Wednesday Wellness: Resolutions and Self-Compassion in the New Year

I am so excited to have Allison from Allison Lellos Holistic Wellness guest posting today for the Wednesday Wellness series. We both grew up in the same town and she is expecting her first little one! You can find her here, follow her on Instagram, or find her on Facebook.

The new year tends to bring about a desire for change and transformation. This time of year we are more encouraged to pursue a personal goal that we have been entertaining or narrowly missed in the previous year. We all do it, but what is it about the new year that makes us more dedicated to self-improvement? Culturally, a new year represents a new beginning, and with everyone around us making resolutions, it does make it easier to jump on the bandwagon. What many fail to remember is that we don’t need to wait for the arrival of a new year to make change; we don’t need permission to start, and the timing doesn’t need to be right. We also don’t have only one shot to get it right. It doesn’t matter if you set a personal goal on day 1 or day 221 of the new year; all that matters is that you begin…and sometimes more than once.

Any new goal is unlikely to “stick” if you don’t set yourself up to be successful. This could mean preparing your environment or your schedule, but most importantly this means preparing your mind. When it comes to working toward any goal, we have to expect that the journey won’t be all sunshine and roses. Obstacles, plateaus, and walls will undoubtedly cross our path. I remind my clients freq uently that this wil l happen, and it’s ok that this happens; it is part of the journey. Our slip-ups and obstacles should be seen as lessons and another step toward positive change. These lessons help us evaluate our decisions, identify the variables that contributed to the slip-up, and better prepare us for similar struggles in the future. One bad decision or one bad day shouldn’t overshadow the progress you have made up until that point; it’s as simple (and difficult) as acknowledging it and getting back on track as soon as possible. For example: If you’ve resolved to give up sweets and one day you dive into the candy dish at work, don’t throw in the towel and abandon your healthy eating for the rest of the day (or every day after that). If you’ve resolved to go to the gym 3 days a week and you only make it there once, sit down with your calendar and schedule in which days and times over the coming days you will devote to the gym (and honor these times like you would anything else in your planner).

When we let disappointment in ourselves take over we run the risk of losing all of the progress we made. Usually in times like these we do not recall all of the positive change we have made, we fail to acknowledge all of the small adjustments and struggles we have pushed through, and we lose sight of why we started in the first place. In the moment, it is easy to feel discouraged and not continue forward, but chances are that in the coming days, weeks, or months we’ll feel called to pursue this goal once more and coincidentally need to start back at square one. Instead of repeatedly starting over let’s practice the art of perseverance and continue on.

Our only chance to make change isn’t solely when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve; each day brings a new opportunity to make ourselves healthier and happier. We will inevitably have to pick ourselves up many times along the way, but that is what the journey is all about, and treating ourselves with compassion in the face of difficulty is how we will be successful. This year let us value ourselves enough to allow for mistakes, resolve to be kind to ourselves as we step outside of our comfort zones in search of personal growth, and appreciate each moment along the way. Patience and love toward ourselves in all we do this year should be what we strive for, and there’s no better time to start than right now.

Allison Lellos lives in New Hampshire and owns Allison Lellos Holistic Wellness. She works in-person and remotely with parents and providers of individuals with special needs who are looking to avoid burnout, find work/life balance, and make their wellness a priority for long-term health and happiness.

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