Here we go again. A new year, a new fresh start. A chance to redefine our goals, be happier, lose that weight, make that money or finally take that hot yoga class you hear all these folks raving about.
And don’t get me wrong, goals are great, goals keep us focused, motivated and excited to get up and tackle our day. But what happens if we don’t meet our goals? Are we a failure? We should just give up? Go hide under the covers and never come out? When we don’t meet our own expectations it can feel this hopeless, which is why I would caution anyone getting really over-zealous about creating these milestones for themselves to remember one thing: let’s be kind to ourselves.
When I say ‘kind to ourselves’, I mean let’s remember to treat ourselves the way we would treat someone we just met, or our best friend or our favorite relative. We would give them a smile, give them encouragement, reassurance and tell them it’s alright if they weren’t perfect, we love them anyway.
One of my personal goals this year is to lose weight in order to be healthier, but I won’t lie, I’d like to look better too. Last week I was at work in the shared lunchroom having what I thought was a pretty healthy snack, a handful of almonds, when a co-worker (who, just co-incidentally is about a size 2) and I were discussing diets. As she eyeballs my almonds she tells me, “Yeah, you have to watch out for that nut gut!” What? Now nuts aren’t healthy? Although it seems like a little thing, I thought for a minute, “Ugh, I should just give up now, I can’t even eat a few nuts without gaining weight, WHAT AM I DOING?”
So, before you set unreasonable expectations or that feeling of throwing in the towel creeps in, remember these tips:
Set reasonable goals. This sounds logical but you’d be surprised at how many people overshoot it on a New Year’s resolution (“I’m gonna exercise 2 hours a day!”) and then when they don’t, they give up entirely. Making these milestones something that is attainable, maybe even easy and enjoyable is just fine.
Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen. The amount of negativity we bestow upon ourselves is endless, and as mentioned earlier, we would never think of doing this to a friend, a boss, or someone we loved. We have to love ourselves enough to not impose this negativity so if you miss the deadline, just redefine and extend the goal.
Start Again. It’s never too late to begin again. Be willing and brave enough to make any day your January 1st, even if you missed a deadline or didn’t stay on the diet as well as you could have yesterday. The real tragedy happens when you give up all together.
My point is, give yourself some leeway, some mercy, some forgiveness. And then hop right back up on that horse and start again. It doesn’t matter what month, day or year it is, what matters is that you feel good about you.