With the passing of our western “new year,” I thought I might offer some healthy adjustments to how we perceive resolutions, and what steps we can take to hold ourselves more lovingly accountable. I quote New Year because time as we know it is man made, and this is just one calculation of time in which we humans participate.
The Chinese new year doesn’t take place until February, while more earth based traditions look farther out into March, to the Spring Equinox. This is the time for those of us in the Northern hemisphere when we find Spring’s literal rebirth showcasing itself in the natural world.
When considering our resolutions, we might remember that we’re not going to become different people overnight. Just like nature, growth and evolution take time. Whether or not we put intention into the process, this movement of energy will take place with our without or cognizant awareness. Our gentle intention into the direction of this flow is the foundation of how we develop self-mastery over the course of a lifetime.
Love Thyself! And Rephrase from this Sense of Love
Even if we want change, it’s important to work to love ourselves exactly how we are right here, in this moment, and allow our love of self (and others) to be stronger than our guilt, shame, insecurity or fear that drives the motivation to make the change in the first place.
When you want to make a change in who you are, or how you function in your day-to-day life, you’re looking to adjust some aspect of “you” that has developed out of your experiences.
For that unconscious or subconscious “you,” that version of self in which perceives, it may very well sense the change to be a threat to its survival. While it might not seem immediately apparent, habitual patterns often develop as a way to create protection and comfort.
It might be the 12 year old version of you who learned sleeping in felt safer than waking up, or the 8 year old who determined consuming excess sugar was an appropriate short-term solution to more difficult feelings that arose when you saw your parents fighting, or when you were bullied.
We are each complex and unique; what those choices were that became part of your habitual patterning and why they arose will not look like the person next to you. Part of your quest in this life is to dig deep and figure out: “where in my journey did I start to wear this mask” (or cloak, or ride this horse, etc).
I throw in other possible metaphors here, each representing the habits you’ve “put on” and grown comfortable with not taking off. *The work of peeling off these layers and knowing thyself to this degree is what we do in my sessions, so if you’re interested in exploring my method of soul journeying, get in touch!*
Of course, you don’t need to know exactly where your habits stem from to get started with rephrasing. We can make our starting point much simpler. With this skill, we are looking to turn a negative motivation into a positive, loving and even exciting phrase that elicits a joyful response from your body, mind and spirit.
I often teach on “I am” statements, whereby we take something we may not quite believe about ourselves and we turn the thought into an “I am” we are living our way into. A basic of this may be turning a belief that you are lazy into an “I am” statement that says “I AM Responsible.”
To take this exercise in a different but similar direction for our resolutions, using the same example, we take the negative that carries the belief “I am lazy,” which is often packed with additional self-judgements and memories to support its preservation. We then isolate it, hit the back space button on the thought, and try again with something along the lines of “I am excited to step into my responsibilities today because I know I am capable and brilliant!”
Another example: If you’re not happy with how your body looks, you might initially say: “I don’t like how I look so I’m going to lose weight so I don’t feel so bad about myself.” Even if that’s not how you word it, the feeling you get when you think about going to the gym may carry this energy.
A way of rewriting this story of “why” you’re going to the gym might sound like: “I love myself so much that I am excited to get healthy, feel good and in turn increase happiness in my life!”
Feel this in your body compared to the alternative. See the difference?
It might take a little work to discover the sneaky negative motivations that underline your desire for change. This is why mindfulness is imperative to this process (check out my video on meditative practices to learn more!).
Another example: I’m going to work 2 hours a day on my hobby because I’m tired of not progressing.
Instead: I am going to work 2 hours a day on my hobby because it brings me joy and I am SO excited to fill my life with activities that bring me happiness!
Give it a try!
I’m a believer that of all the things you might accomplish in your life, loving yourself is by far the most beautiful gift you can give yourself.
The more you love yourself- like really love yourself, as in the way a parent loves a child, or the way you love your best friend, you prepare the grounds of your life to burst forth with loving kindness to pour into the world around you.
Choose Easy, Build Upon Basics
It’s great to have big goals and dreams, but the secret to obtaining those are small, slow and steady adjustments to your life’s flow. This helps to subdue the 'all or nothing' energy that some of us might be partial to that can really knock us off the flow of developing a new pattern.
I’ve learned that I get much farther when I set the bar hella low.
And so to you I suggest this as well. Don’t ask too much of yourself. You are already dealing with a lot on your plate, right? So we just start out with little, beautiful additions that don’t seem like a lot, but can really add up.
For some perspective: If you start something today and you do 1 minute of that thing each day, just 1 MINUTE, by the end of the year you will have accumulated 365 minutes of that thing.
That’s 6 hours or so of a new habit.
If you increase this to 5 minutes a day, that’s 30 hours of that new habit that you’ve implemented.
That may or may not seem like a lot, but if you think about doing 30 hours of say, stretching, that is 30 more hours of stretching than you did the year before.
