Hello beautiful people! Welcome back!
Today’s post is about 3 weeks late, usually “resolutions” are made at the beginning of January and not near the end but I figure that it is still January so they still count, right? So this post was inspired by Steph’s post from last week, I realized that I had not really made any sort of goal(s) or “resolutions” and thought that maybe I should. Now here’s the deal, I sort of have developed an issue with the whole resolution-thing and here’s why.
Every year since I was a child I would make resolutions for myself mainly because everyone else was doing it and I wanted to be feel included. My resolutions were usually the typical ones; start working out, get in better shape, look good in a bathing suit, eat healthier, put more effort into my appearance in terms of makeup/clothes etc. Now these resolutions aren’t necessarily bad if they are done with the right intentions and for the right reasons, which I can guarantee you, my intentions/reasons were not good ones. For me, these resolutions were unrealistic expectations and pressures that I would place on myself that would always end in failure, which would lead to issues with confidence and self-esteem (the opposite of what should happen with resolutions). I would tell myself that these resolutions were goals that would help to improve myself or the way I viewed myself, when in reality they were things that would make me look better in the eyes of society and other people. I believed that I had to look and be a certain way in order to be accepted by society, that I had to look and be like everyone else to fit in. Now, most kids feel this way especially in high school. But here’s the problem, this need to assimilate almost always leads to identity issues among other things. This is what happened with me, I would make these resolutions in order to be like everyone else hoping to look like everyone else and in the process would completely lose who I am. I would put so much pressure on myself to accomplish these resolutions and end up failing to actually make any progress (the effort put into them usually last about 2 weeks). What I failed to realize or recognize is that resolutions or goals only work if you are doing them for the right intentions/reasons (i.e. to improve for you and only you). The distinction between doing it for other people and for myself unfortunately took me a long time to understand. I believed that if I improved myself for other people, I would automatically feel better and look better and be more accepted by society, which would somehow be just like improving myself for myself (it was really twisted, I know). Except that it’s not. When you make resolutions with the purpose of building on the person that you already are (which means accepting who you are, ignoring who society tells you to be) to help improve your health, your confidence or happiness then that is doing it for the right reason with the right intention. But, with me, I was doing it to look better in the eyes of my peers, which is definitely not the right reason nor the right intention for a resolution to actually be accomplished.
To give you a better understanding of how twisted up I got with these resolutions I’ll give you an example of a situation that has happened numerous times. Working out was always a resolution on my very long list of things to improve on, I would put time and effort into working out convincing myself that I was doing it to feel better with the way I looked. In reality, I was doing it to be thinner and appear more attractive to society because society likes women to be thin and toned. I would put so much pressure on myself to stay consistent with my workouts and to eat clean that if I would miss just one workout or half-ass one workout or ate a “bad” meal I would freak out. I would obsess over it and beat myself up for not following through and not being perfect. The whole time I was working out, I would have this inner dialogue of “You’re doing this for yourself, to feel better and look better” hoping that it would motivate me to keep going when all I wanted to do was give up. After a few weeks, that is exactly what I did, give up, because it was just too exhausting on all levels to keep going and nothing was happening. What I failed to realize in that situation was that the reason it was so hard to keep going, why it was so exhausting and no progress was being made was because I wasn’t being honest and truthful with myself. I wasn’t being honest about my intentions with these goals. It wasn’t until recently, well last year, when I was doing some self-reflecting on my life and where I was at that I realized all of this. That I wasn’t being honest, that everything I was doing was for the approval of others, that I just wanted to look good to everyone else ignoring who I was and what I needed. All of these resolutions were unrealistic because the reasons behind doing them weren’t honest and weren’t true to who I was at this point in my life. I was putting so much pressure on myself to try to be someone that I just wasn’t. And all of this was making me miserable and unhappy and made me feel like the biggest failure on Earth because I just couldn’t keep up with these resolutions like everyone else was or seemed to be.
So this year, I was going to boycott the whole New Years resolutions charade for fear that the same thing would happen again. But over the past few weeks, I did some soul searching and got honest with myself and decided that I would make some small, realistic goals (goals seem less intimating than resolutions, more attainable). I am calling these goals: honest self-improvements, meaning that I will build on the person that I already am. Now, last year (2015) was an interesting year for me, it was full of ups & downs, changes and realizations. The ups and downs involved my struggles with anxiety and depression, trying to figure out what this meant for my life and how to balance it. The changes involved me leaving University for a little bit (it wasn’t fulfilling me the way it should) to focus on something else in the hopes of discovering what it is I should be doing. And the realizations involved me finally understanding that I was living my life for other people and not for myself. It was a rough year (it’s been a rough couple of years actually), however it was also the first year that I felt a spark of inspiration and was hopeful for what the future might hold, something I haven’t felt in a really long time. So my honest self-improvements are simple, to accept myself as I am, to start taking care of myself and my well-being for myself, and working on self-love.
Broken down, these honest self-improvements look like this:
1- Learning to be honest with myself, asking myself is this really who I am? Is this really what I need and want? Are there any outside influences affecting my decisions or beliefs?By being honest and truthful with myself, it will lead to me accepting who I am.
2- Learning to do things that I actually enjoy, that make me smile and make me feel happy. For the longest time I was doing things I honestly didn’t really like so no more of that.
3- Working on getting more sleep. I am a terrible sleeper, and with anxiety it’s important to get enough sleep so I will definitely be working on that. I have finally recognized that I need at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
4- Creating things that mean something to me like this blog. I have always loved writing and this is a perfect outlet for that. I would also like to try painting, I am by no means an artist but have always loved the process of painting.
5- Do some gentle exercise everyday. This may just be getting on my yoga mat for 5 minutes and meditating, doing some gentle stretching or it may involve a long walk. Whatever it is, as long as I am moving and enjoying the activity (& it’s gentle on my mind and body).
6- Taking better care of myself mentally and emotionally, which means regularly checking in with my emotions and dealing with them as they come instead of ignoring them and pushing them to the back of my mind.
7- Finally, working on improving myself (i.e. building on myself to become a greater version of me) this includes being kinder, being more positive, complaining less (I am a chronic complainer), being more open and honest and truthful with every aspect of my life, embracing the weird me etc.
So there you have it, my goals for 2016. Now, whether you agree with what I have written or not, I just hope you take something away from this. This may not be everyone’s experience with resolutions and that’s okay. Feel free to share your experiences with us, we would love to hear your opinions on resolutions or to hear some of your resolutions for 2016.
Here’s to an amazing 2016!