Why self-compassion should be on your list of New Years resolutions

Why self-compassion should be on your list of New Years resolutions

Does anyone else feel like we switch gears from it's the most wonderful time of the year to what horrible habit do I need to kick in 2023 too quickly? It feels like we go from I have everything I need to What is it I'm lacking? within a week's time. Until I started practicing mindfulness, the proximity of these two contrasting mindsets didn't really catch my attention. 

As much as the holidays are about coming together and counting our blessings, it's also the time we look forward to a new year and reflect on what changes we'd like to see in our lives: What do we want more of? What habits do we want to leave behind? 

Enter: The New Years Resolution

Resolutions can be make-or-break. You either achieve them – or you don't. Our behaviors get broken down into two distinct categories of either "good" or bad" which can leave us feeling more judgmental and less forgiving towards ourselves. And even with the best of intentions, we can set ourselves up for failure and self-criticism.

    It's been reported that only 19% of individuals keep their New Years resolutions. When asked, some participants shared that their resolutions were unrealistic. Others shared that they set too many resolutions. According to Psychology Today, the real reason most resolutions fail is because people are "making a change based on a calendar date when they think they are prepared to change their lives."

    For these reasons and more, it's worth exploring ways to approach the New Year with a more compassionate mindset. 

    This is the first year I'm heading into the New Year trying to be more mindful of my own resolutions, and here are the two guidelines I've landed on for myself.

    1. Treat your New Years resolution as an intention

    Resolutions tend to put a spotlight on what you lack and what you need to change. On the other hand, intentions are about recognizing where you are and what you already have. Where resolutions can be rigid, unrealistic, and short-lived, intentions can be used as guiding principles for how you want to live and show up in the world.  

    The difference between these two can be as simple as focusing on what you will do, not what you won't do. For example, instead of saying, "I won't eat sugar this year" say "I will focus on eating food that makes me feel healthy." Doesn't that feel better? 

    2. Make sure self-compassion is on your list of resolutions

    Instead of handing your inner critic a megaphone, practice self-compassion and treat yourself kindly when things don't go as planned. 

    In fact, there's research to show that people are more likely to stay focused on their goals when they treat themselves kindly. Where self-criticism is linked to procrastination and stress, self-compassion encourages you to get back up when you fall and keep trying. To put it bluntly, practicing self-compassion and positive self-talk is much more motivating than self-criticism. 

    As a bonus, here's Dr. Kristen Neff speaking on how to make self-compassion your New Years resolution. 

    I hope this was helpful for you – if this resonated with you, or you'd like to share what your New Years resolution is, feel free to let me know on my Instagram page.

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