The New Year’s Resolution: we set out plans to be the best versions of ourselves. The infamous New Year’s Resolution often includes: losing weight, eating healthier, exercising more, being on social media less, dry January, etc. While on the surface these appear to be healthy goals, helping us connect into and really embody our best selves, they are often lined with shame and lack compassion.
As we move into the end of December I am reminded of the pressures the New Year brings. Having extravagant plans, analyzing our last year – paying attention to where we want to go moving forward, can dig up past wounds. We often expect ourselves to be something or have accomplished something more. And the truth is, there will always be room for more.
Resolutions as an Enemy to Growth
And that is the near enemy of the New Year. As I was listening to Brene Brown’s podcast episode with Chris Germer I really took in understanding near and far enemies of compassion. And while they only discuss a few topics around this you can really see the near and far enemies of compassion in many aspects of our lives. Near enemies are things that look good on the outside but actually, end up doing the opposite of what we are hoping for.
A New Year’s Resolution, without mindfulness, becomes just that. It seems like something that is about believing in ourselves to grow, but under the surface comes from a place of self-hatred. It’s why most resolutions “fail” in the first couple of months. Shame only helps us take steps forward for a short period of time. After that, it actually causes us to take bigger steps backwards from where we were in the first place.
A New Year’s Resolution that might work
Whatever your goals are for yourself this coming year – really understand the why behind them. If you are wanting to lose weight – is it because you feel you need to look a certain way or because you want to feel more energized? If you are hoping to create a new morning routine – is it because you believe you need to accomplish more or because you feel you deserve to start your day more peacefully?
Your why is everything. The more you understand your why the more you can work to change it to fit what you are really needing more of in life. It is a way to start the year in self-compassion, and compassion leads to success. Compassion allows us to adapt when we need to, change paths when something isn’t working and bring kindness on a hard day. All of these things bring us closer to ourselves and our goals.
Patrice Flanagan-Morris, LCSW
Empowerment Within LLC