense- lots of people wake up miserable from hangovers on January 1 and make a ridiculous list of things that are gonna make this year be THE YEAR they get their shit together, but don’t have the logistics sorted out. Sure, if you write down “I’m gonna lose 20 pounds, pay off my student loans, and buy a house!” without serious research into how all that’s gonna go, you’re gonna have a crappy time.
But the thing is, January 1 always feels pretty magical to me. There’s a crispness in the air (yes, even in San Francisco) and I can just feel the hope radiating off people when I walk down the street. There’s a general sense that they can shake off the grossness of the past year and set things in motion to kick more ass in the coming year. When I see clients in the first few days of the year, there’s often a gorgeous sense of hope that we can weave in to their long-term goals. I’m not gonna hide my enthusiasm for New Years- I love it!
What I do hate…
Is the barrage of shit in which they are both made and broken. Most of the time, those lists of changes we write up are based out of an inner self-cruelty. We might translate “I’m gonna get in shape” to “I hate my body” or “I’m gonna stick to my budget” as “I see myself as a person with no self-control.” Underneath most of the resolutions I see going around is an idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with me. And as magical as a new calendar year feels, it’s not gonna change that belief, especially if you don’t acknowledge it.
So I’m gonna suggest a reframe:
If you truly loved yourself, what habits would you naturally implement?
If you looked in the mirror every morning and said “oh hell yes” to everything about yourself, what would that motivate you to do?
- Would you exercise not to “burn off” anything, but because you love feeling strong?
- Would you eat fresh foods because they made you feel energized, and treated yourself to sweets because they are tasty?
- Would you read more books, naturally, because you enjoyed the stories?
- Would you save up for a fabulous vacation because you know you deserve it?
To be honest, writing this list made me energized just thinking about how awesome those self-love habits are. I felt that expansive, bubbly feeling in my chest that I’ve come to learn means I’m on the right track with something. I know you can lie to yourself and tell yourself that you’re, say, counting diet “points” because you love yourself, but your body and mind are telling you that you’re berating yourself.
Self-love is an ongoing relationship
Now that you’re thinking about changing your behavior from a place of love, it’s tempting to go all-out in a flurry of good feelings and better habits. Cool! But you want the whole thing to be sustainable, too. If you’ve ever beaten yourself up because you didn’t succeed at a goal, be aware that that could happen again, despite how awesome your new goals are. So start small- what’s the next action that can move you a little more toward that place of self-kindness? Keep things manageable and gentle and let them build over time. You’re in this for the long haul, not just January!