Take this perspective and bring it into whatever resolution you’re working toward.
Do you want to start working out more? Try 15 minutes, 2x week. This is more or less a real goal I have for myself (the goal is actually 3x per week + a 4th time if I don’t get a bike ride in).
I want to preference this with: I am a Taurus. I like couch life. Mama don’t wanna move if she don’t have to.
Thus I really do start with 15 minutes as my goal for each work out. Once there, on the elliptical (cause that’s my jam!) I ask my inner teenager if she wants to do an extra 5 minutes. If she gives me the thumbs up, great. And if she flips me off? We go home.
I know from experience if I go too hard I may not revisit gym rat fantasies for another year (or 3), so I walk gingerly with that inner me that doesn’t want to be pushed.
And sometimes, most of the time, I do 20 minutes. Sometimes 25, and occasionally even 30 minutes.
That’s what the now goal looks like. Next year? Maybe we’ll work our way to 45 minutes (but don’t tell my inner teenager that!).
For another example:
Do you want to eat healthier this year? Again, start simple.
I've made it really easy to make the same healthy-ass smoothie every damn morning because if I have to think about how to do it, or what I’m going to put into it… I probably won’t do it.
For you, maybe you’ll add one green salad in per day, or carry a water bottle with you through the day and aim to finish that 1 water bottle. Whatever is your progress and is right for you, is right for you!
I say this again: Choose easy! Make it small.
Celebrate the Micro
Get stoked when you complete those small little tasks you set for yourself. I really appreciate this advice from Christine Kane of Soul Sourced Entrepreneur, who suggests getting used to celebrating the little wins. It’s a small but potent way to give yourself an endorphin kick.
A hot bath, a new candle, a love note to self, and even more simple and $free is a word of congratulations to yourself. You did it! Again! Amazing! You’re on fire!!
Especially if it is something small and seemingly insignificant, this makes it even more amusing when you give yourself the verbal self talk award. You woke up 10 minutes early! BAD. ASS.
I do want to throw in here, so we’re aware, be mindful of the ways you give yourself a pat on the back that are motivating to you, without giving yourself an excuse to slide back into old bad habits.
For instance, I’ve rewarded myself with an alcoholic beverage time and again for good behavior and I’ve come to find this doesn’t support my long term goals. Same goes for the pint of ice cream or taking myself out to a nice meal (although this can be appropriate here and there!).
In working to bring in new habits, be on guard to not let the old ones slide back in. They can be slippery!
Take Stock of the Macro
Just as we celebrate our little daily wins, it’s equally as important to feel illuminated by our long term changes and progression.
Give yourself some time and review all the ways in which you’ve grown over the years.
Sometimes I look around and I feel like life is kind of same ol’… Because everywhere you go, there you are! And yet “you” is always changing.
For the self that is “I,” I have a long list of accomplishments that don’t generally come to mind when I’m in the thick of it. When I look up from my computer I see laundry that needs to be folded, counter space that needs to be organized, and two stinky pups that need a bath. I see a list of should-dos for tomorrow that are piling up.
If I focus solely on that, the sneaky cloud of depression might find a bit of substance to chew on.
But if I redirect my focus and look at this last year, the past 5 years or even the last decade, I find a magnificent array of ways that I have changed and advanced in my life. I have multiple certificates, degrees, experiences, initiations, adventures and friendships… For as difficult as it’s been, I’ve navigated quite a bit of territory!
When I look at my life, I’m healthier and more successful than I’ve ever been, with lots of small changes I’ve been making over the years to thank for that development.
Many of those changes, might I add, began as small intentions, a seed once planted in my psyche, that took some 15+ years to implement.
This is why it’s important to celebrate from the macro perspective. It’s as if you are zooming out from your current bedroom, or office space, or whenever you find yourself, and instead take stock of your timeline.
The “You” that is YOU has been changing, and growing and becoming! And that is something to stand in awe of.
To do this activity, you can draw out a 1, 5 or 10 year time line (or longer if that feels good!) and begin to map out what you have achieved.
Don’t minimize your experiences, as they’re all important! Escaping from a toxic relationship or getting that job (or leaving that job!) are vital parts of your journey that you have overcome. You might also include having that beautiful baby, setting an important boundary or paying off that loan.
Additionally, if you want something guided, I really liked this quarterly review that Christine Kane has offered on her podcast. It’s business focused, but can still give you a starting point.
Work with me!
It’s a new year, and a new you is being birthed through the contractions you’re currently experiencing. I have some client openings available through mid March to support you through your process.
Want to learn more? Visit my website here to read about my sessions and hear from clients who have experienced the magic and potency inherent in our time together.
From March 18- April 28, 2024 I will be traveling in India and not doing client sessions at the time, so get on my books now if you are interested in support with your expansion as we move into the new year!
Cheers to 2024 friends! Looking forward to all to come.