If one were to look at the most common New Years resolutions, you don’t so much see a list of goals so much as a desire to become someone else.
I regularly attend a yoga studio. Next week I will go to my usual classes and see a swarm of new faces. By February, the new people will be gone. I suspect that the reason for this is not that their New Years resolution was to attend 2 or 3 yoga classes per week, but rather to see if attending those classes would somehow turn them into someone else: Into the type of person that’s more attractive, happier, and has more friends. People are hoping that they will feel better about themselves, but then a month goes by and they find that they don’t.
Whatever your goal or resolution is, coming from a place of inadequacy or self-loathing will sabotage your success every time. Deciding that you essentially need to be someone else in order to feel good about yourself will self you up for failure guaranteed.
This is something I see all the time, and used to be guilty of it myself: We think that if we are really hard on ourselves and shame ourselves about ourselves, that that will motivate us to lose weight, read more, spend less money, stop drinking… whatever the goal may be. But that is absolutely a strategy that fails each and every time.
This person you feel like you need to be, it might be based off of someone you’ve encountered or it might be completely imagined, but either way it’s not you. And if you’re basing your vision off of people you’ve met, it’s not them either. I’ve met enough people to know that even perfect-seeming people have a lot of troubles. Most of them were simply trained since childhood to focus on appearances and present a certain way, but this doesn’t mean that their private life is as picture-perfect as their public life.
I’m not saying that transformation is never necessary or never a worthy goal, but it will never come from rejecting yourself. It goes against all common sense, but paradoxically the real progress only starts once you accept and love yourself.
Learn to look at yourself with satisfaction and gratitude. Learn to do this without blame, without guilt, without self-loathing. Recognizing you’ve made mistakes in the past is a sign of maturity and resilience. Honestly, this is something a lot of people are unable to do. You should feel good about the fact that you have the ability to own up to your faults. If the day comes when you look at yourself and see zero faults, that’s not an accomplishment. It means you’ve denied your humanity.
Rejecting the self, criticizing the self, all that does is add resistance. Resistance prevents you from moving forward. When you accept and love yourself, you reach a place of non-resistance. Things become so easy at this stage, you might be shocked at the direction your life goes.
Since this is the only way to truly accomplish whatever goals you might have for the new year, give it a try. Work on reaching that place of self-love and satisfaction with who you already are right now. And then simply watch as things begin to change all around you. The only catch is that you can’t do it because you’re hoping things will change. You have to do it without any expectations. It may take some practice and many reminders, but I promise it is well worth the effort.
This is my wish for you in the New Year.