At the beginning of every year, I consistently remind myself of why New Year’s resolutions are not my friend. This year in particular the cult-like notion that I must change everything about myself has to get the boot. I’ve well and truly entered a new phase of my life, where age is beginning to infiltrate my life. I’m absolutely shattered, mentally, emotionally and physically. Self-care and progress has taken on a very different direction for me. Just being able to function at a very basic level equates to a successful day at the moment.
My ego and need to do better immediately goes to all-or-nothing mode when I decide I need to make changes. However, true transformation starts with small steps every day. Of course I hate this fact. I want it all and I want it now but past experience has taught me that quick fix and immediate satisfaction leads to disappointment. Change is difficult for most humans. Making outlandish decisions about how our habits are going to change on January 1st sends us into panic mode. We decide we are going to the gym every day, do 30 minutes of meditation daily, and lose thirty pounds in 6 months. We, of course, make these resolutions with good intentions. However, without taking into account our current situation and how our brain is reacting to this we set ourselves up for self-sabotage.
What to do instead
It’s difficult to resist the urge to make big resolutions because of the messages that are pushed towards us in our media. The trick is to decide on small daily promises to ourselves that you know you can keep. Taking one or two activities that you would like to incorporate into your day is where you should start. Add one activity per week until it becomes a habit. For example, drink a glass of water when you wake up every day and meditate for 5 minutes. On week two, read 3 pages of a book and journal for 5 minutes. Affording yourself patience and consistency will restore your self-trust and self-esteem. When we can count on ourselves we feel safe and grounded.
Doing the small things is huge
It truly is. Everyone I know right now is struggling just to stay afloat and any act of self-care is a triumph. Celebrate yourself every time you keep your promise to yourself. You’ll be amazed at where a few months of consistent small steps can take you. At the moment, I am overweight because of a long battle with my health, I’m juggling two jobs, running a home, type 1 diabetes and dealing with significant loss, amongst many other things. All of these things need my attention. However, I promised myself one thing this January 1st and that is that I would focus again on my spiritual life. I have become disconnected from my inner world because of the chaos of my outer world. I can’t get a grip on anything because I’m reaching outside of myself too often and not internally as much as I used to.
It’s also important to note that wherever you’re at right now is perfectly okay. Striving to be superhuman instead of just plain old human is a pop culture and media-driven cult that you never have to buy into. Keeping it simple and doing the best that you can on a daily basis is more than enough. Also, be aware that your best may change from day to day and perfectionism is a myth. Happiness is an inside job people!