It's the time of year when loads of people try to fundamentally change themselves in a matter of weeks, get frustrated 10 days in, and give up. Cheerful, eh? Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be down on resolutions, and self-improvement is a really important part of self-care. But it can't be denied that most yearlong goals don't even make it to February.
I think the reason so many folks fail at their New Year resolutions isn't for lack of trying, or even out of overambitiousness, but rather because people are simply too hard on themselves. People attack themselves (and most often, their bodies) instead of attacking the behavior itself. Don't get mad at your body that you're feeding it poorly, figure out why you're feeding it poorly. Don't get mad at yourself because your life feels so hectic, think about when you have felt the most organized or when you've best managed time and tasks, and how you can best emulate that again. Instead of expecting yourself to magically become perfect, learn how to redefine the relationships and behaviors that aren't working for you right now. You will never sustain a goal that is fueled by resentment, so to give your plans longevity, root them in self-love, and come at them from a place of respect and caretaking, instead of hatred and punishment. As with all things, and in all cases, my advice is to try love first.
In that vein, before you tell yourself that 2019 will be a bust if you can't lose 15 pounds or completely revamp your entire house (what a way to value a trip around the sun, amirite?), take just a little bit of time to sit with yourself. Think about 2018 and what memories from it make you happiest. What served you well? What do you think you would've done differently? Does this all seem easier said than done? Well, luckily I've put together a brief little worksheet to get you thinking about 2018, and how you would like to experience your life in 2019!
This year, instead of making all-at-once ginormous changes to change one small aspect of yourself, try making small changes that will effect your whole being by letting yourself feel taken care of. It's incredible how we can find the energy to gradually make and sustain better decisions for ourselves when we've taken the time to look after our wellbeing. I promise, taking ten minutes a day to check in with yourself and breathe is actually more important than getting in that hour at the gym. On good days, do both! But if you have to choose between the two, spend the time checking in, breathing, and rooting down. That one simple act will echo through you, and better all of the areas in your life, and will help you meet your goals a lot more effectively than a crash diet will. It's about replacing a superficial resolution with the resolute intention to love yourself.
Still feeling at a loss for small ways to make yourself feel taken care of each day? Here are some suggestions:
- Take a short walk somewhere aesthetically pleasing
- Write down three things you're grateful for
- Do as much prep for your next morning as possible before bed, so you wake up without an immediate to-do list
- Take 5 or 10 minutes a day to meditate, in whatever form you find most soothing
- Set aside a bit of time for your favorite hobby
- Find a new podcast to listen to
- Write down everything you got done at the end of each day, so you fall asleep feeling accomplished
It doesn't have to be a huge task or gesture, just something little. We're always taking the time to do little things to make our loved ones feel good, and this is just sending a little of that goodwill back to ourselves, so we can keep replenishing, and keep that love flowing. The worksheet will help you reflect on your last year, and figure out the most effective ways to look after yourself in 2019. After all, we don't ultimately have any control over what the next 12 months will bring us. Our path is our path, and we can't do much about where it will wend. But how we walk down that path is entirely up to us, and hopefully this will help you start walking down 2019 with a smile and good vibes.
Happy New Year, lovies!