Welcome to the first blog of the new week, new month and new year. I have to say, I love new things. New tennis shoes, new bedsheets and writing in brand-spanking-new journals. They inspire me with the promise of a fresh start. The truth is that we don’t need anything new to begin again. The promise of every morning and every breath for that matter is the opportunity to start again.
This mindset is so essential to growth. The ability to put away past baggage and to give ourselves the opportunity to begin anew is the core of a mindfulness practice, a breathing practice, and as I think of it a kindness practice. Giving ourselves permission for a fresh start contains within it a tolerance for our imperfections, an understanding that our failures or past attempts do not define us and is seeped in empowerment because when we allow ourselves to do it again with an open mind, we build resilience and gift ourselves with the opportunity to succeed. With this mindset, it does not matter how many times we start again, the point is that we get to start again and that is empowering, isn’t it?
So I want to tackle the new year with this mindset as a backdrop. And touch on the idea of the New Years Resolution. I think we are moving away from the typical NY mindset. The get back in the gym on January 1 and let your gym membership lapse by March, mindset. The I’m gonna lose 10 pounds by Feb only to lose 5 (still admirable) and then regain because I should’ve lost more, mindset. We are moving away from that mindset because it is not kind and because they are not effective.
So here is the question.
How can we make good on this fresh start in a way that is kind and effective?
Recently, I went out with a friend for dinner who said, “well isn’t all this wellness stuff another form of self-reproach? Just another way of being self-critical without saying it? I mean, what about just being enough?”
I get that, and my answer is, well, it’s all about how you hold it in mind.
You can be enough, and have goals. You can be enough, and want to improve and grow. In fact, I would argue that being enough is essential to achieving that growth. And positive self-acceptance is the core of holding these seemingly disparate concepts in mind.
Positive self acceptance is the ability to accept who you are as you are in this very moment. Positive self-acceptance is not contingent on being perfect. In fact, positive self-acceptance is knowing that you are imperfect and loving yourself anyway. It is accepting yourself, all of you, as you are, and in doing so knowing and believing that you are enough. Hard stop. Period.
When you operate from that place, you can then free yourself up for forward movement. All the energy that would otherwise be squandered in self depreciation is now available to do the necessary work to thrive. Allowing growth and progress to occur with ease.
Another important mindset shift in goal-setting in the new year is focusing on values not actions. Instead of saying you want to lose 10 pounds, or 20 or 30 or whatever…
Focus on the value of health and wellbeing or vitality or personal growth. That way it does not become about, do I eat this cookie or not, or I didn’t lose weight this month so I’m going to throw in the towel…
The conversation becomes, more like,
Does this cookie(s) that I have gotten in the habit of consuming daily serve me? Or does this habit leave me depleted and un-nourished?
Does this extra glass of wine serve me? Or does it leave me feeling anxious, sleep deprived and hung over?
Do I really have to get a gym membership or do I just commit and hold myself accountable to lacing up my sneakers and getting out daily, even if its for 10 minutes because nature and movement enhance my mood and wellbeing.
When you consider your habits through the lens of your values, everything changes including your motivation and willingness to do the work.
Aligning with your values also allows you to live authenticity and with integrity. Integrity means that you actually do the things that you say you are going to do. And live in a way that matches what you say that you care about. And that, my friends, is a heck of a lot more powerful than saying, “I’m gonna lose 10 pounds this year!”
If you like what you read, please give me a clap, then head over to www.dradrienneyoudim.com and sign up for my weekly newsletter. You will find some other resources and goodies while you are there!
Dr. Adrienne Youdim