A New Year, A New You, With Love

In the spirit of the new year I feel compelled to share my thoughts on new years resolutions and even some thoughts that friends and students have recently shared with me.  For the last several years I have not made a new years resolution because so many times I have failed in the past.  Another reason I do not make resolutions is my tendency to regularly focus inward and notice those areas in my life that need work  and try earnestly to make those changes throughout the year.  Thankfully  my love for my yoga practice, nature, animals and my Faith in Christ all propel me towards positive change.  This leads me personally to think why make a resolution on January first to change, when every day and truly every moment is a new beginning?  Yesterday a yoga clients and friend responded to this thought with, “The date in time/calendar helps to motivate people and helps people to track their progress and for some inspires change because they see the first as a new beginning (first of the year, month, birthday, whenever, it is the visual reminder)”.  That makes perfect sense to me and if it works for you, use it!

With that said, it seems to me that many people make new years resolutions from a place of self loathing rather than self love.  They know or think they should or shouldn’t be doing something and because they dislike something about themselves they set out to change it.  Just to be clear I am all for positive change and people growing in a healthy, more loving and altogether better version of themselves.  I think instead of making changes because you look in the mirror, hate what you see and then finally decide to exercise and eat better is not necessarily the best way to move forward.  Why not go inside to that quiet place that is “you” and discover what is wonderful and amazing about you.  What are your gifts to the world, we have purpose, we are all here for a reason and that reason is here to serve others for the good of all.   And we all bring something unique to the world around us.  Why not start there from a place of love and acceptance for who you are and what you have to share and then set out to be the best version of you.

From a place of self love, rather than self loathing, changing old habits or adding new healthy habits will flow out naturally into your daily routine because it is motivated from your heart or spirit.  Because you know you have value and you treat valuable things (especially people) with love and respect.  It has been my experience that change for the better and honoring ourselves is not always the easy path.  It takes thoughtful reflection, it may take planning and rearranging your schedule, it will probably be uncomfortable at first because it is new and it may take setting boundaries (internally and externally).  Find sources of strength and inspiration to draw on.  A friend, an accountability partner, a mentor, a therapist, a teacher, a parent, a support group, a book or blog, music, a reward system, church, yoga, spiritual practices, meditation, the list could go on.  Let people help you!  When you feel better, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally, the motivation will come from within, but it will likely take time, so be patient.  If you are anything like me, patience does not happen without effort.  Be kind to yourself and focus on the successes, rather than the set backs.  Just keep moving forward!

On a humorous note as I was sharing this motivational (hopefully) message with my yoga class last night one of my, long time, students (and friend) said, “So getting into my $300 ski pants in a month isn’t good reason to make a change?!”  We had a good laugh and it made me think, we are all motivated by different things and seasonally these motivations change.  I will still encourage her and everyone to first accept yourself where you are in any given moment, you can always buy new ski pants.  Listen to that quiet inner voice and follow your innate wisdom.  This may be your intuition talking, it may be the quiet still voice of God directing you, all I know is, that message is far more valuable then anything money can buy and will always lead you in the healthiest direction and to your true self.

11 Comments

  1. Abbie Hammad

    Motivation and Change can go hand in hand with one another. People can try and change themselves by eating better, exercising quit smoking, quit drinking ect. i think that your post is eye opening. Next year i am going to make a resolution on what i am going to do for myself. Look in the mirror and say what I love about myself, or complement other people to make them feel good about themselves.

  2. Bethany Pruitt

    I never do resolutions on new year’s. I tend to set “resolutions” at the beginning of each week to ensure I do everything I can to complete this resolution/goal. It helps me focus more short term then long term.

  3. Terry Penh

    The is a very profound idea. I have never realized that we do tend to initiate change from a place of self loathing, rather than a place of self loving. I think by focusing on a place that we dislike about ourselves we can set ourselves up to fail and may be the reason so many of us are not able to accomplish New Year’s resolutions. If we begin by focusing on a place we love about ourselves and enforcing or working to further positive traits we can change achieve the changes we seek.

  4. Nicole Montano

    This is funny to me because at the beginning of last year when I was at a low point in my life and very depressed, I set up a new years resolution out of self-loathing as you say not to do. It was “Be perfect.” At the time, the idea was to set myself up for failure because I know it was an impossible goal, but if I pursued it the worst that could happen was improvement. And sure, for a couple months things were great and I thought, “hey, maybe this will work out!” but as soon as I met my first obstacle everything just crashed and burned. It wasn’t until around July of last year that I realized my goals were unreasonable and made a lot of large changes in my life. My first priority was learning to like myself as a person and everything since has been much more worthwhile. For that, I can attest to the idea that aspirations stemming from a place self love rather than self loathing are much more effective and healthier. I’m certainly a better person for it, anyway!

  5. Evelyn Weaver

    I really liked when you said that each day is a new beginning. I agree with you about making a new years resolution and I have made so many in the past and honestly do not think I have ever accomplished one of them. I find that when I make a new years resolution I will become so wrapped up in all the things that I feel I need to change that instead of improving I find myself retracting in life. Instead I found that waking up each morning and meditating and setting small goals for the day has helped me better myself as a whole.

  6. Emberleigh Cecil

    With the year coming to a close, I felt compelled to read this post and I’m glad I did! I could not agree with you more about how people tend to set resolutions due to self loathing. I think that setting a new year’s resolution because you value yourself and only want to become better than you are in the present moment would truly be a more affective approach. As I enter the new year I will keep this post in mind because it is a fantastic and positive way to help you better who you already are.

  7. Macy Miller

    I never do new years resolutions because I always give up after about a week or so. Maybe taking things a day at a time will help me improve as a person.

  8. Tiffany John

    Interesting! This will help in the long run to those who want better resolutions including myself!

  9. Yen Tran

    I used to have new year resolution. However, I did not carry my resolution through out the year, and I always ended up hating myself. I had look for outside inspiration as well include motivation speaker, mentor and videos. I would feel so inspire to listen to other people, but the problem is the motivation is not last long. I recently work on positive self talk. I don’t see any result yet but it suppose to help if practice for long time. I would take this to as a guidance “Be kind to yourself and focus on the successes, rather than the set backs”

  10. Malintzin Camara

    I absolutely agree that most New Year’s resolutions are based off of self loathing. Reading this post has made me wake up and decide to make more practical resolutions this upcoming year. Choosing to be aware of my flaws and knowing what I want to change about myself is an achievable goal that will actively put me in the mindset of bettering myself. The first of the year does symbolize a fresh start but that is only because we as a society decide so. Other parts of the world celebrate the new year at other times of the year and do not experience the same “fresh start” that we do for our new year. Keeping that in mind, if we choose to do so, every single day can be a fresh start. It can be the start of another phase of life, all it takes is waking up and choosing to view it as a new day.

  11. Joey Fielder

    I am actually the same with you, and probably a lot of people, but when I tend to make a New Year’s Resolution I do not follow. I say and think I will but end up getting disappointed. I believe you said it well with being aware of your flaws and knowing what and how to change them.

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