So here we are at the beginning of a new year. Whether you’ve made New Year’s resolutions or have stated your intentions for the New Year or have simply promised yourself that “this year is going to be different”, we all know that things don’t always go as planned. Just as we break promises to others, it can be easy to fall short of commitments we’ve made to ourselves.
We all know that creating new habits is a challenge. They say it takes at least 21 days of consistent effort to create new habits. If you fall off the wagon on your promise to stop drinking caffeine two days into it, what are you going to do? Are you going to give up and start drinking coffee again because it was a foolish idea to think you could do without it, or are you going to acknowledge the fact that you’ve been drinking coffee every day for the past 10 years and breaking that habit is bound to bring its share of challenges?
We can set such high expectations for ourselves that when we don’t meet them, we beat ourselves up. The reality is that punishing ourselves for our failures doesn’t provide any encouragement to get back on track. It leaves us feeling shitty about ourselves. Often, we indulge even more in the bad habits we’re trying to rid ourselves of to make us feel better (I can’t be the only one that eats some chocolate after missing a workout – might as well, right?).
Instead of flogging ourselves for missteps, we need to learn how to be kinder and gentler to ourselves. Letting go of the habits that no longer serve us and creating new ones that do is a constant work in progress. Remind yourself that meaningful change doesn’t happen overnight. Focus on the reason why you want to release the habit – better health, more clarity, etc. Make sure that you’re not making changes for anyone else but yourself. When we try to make changes because someone else wants us to, the motivation isn’t strong enough, and as the challenges rear their not-so-pretty head, it can be easy to resent those who asked us to change in the first place.
Let go of the guilty feelings that can pop up as we struggle in our journey of self-improvement and awareness. Congratulate yourself on making a commitment to improve yourself. Remind yourself that the goal isn’t perfection, but rather progress, and you’re tapping deeper and deeper every day into the greatness that has been there all the while! ♥