It doesn’t fail. Every single year the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. Kisses and hugs are exchanged to toast the new year. Or you wake up to sunlight streaming through the curtains because you didn’t quite make it to the drop of the ball. Either way thoughts quickly turn to new year’s resolutions.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an article about those. Not exactly.
Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em I’m not going to tell you what to do about ‘em. But I am going to encourage you to try something (possibly) new this year.
Often when we make resolutions or set goals we start from a place of lack and judgment that we aren’t good enough and we can’t fully move forward if we start there. So this year I urge you to accept yourself for exactly who you are and where you are. If that sounds more overwhelming than losing 20 pounds then here are five quick tips to cultivate the skill of self-acceptance (Yep, that’s right it isn’t an innate characteristic that you’re either born with or not!):
1. Set the intention. With awareness you can never go back to where you were before. So if that’s all you can manage you’ll be one step closer.
2. Know that acceptance isn’t resignation. It doesn’t mean you can’t make changes or that you shouldn’t. It just means don’t berate yourself for not having already made those changes because well… you haven’t and far as I know we don’t quite have this time travel thing down yet.
3. Be kind to yourself. Would you talk to your loved ones with that same mouth? We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We’re all here to learn and grow. Say nice things to yourself. Let go of guilt and forgive yourself. Engage in acts of self-care. Do things that make you smile.
4. Mindfully examine your “faults.” Could they actually be strengths in some ways? What are the reasons you are where you are? Is there some perfectionism creeping in there? Try to notice what comes up with curiosity rather than judgment. This info can help you see yourself differently and maybe even come up with some inspired ways to move forward.
5. Celebrate your strengths. We all have plenty of them. Sometimes focusing on what is “right” with us makes what is “wrong” less noticeable or inspires us to more easily make healthy changes. If you can’t think of any strengths ask someone you trust to name a few.
Reading this might make it seem like this is all so easy and really it is, but remember, when developing any new skill it takes time and practice so if you find yourself slipping back into being hard on yourself notice that, refer to tip #2, and try again. Next thing you know you’ll accept yourself without even thinking about it and accomplish all you set out to accomplish (Even if that’s never again setting another new year’s resolution!).