“New Year, New You?!”
Personally, this phrase makes me cringe for many reasons... but mainly, because I stand by the steadfast belief that we are all imperfectly perfect as we are.
Sometimes there may be different things blocking us from being our best selves, but I think it is a tragedy to buy into the belief that we need to reinvent ourselves in order to be acceptable to others, or to ourselves even.
I also believe that most resolutions are B.S. (Yup. Making a bold proclamation here.)
Now, does this mean I don't believe in healthy goal setting or creating healthy change? Of course not, I'm all about that in my professional and personal life.
Goals are necessary for overall well-being and emotional health because they create a sense of competency, cultivate tenacity, and provide focus and structure to our lives.
What gets tricky though is that many New Year's resolutions or goals are motivated by a belief of inadequacy or "not enough-ness" and/or focused on receiving validation from others.
A study from 2016 published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin investigated New Year's resolutions, and found that 55% of resolutions were health related, such as exercising more, eating healthier, and/or losing weight. Not surprising.
But what is most critical to note is that this study found that both enjoyment and importance are the most significant factors to sustained success in resolutions.
Ex-nay the resolutions and instead align your life with what is most important to you.
Do you actually know what is most important to you? Can you filter out any influence of wanting to impress others with what you think "should" be high on your priority list?
Many of my clients I see oftentimes become so lost in trying to appease others or fall into the dangerous comparison trap. (This can cause so much unnecessary emotional turmoil, because we will always fall short in some way.)
Part of my therapeutic work with clients is having them get clear on who they are. This is done by identifying values and then making sure their actions are in alignment with their values.
Your values are the lenses through which you view yourself and your world. In essence, they form your own “personal truth” from which fulfillment, resilience, and self-esteem develop.
I recommend www.lifevaluesinventory.org to many of my clients, as it is can really enhance an understanding of oneself. It is a comprehensive online assessment that can serve as a blueprint for effective decision-making and optimal functioning in all areas of life.
Imagine how differently you would feel this year if your focus was not on whether you are able to drink green smoothies daily, but instead that you were making sure your values are showing up in your daily life.
My guess is you would feel much more satisfied and at peace with yourself. I wager life would be more enjoyable because you wouldn’t feel pressured to do anything or be anybody that doesn't fit you.
May you courageously resolve to stand in your truth in 2018! Let your values guide your actions.