I’m pretty sure I’ve been striving for self-improvement since utero. Now, by self-improvement what I really mean is setting a million unrealistically high expectations and heaping on the guilt and critical self talk when I fail to meet them. Not exactly setting the gold standard for being kind to myself, am I?
My perfectionism was so intense and relentless. Instead of motivating me to achieve my best, it was a crushing my self-esteem and raising my anxiety. I’m convinced I was actually achieving less and being miserable while I did it. So you can only imagine how making New Year’s resolutions only fed the flame!
I needed a shift away from striving. So a few years ago, at the advice of a super-wise bestie, I resolved to stop making New Year’s resolutions. Here’s what I do now…
3 Ways to Revamp your New Year’s Resolution
1. Year in Review Journal Entry
I keep a special journal to track big milestones, quotes or insights that flutter across my path. I write in it only a few times a year usually, but It always includes a recap of the past years – biggest accomplishments, losses, life milestones, career focus, family adventures, etc.
Then I add a SHORT list of dreams/predictions for next year. Okay, okay…yes, predictions are a little like resolutions, but for me it took the pressure off. After seeing all the amazing achievements of this year, I was in a different mind space to set a vision for the coming year.
2. Pick a Word
The same rockstar bestie that suggested I fire New Year’s resolutions, introduced me to her method of setting intentions for the year. Pick one word that reminds you daily of a core value you want to grow in your life.
So simple! One word!
Then plaster that word all over your life – in your passwords, post it notes on your bathroom mirror, tattoo your booty, whatever you need to do to keep that word fresh in your mind.
Some of my past words have been – joy, pause & connect, less, kindness, be still. Pick any word that speaks to your heart & your true nature. Then, use it to center and guide you as you make your daily choices. Does this bring me closer or further away from ____ (joy, connecting with other, etc).
3. Keep the Commitments You Make to YOURSELF
Rachel Hollis describes this concepts so beautifully in her book Girl, Wash your Face. I’ll paraphrase here – We make commitments to so many people, our boss, our spouse, kids, girlfriends & we keep them. I’ll take lead on that project. I’ll cook dinner tonight. Here’s $10 for your fieldtrip. Girls night on Thursday?…I’m there! We make plans, we commit to action, we keep our word. No way would we make empty promises and damage our reputation or relationship.
So why are we continually punking out on ourselves? I want to lose 10 pounds. I want to save money. I want to travel. Then… no follow through. Y’all we gotta stop it!!
Set a goal that’s really worth your effort, make a plan, get accountability and support to do it. Be real about the hurdles. Some barriers are easy to figure out an alternative, but others can feel daunting. Does an unfulfilling relationship, depression or anxiety have you frozen? If you feel stuck we are here to help you figure out a path forward. Touch base with us today.
Author – Martha Rosado, LPC