New Years Resolutions- Are They a Good Idea?
Oh New Years… The start of a new year, a fresh start, a time to really start living life…right? The truth is, I used to make New Years Resolutions. They typically involved things like ‘see my friends more’, ‘work harder’, or ‘eat less sugar’. The most common resolutions Americans make are to lose weight, eat healthier, and make more money. I would like to propose something new for you to try this year; NOT making any resolutions. I am not saying that it is wrong of you to want to make your life better. If you think your choices are causing health problems then I applaud you for wanting to make changes to feel better. If you believe making more money will help you live a happier life then that is great to have this as a goal.
The problem with these and most resolutions is they imply that we are not okay as we are right now. When I think about my past resolutions what I was really saying to myself was ‘I don’t see my friends enough and therefore I am not a good friend’, ‘I don’t work hard enough’, or ‘I am bad because I eat too much sugar’. Now, perhaps some of these things were true, and some of them were not, but the fact is I was telling myself that I was not a good enough person as I was, and I needed to do something to fix myself.
Then I would try to adhere to these resolutions. I really enjoy eating some things with sugar but I would resist for as long as I could, usually 1-2 weeks, and then when I couldn’t take it any longer I would cave and eat (gasp!) chocolate! That’s when the disappointment would set in. Often I would feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment for not having enough willpower to resist the lure of the forbidden fruit. In the end my resolution ended up making feel worse than before I started it!
I no longer set New Years Resolutions. Instead, I take a look back at everything I accomplished over the year and practice gratitude for everything that has happened. I urge you to do the same this year.
The Anti New Years Resolution Plan
Step 1: Tell yourself that you are good enough RIGHT NOW! You do not need to lose 10 pounds or get a raise at work. You are an amazing human being just as you are with all of your flaws and missteps.
Step 2: Think about your life over the past year. Realize all that you have accomplished and be proud of yourself! Even if you think to yourself “I didn’t accomplish anything”. Even if you had some difficult times, perhaps you can recall something that you learned from having an arduous experience? How did you grow and change from having a painful event in your life?
Step 3: If you need help along the way with accepting that you are good enough as you are right now, I encourage you to get help from a trusted professional :)