So I start out all fired up for the New Year: “THIS is the year when I’m going to loose weight/clean out that junk room/write that thesis. THIS is the year when I’m going to tie up loose ends and take myself on a path to a thinner, cleaner, smarter me. THIS is the year when…”
Then by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around I’m like: “MMM CAKE/What junk room?/I’ll get around to writing that thesis after I eat more cake.” Maybe it’s better for me to forget the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of being introspective and following a path to a better self. It’s just my image of a better self is changing drastically.
In the past, I’ve gotten too hung up on all the things that I’m not and created my resolutions from that position. “I’m not going to eat so much garbage. I’m not going to live like a slob anymore. I should look into classes for my career.” My resolutions were mostly an excuse to shame myself.
So I learned another trick from Suzanne Tucker (take one of her classes already, will ya?) I learned to start visualizing what I want instead of what I don’t want. When I say “I’m not going to eat that cake,” my brain just imagines eating the cake. When I say “I’m going to wait and have cake after I’ve eaten dinner (if I’m still hungry,)” then I not only visualize waiting, but I remind myself that some days are good for eating cake and sometimes I’m already satisfied before I get to the cake.
Further, she led me to think about what is behind my goals. Is my goal to loose weight really about being happy with my body? In that case, maybe I could work on self-love. I could learn to tie my value of myself to things other than my size and weight. And that when I make food choices that they can be rooted in gentle, balanced, love instead of shame and punishment.
Maybe my goal to clean up a junk room is more about making space for myself and my family in my home and in my heart-evaluating what we need and letting go of things we don’t need. Remembering to be generous-there is enough in this world to go around.
And my career goal just might actually be about learning to value myself as an awesome music therapist. That my value as a music therapist includes my academic training, of course, but also the intelligence, compassion, and creativity I bring to my clients.
Now I want my resolutions to be about love instead of fear. I want them to be balanced and creative instead of rigid. I want them to be about creating an environment where I can listen to myself and value what I hear. I want them to fit under an overarching affirmation: “I love and accept myself as I am right now.”
Whether you’re reading this on January 1 or July 1, remember there’s never a better time to start loving and accepting yourself than right now.
Happy New Year everyone!