When I was younger, making new year’s resolutions list was my one of my favourite things to do. I was excited and confident because I always knew exactly what I wanted and how to achieve it and of course, my body could handle it. I loved the high I got from ticking off all my resolutions, one by one, throughout the year. It was all so easy! My workaholic and perfectionist tendencies were at play.
Then there came a time when things started to change. Sticking to or even making New Year’s resolutions became a challenge. If I made a list, I’d find myself beating myself over not being able to tick off anything. I still kept trying – resisting my changing reality, fighting my body, attaching my self-worth to what I did (career/passion), what (or who) I had around me and how I looked.
Until one day, my internal and external world fell apart. I felt crushed.
And that’s when the obsession to make and achieve New Year’s resolutions ended forever. I’m thankful it did.
Over the last few years of committing myself to a lot of internal work, healing and personal development, I realised one very powerful thing:
when we make new year’s resolutions, we tend to make them from a space of not having, doing, being enough. It comes from a space of fear or judgement towards ourselves. Our focus is on what is lacking in order for us to feel good rather than appreciating what we have and feeling good in the moment.
While the above is true for everyone, it is definitely a greater struggle for people who are chronically ill and have some serious, day to day limitations. We make a list, things go differently, we feel responsible, experience guilt and shame for not being able to achieve anything and end up hating ourselves as if it were our fault to be born in a body with limitations. Soon, it turns into a vicious cycle. I urge you to celebrate smallest of your victories, be it getting out of bed, making tea for yourself, writing an article, doing 5 squats, making it to therapy or even just taking time to breathe — celebrate them.
It’s great if you’ve made a list of resolutions for 2019 but I’m going to take this opportunity and encourage you to dig deeper. Ask yourself the difficult questions.
What’s my motivation? What feelings am I avoiding? Why do I think these resolutions matter? What is it that I really need instead? Where does this need come from? How can I make peace with where I’m at? Answer them with courage and honesty.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have a list of things you want to achieve. It’s just that by becoming really honest with yourself about it, you are better able to align yourself with your personal truths before you start taking steps towards your goals and desires. Focus on intention, small action steps and feelings of appreciation and gratitude.