A new year is upon us, which means it’s officially the season of changes and self-improvement. What’s on your New Year’s Resolutions list this year? Go to the gym? Give up sweets? Spend less money? What if we told you to scrap your list and forget your resolutions?
While it’s always a good idea to strive to improve ourselves—our health, our well-being, our relationships with others—our new year’s resolutions often just reinforce what we see as our negative qualities and end up undermining our own self-worth. No wonder we give up and revert to old habits by the end of the month! The result is disappointment in ourselves and the feeling of failure. That certainly doesn’t do us any good.
This year, we want to avoid all of that negativity and, instead, focus on things we can do in the new year to boost our confidence and self esteem. How can we reframe our resolutions from negatives to positives?
Step 1: Focus on the positive.
What do you love about yourself? What are the aspects of your life that are going well or that you’re really pleased with? We spend so much time obsessing over what we need to change about ourselves and our lives, we tend forget about all the great things we already have.
Write them down! Keep a journal where you write down everything you love about yourself each day. Make sure you also note all the things that happened that made you happy or gave you warm fuzzies. They could be as simple as the barista at your local coffee shop remembering your name, or a favorite song that came on the radio on your drive to work.
The negative events in our lives are always easier to remember, because they stand out as different, and our brains tell us they’re notable. Writing down the positives will help reinforce how rare the negatives actually are and will train our brains to notice the good things over the bad.
Step 2: Set specific goals.
Most new year’s resolutions are broad and vague, which make them even more difficult to achieve. We get overwhelmed and dismayed if we don’t see progress as quickly as we’d like. To reach a specific goal without getting discouraged, we need to take it one step at a time.
For example, change the resolution of “lose weight” to “start a food journal,” or change “exercise more” to “walk for 20 minutes every day.” All the self-help books emphasize taking baby steps for a reason—it works!
Step 3: Reward yourself.
Give yourself reasons to succeed. When you reach one of the goals you set for yourself, reinforce that positivity by doing something special for yourself. Just make sure the reward isn’t counterproductive to your goal…. If you’re trying to lose weight, for instance, don’t reward that weight loss by treating yourself to an ice cream sundae. Instead, buy yourself a new top you’ve had your eye on, or take yourself to the movies.
Step 4: Be kind to yourself.
It’s okay to fail. While we want to better ourselves and hold ourselves accountable, it’s important to understand that everyone has missteps, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re only human. If you fall off your resolution wagon, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, FORGIVE YOURSELF, and hop right back on!
Here is our wish for you in 2018: We wish you all the strength and confidence to meet your goals and to emerge in 2019 as a more more positive and happier you!