Everyone is talking about their New Year’s Resolutions of getting in better shape or reading a new book. However, these five resolutions are challenging in a unique way for women. Embrace these five resolutions & better yourself!
1. Face Yourself to Find Your Truth
As women, we spend time in the looking glass, and what often comes from staring at our own reflection is a conversation of criticism. Example: I look and feel [insert negative comment]. Therefore, I am [repeat negative comment]. These toxic phrases roll around in our heads, often reinforced for so long we not only believe them, we accept them as the only truths available. Start breaking that cycle and start right now. Go to the mirror and give yourself one compliment. It doesn’t have to be about looks or beauty or health – it can be about how you handled a situation at work or with your kids or anything. It just has to be something you can begin to believe to break free from your own harsh criticism. Not convinced this positive self talk will work? Give it a try first. Psychologist David Sarwer, from the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania, gave this very advice during an NPR interview, citing a mirror as one of his first tools to help patients. Now it’s your turn.
2. Stop Cultivating the Comparison Game
Probably more than once this year you’ve been sucked down the social media rabbit hole of viewing other people’s photos. Social connection is a great part of our society, but have you ever felt inadequate after seeing yet another perfect photo? You’re cultivating the comparison game and it’s time to stop. Bobby Hoffamn, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today that “research reveals that individuals who perceive themselves negatively in comparison to others may lack the motivation for self-improvement, have a greater frequency of negative moods, and have fewer feelings of overall well-being in comparison to those who view themselves favorably.” So if lately those Instagram or Facebook photos do more harm than good, consider hitting the unfollow button. And remember, many of those posts are more staged than your prom photos.
3. Make Willpower Work For You
New Year’s resolutions often fall by the wayside long before spring comes, and life has its way of getting in the way. But remember why those resolutions were made in the first place: to take better care of yourself and your family, to add joy to your life, or perhaps to simply be more present in the year to come. Aren’t these all things worth fighting for? Life doesn’t have to get in the way this time, and a lack of willpower doesn’t have to defeat you this year. You can make willpower work for you because it’s a behavioral trait you can practice. Every other skill you’ve learned took practice, and willpower can be exercised the same way. Practice using your willpower in small ways to help you reap bigger rewards later on – like sticking to those New Year’s resolutions, for example! For many of us, food is a constant place of struggle with self discipline, but a Time article notes that “when you can pass up bacon no matter how good it smells or say no to a just-boiled lobster with a cup of drawn butter, that same facility with discipline can be applied to other areas of your life.” So, start small. Breathe deep. Know that you’re strong enough to carry out your convictions. All it takes is a little practice.
4. Rethink Your Milestone Moments
Where did the year go? So many of us are on the fast track to a fast life that we haven’t stopped to celebrate anything other than our kids’ birthdays. When we don’t stop to observe our accomplishments, big or small, we feel drained and like we’re never doing enough. But there are so many moments in life worth celebrating. Stopping and acknowledging the positive – whether it’s a convenient parking space at the store or a meeting that went well – is one way to keep pessimism at bay, says Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., author of “How to Get People to Do Stuff.” In an interview with The Huffington Post she says that “When little things happen that show progress – progress that things are getting better, progress that things are going your way – you will be more motivated to stay engaged and go through your day. It makes you more optimistic.” And we can all use a little (or a lot) more optimism in our lives.
5. Honor Yourself and Your Time
Our culture is one that prizes busyness so much that it often comes at the price of our good health. Add to that the constant flow of new commitments at school, at work, and in your neighborhood, it’s no wonder so many of us feel overstressed and under accomplished. One Forbes contributor took years to learn to honor her own time and say no when necessary. “Saying yes to others can have a powerful impact on your career, your reputation, your professional growth – but saying no – especially when it’s uncomfortable to do so – is one of the most powerful steps you can take in your personal growth.” Saying no to a new commitment is not being selfish – it’s being smart about your time and your priorities. It’s also giving yourself space to say yes to something that truly needs your time and attention. So next year, try saying no to at least one thing. Then intentionally consider what you plan to do instead, which will help you feel more in control of your own schedule and the one thing we can’t get back – time.