Ditching new year’s resolutions…as an act of self-acceptance

cropped-img_00102.jpgAs the new year arrived I began thinking about setting resolutions and I decided against it. My favorite (and most-hated part) of setting resolutions is the dreaming. I take time to sit, reflect and dream about what change I want to invite into my life. Perhaps I write it down, perhaps I take steps towards making it a reality…for a brief time. Fast forward a couple of months later, (maybe six months at best) and I have grown bored and disenchanted with it. This is usually the time of year I begin bargaining with myself on ways I can let go of my resolution until it disappears. If I am really being perfectionistic, I can then “beat myself up” for ditching the resolution in the first place. Oh what a racket! Does any of this sound familiar to you?
This year, I thought I’d invite you to hear my thoughts on resolutions and what I plan to do differently. I am guessing if I have these struggles, so do some of you do too.
Here is where I’ve gone wrong in the past:
1 I’ve set resolutions designed to change something I perceived to be “less than” about myself. So the goal itself was rooted in a lack of self-acceptance.
2 Dreaming about all the magical changes I planned to make was more enticing than actually doing the gritty work.
3 I had actual barriers (like young children and a career) that (rightfully, so) kept me from spending time on my new endeavor.
4 My goal was not simple or realistic.
5 I didn’t have a way to measure or track progress
6 I expected big changes…quick!

I believe that a fundamental issue with achieving goals begins in the stage of dreaming. Is the dream one that really supports who you already are or is the dream rooted in a lack of acceptance? I can give you an example. I am a mother-of-two and I would like to lose a little postpartum weight this year. I can approach this in a valued way by acknowledging that I earned that extra weight by bringing two wonderful souls into the world and I can make tiny tweaks to my daily routine to influence this goal. Or I could have my goal to be to lose X lbs because that seems like how much I should lose to not need “mom jeans made of spandex.” See the difference? One supports my life as a journey and other is demeaning. The end result of the work may be the same, but how it shifts my perspective could be quite different.
This year is the year of “The Tweak” for me. (I realize that word sounds like a drug reference, but I like how simple it sounds when it referencing behavioral change.)  Tweak means “to improve by making fine adjustments.” Making incremental changes towards a goal is much more manageable. This is a different process than following a step-by-step formula for goal achievement. I get to tailor the change around my existing lifestyle; I do not need to live by rigid rules. My favorite part is that forgiveness and “being human” in embedded in this approach. Every step of the way is flexible. I can have a bad day or barriers that consistently interrupt my goals. In this way, I get to practice self-acceptance of who I am and where I am as I meet each day of 2018.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to share your successes or struggles!