Often, when we think about the New Year, a few words and phrases come to mind: Goals. Resolutions. Turning over new leaves. But most of all, CHANGE. These are all great motivators, but usually, by mid-February we find our goals and changes dwindling and slowly going back to our old ways.
Then… the good old critic jumps in (don’t you love him/her?) “I knew you couldn’t do it” “You are so lazy” “You can’t stick to anything” And of course my favorite: “You aren’t good enough”
We end the year reflecting on all of the memories over the duration of 2017. The things we accomplished, the people we loved and lost, life-changing events, and how much we have changed ourselves. I know I caught myself doing this and instead of focusing on all the marvelous things, I instantly divert to the things I did not do (thank you, inner critic, you’re always there for me). The books I didn’t read, the people I didn’t reconnect with, the plans I bailed on. I’m sure many of you know what I am talking about (or maybe you don’t and I’m just crazy, which is very possible).
A few days ago, I was actually texting an old friend, in tears. I felt like I had done nothing, accomplished nothing, and am still just stuck in my head. But then she reminded me how far I have come. Not necessarily through trophies and ribbons, but on a personal level. Mentally. It is hard as hell and there are many days that I just want to throw in the towel. But I need to remember how far I have climbed up my mountain of finding my purpose. I have learned to say no more often (which is still really hard for me.) I have distanced myself from toxic people and reconnected with those that I may have slowly let slip away. I have learned to choose my actions based on what is best for me and my health. One of the biggest things I have learned was to face my inner critic and ego head on and learning how to throw them in the back and let me drive.
The very same may be for you (in our own way.) You may reflect as well, feeling a bit depleted or even overwhelmed as you think about the future. For those of you who are in my boat, I’d love for you to try something with me. Focus on YOU. Make your goal YOU.
Use your past to leverage you into next year. Use your mistakes to help you empathize with others and as a reminder of what is best for you. Then take baby steps moving forward. Baby. Steps. It doesn’t matter how far, as long as you’re moving forward. Practice awareness and understanding of yourself. Listen to your critic and ego and learn how to address them. You don’t need to shoo them away, just let them know that you’re the one in charge, not them.
Sometimes we need to remember that in a life of Instagram and Facebook flooded with #TransformationTuesdays and #MCM’s, that these are snapshots. Snapshots of a much bigger life that we have no idea about. It’s funny how much time we spend worrying about other peoples lives, we forget about ours.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about goals and intentions- they are what motivate us. They are what help give us the wonderful memories, accomplishments, and feel good moments. But, sometimes, when we latch on to these goals, we hold ourself to such a high standard that once it isn’t going as planned, we just drop it all together. We tell ourselves it’s not worth it. It’s too hard. It is hard. Life is hard. But it is also beautiful.
So this year, I am going to focus on the baby steps. On my baby steps. Steps toward living authentically. To listen to myself and not let my perpetual urge to please everyone else trump me and my life. This may mean I say no more often. It may mean that I make more time for my passions. But it is still me and I am excited to learn more about myself throughout the next 12 months. This may mean that I lose supporters in my life because I am not always going to be accessible. But the true people in my life will love me and stand by me, rooting me on as I continue my journey. Maybe I start sharing my not so big and exciting life moments. To remind both myself and others because these moments are important too.
For example, this video below doesn’t show all my elaborate poses I do for the camera and neverending search for external reassurance that I am good enough. It shows the real me. The boring moments. But this is me and what fills my cup. Before (and slightly still right now), my ego and critic creeps and starts dishing in the negativity.
“Why would you post that? No one cares about your sun salutations and child’s pose.” “You probably won’t even get any “likes” or comments because people just think you’re trying to show off. Or look for pity. You probably-” NO. I will not them drive today.
Take a very deep, 4 second inhale. Close your eyes. Open your mouth and exhale for 8. Today, I choose me. I choose love. I choose self-compassion.
Writing and yoga are my passions and I want to share my passions. To encourage others to share theirs. To remind myself of the baby steps I am taking. To remind myself to stay true to my authentic self that I am working hard on getting to ride up front with me. And it will happen. It will be slow and sometimes even go a few steps back. But as long as I wake up, organize my thoughts. Put the irrational ones out a bit and hone in on the rational, real ones. That I am good enough. That I do work hard. That I have been growing and will continue to grow, as long as I am aware and honest with myself. Authenticity. That is my goal, intention, and motivator. Now let’s see how it goes!
What are your intentions, goals, and thoughts about 2018? I’d love to hear what others are choosing to do (or not do) as we move forward.