If you are like me, you’ve made New Year’s Resolutions every year.
You may have followed through with some, and not with others. The ones that
fell to the wayside made you feel guilty and critical of yourself. You may have
been bound and determined to really stick to your guns the next year and lose
that weight, quit smoking, save money, etc.
Did it work, or did you see yourself as a failure again? It is great to have goals,
but not great to be your worst critic. Why not become your biggest fan and lean into whatever it is you’d like to change?
That’s what I have finally done in the second act of my life. If it takes you less
than five decades to get there, more power to you! I used to be so hard on myself when I did not accomplish what I set out to do. I would berate myself for failing again and compare myself to others. I focused on all that I didn’t do well and minimized my accomplishments. No more.
It truly is sad that we often will speak to ourselves in a way that we wouldn’t
speak to others. We sure wouldn’t tolerate hearing others speak to those
we care about in that way.
Well, I’ve fired my inner critic. Although I can still hear that negative voice
in the background (never really goes away), I now pay attention and catch it.
I let it know, “Thanks, but I’m not interested in what you have to say!”
I’ve become my greatest cheerleader, my inner coach. Isn’t that a much better
way to live? I don’t depend on others for that pat on the back or that “Way to go!”
I give it to myself and tell myself what a great job I’ve done. Of course, it’s nice
to hear from others, but I don’t count on it.
When I do make a mistake or break a promise to myself, I acknowledge it,
learn from it, and do better next time. No more berating. When I know I would
be better off if I broke a bad habit, but don’t feel quite ready, I start by saying,
“I want to want to.” I want to want to lose weight, quit drinking, exercise more,
or whatever it may be.
Start there. Then be kind along the path. It isn’t easy changing habits,
especially if you are surrounded by others who enable you or have the same
habits. If you truly want to change something, find people who are doing what you’d like to do! When I quit drinking on December 31st, 2015, I was not
sure if I would be successful long term. A funny thing was that one of the
things that helped me stick to it was watching how uncomfortable other
people were around a non-drinker. “Really, are you sure you don’t want something? Oh, I’m sure you can have just one!” Wow, I thought,
we really have a society that revolves around drinking!
It was a big Ah-hah moment for me, and fueled my determination.
The list of reasons to drink was pretty short; social, love red wine, calms me.
The list of why not, on the other hand, seemed endless; waste of money,
a problem when you want to drive, poor decisions made, hangovers,
munchies and poor diet, shields us from the feelings we need to feel
(especially grief), and on it went.
I’m not telling you to quit drinking, I’m saying that to be the very best version
of yourself is your greatest gift. So, if there are habits that are getting in the way
of that, start by wanting to want to change. Become your best cheerleader and coach, find others who live the way you want to live, then lean into change, knowing that it may take some time.
The greatest resolution you can make is to resolve to love yourself, be happy,
be your own best friend, take baby steps in the right direction, correct your
path with kindness, and you just never know what magic awaits you.
Celebrate you, in 2019 and always!
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Yvonne Heath is Canada's Proactive Living Consultant. She is a Speaker, Television Host, Award Winning Author
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