As we spring into the New Year, lots of us have lofty, and sometimes typical, New Year's resolutions. Maybe it's to lose 10 pounds, eat healthier, travel, save more and spend less, or volunteer. Although it might sound cheesy, my resolution for 2017 strays from the norm. And it is to be kind to myself.
Especially for those of you that may be slipping on your resolutions, I strongly recommend this goal. We waste so much energy criticizing ourselves when we aren't reaching our resolutions with steadfast speed. We're not going to the gym as often as we were planning to. We start off the New Year indulging in too many deserts and snacks from the New Year's party alone. But maybe instead, we should be putting caring for ourselves on the top of our lists. And once we get more confidence, it will be easier to reach the goals we set for ourselves.
Many of us tend to fixate on our flaws. We think of what we still have yet to accomplish and denounce our seemingly low progress. We pick apart all of our insecurities and have them outweigh our many positive qualities or attributes. It's inevitable and it becomes an unhealthy cycle.
Instead of focusing on all of this negativity, embrace self-compassion—defined, simply, as your ability to accept your shortcomings with kindness and understanding.
“Having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness,” writes Kristen Neff, an expert in the field of self-compassion. “Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us."
Next, we need to quiet our inner critic. We are our meanest, and most doubtful critic. We tell ourselves we're not pretty enough, smart enough, popular enough, and lastly, good enough. Each night, our minds create an endless list of things we did wrong that day.
It turns out that quieting your inner critic is good for your mental health. Research shows that self-compassion leads to self-reported feelings of happiness, optimism, and curiosity.
Lastly, give yourself a break. It's okay to have one bad day. It's okay if you don't reach all of your goals or even meeting your resolution in this year, just make progress. If you're feeling bummed out because you haven't yet met enough of your resolutions or resolutions you had set, just remind yourself this:
“You are enough. You are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are.”