I’m not a New Year’s resolution kind of gal. I’m more of a direction-setter. I decide which way I want to go and I head in that direction. The specifics aren’t as important as the progress.
My progress is rarely linear, however. I travel the same winding road as every other human being, and plenty of times I find myself on a circular path trying to solve the same problems over and over. I’ve come to accept it. On my better days, this acceptance feels mature. But on other days, it feels like I’m justifying my failures.
No matter what the spin, however, berating myself never helps me succeed. Some people seem to respond well to tough love, but I just crumple and retreat.
I’m my own harshest judge (aren’t we all?), so the one most likely to dole out the tough love is my inner critic. I’ve written about this “little hater” before, but she’s persistent, so I constantly need to remind myself to ignore her ramblings — especially at this time of year.
Therefore, I’ve made a shift in my thinking about my hopes and plans for the future. This one mental shift has completely changed the way I think about solving problems and improving my life.
I think of my goals as forms of self-care rather than as problems I need to fix because I’ve messed up.
That is, instead of thinking of a goal as a response to something negative, I try instead to think of it as a manifestation of something positive. The point is, I’m trying to be kinder to myself. I’m trying to encourage myself as I would a friend.
Here are some examples. Hopefully they’ll help you tweak your own goals and transform them from accusations into gifts.
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Here’s to progress in 2013! I’d love to hear some of your “new and improved” resolutions.
Asha Dornfest is the co-author of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More By Doing Less and publisher of Parent Hacks, a site crammed with tips for making family life easier.