It’s a brand new year and many of us will have made (and immediately broken) outrageous resolutions designed to make us better, smarter, or more attractive people. And when these fall through, we suffer the mental anguish of failure for not being able to commit. Sooner or later, this all piles up until January is pretty much a write-off and we’ll wish we’d gone into hibernation instead.
It’s easy to look on social media and in magazines and compare ourselves to other people who are seemingly able to do it all. The hardest thing is setting realistic goals and outlining the steps you need to take to achieve them, whilst ensuring that your mental and physical well-being isn’t compromised in the process.
One idea I’ve heard for starting 2018 off on a positive note is to make New Year’s affirmations rather than resolutions. For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to quit smoking,” you could say, “I am quitting smoking”. By turning this goal into something positive and ongoing, you are acknowledging that any big change has ups and downs and you are focusing on that journey rather than the final result. This helps to remove the guilt you would have felt on days where it’s not going well and you are much more likely to succeed over all.
If affirmations aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps a general resolve to treat yourself more kindly would be the perfect beginning to your 2018. No matter how you’re feeling, most of us can afford to be gentler with ourselves and often this will lead organically to feeling more capable of achieving our other life goals! This doesn’t mean luxuriating in a 5 star spa at the weekend (though the occasional pamper session can’t hurt) but rather, getting familiar with your own needs and listening to what your body is saying when you’re pushing it to the limit.
Forgive yourself when you’ve reached the end of the day and there are still jobs on your to-do list; learn when enough is enough. Don’t be scared to ask for help when you are falling behind or struggling.
Equally, start to speak up when you’ve worked your butt off and you deserve acknowledgment. Being kind to yourself doesn’t always mean taking a step back; sometimes it means pushing forwards, recognising your achievements and feeling proud of yourself. It’s pushing negativity to one side and focusing on all that you’ve accomplished.
We all know so many people who are loyal friends, fantastic parents, highly regarded professionals, brilliant academics, powerful change-makers, or spectacular artists. And yet, they feel like failures because they don’t fulfill every role in that list. We can’t be all things to all people and we need to learn to recognise our strengths and the impact that we have in the lives of others without beating ourselves up for the areas we fall down in.
My goal every year is to do more to make myself happy. It’s not a difficult goal and I never fail at it. Some days all it takes is a cuddle on the sofa or a few minutes singing and jiggling in the shower (carefully, of course). And if a day doesn’t go my way then there’s always the next one.
What are you hoping to achieve this year? Have you got any resolutions or affirmations in the works?