As far back as I can remember, setting a New Year resolution was a year-end ritual. I always figured why not use the promise of a new year as an opportunity to make a fresh start somewhere in my life. Typically, my resolutions had to do with wellness: eating better, dropping race times, achieving balance between work and life demands, losing the last 10 pounds after my son’s birth.
I rarely succeeded. (Can’t tell you how many times I resolved to lose those last 10 pounds). No matter my passion and motivation at the start, somewhere along the way things fell apart. What started with the tingling excitement of a new possibility, slowly dissolved into resignation.
Here’s why: my resolutions were always about improving myself and fixing something wrong. It was not conscious, but I created my resolutions from a deep-rooted feeling that I was not good enough.
Baron Baptiste, a leader in the yoga community and one of my teachers, writes eloquently on this in his book Being of Power. He says “We’re already whole, complete, and lacking nothing; the problem is that, for the most part, we don’t believe this about ourselves.”
His words explain my shift in perspective on New Year resolutions and the key to making them work. As I began to see myself as good . . . whole . . . humanly perfect, and started being self-compassionate and amused by my foibles, the struggle to do more and be more disappeared. Even now, it seems sort of magical, but I know that self-love and self-compassion are the keys.
Do I still set New Year resolutions? Yes, although now they show up more like adventures to be had. You could say that my resolutions are bigger and bolder than ever because I am more open to creating as I go. I am not tripped up by trying to do it exactly right. Mostly, I feel a sense of lightness and fun in considering what is next for me.
So what is the secret to successful New Year resolutions? It is to love yourself as you are. See your greatness. Best wishes for happiness and peace in the New Year!
This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not substitute for medical advice. Consult with your personal health care provider before beginning an exercise or nutritional program.