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A New, New Year’s Resolution

01/17/2023 Written by: Pamela Pikus & Cary Seager

It’s January and for most of us it’s the time of year for reflection. It’s a time to begin anew, create a fresh start, and rid bad habits that have crept into our lives.

According to a Forbes article, the top New Year’s resolutions are all about self-improvement: living healthier, getting happy, losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking, and reducing drinking, in that order. For 2023 we’d like you to consider adding a different kind of New Year’s resolution: being kind to yourself. Too often our hard-wired brains hone in our perceived inadequacies, and our constant striving to improve will wreak havoc on mental health, which in turn affects physical health.

2023 challenge: Treat yourself as you would a dear friend. Research shows numerous positive effects of self-compassion on our well-being. Having self-compassion is the same as having compassion for others. Would a friend think less of you if you weren’t a certain weight, didn’t have a fancy job, didn’t meet all deadlines, or skipped the gym too many times? A friend doesn’t care what you do or how you look, but values who you are as a person.

We all have a running dialog in our heads. This year we challenge you to increase the affirming thoughts you say to yourself. Pay attention to those thoughts, work to increase your positive self-talk, and add compliments to your “be kind to yourself” library. Working on positive self-talk will grant you greater emotional resilience, allowing you to manage stress and improve your overall health.

After a lifetime of negative self-talk, flipping the switch is not easy. Practice it every day. For example, instead of being critical if you missed a deadline, tell yourself everyone makes mistakes, and you will work to make it next time. Honor yourself and acknowledge your humanness. Look beyond difficult moments and toward the bigger picture. These habits will allow you to cultivate life satisfaction.

 

If you have a hard time conjuring up compliments for yourself, here are quotes from a recent article, Be Kind to Yourself Today, from the Harvard Business Review:

    1. You are not alone, and you are worth taking care of, no matter what your brain might tell you.
    2. We must show up for ourselves before we can do right by others.
    3. It’s not your job to please everyone. But there is one person you need to stand by: yourself.

 

Another source for positive self-talk is the Instagram account @powerofpositivity. Their daily affirmations help us stay in the right mindset.

    • Today, be thankful and think how rich you are. Your family and friends are priceless, your time is gold, and your health is wealth.
    • Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay. Rather it is knowing that you will be okay no matter how things turn out.
    • Today, take a few minutes to sit quietly and be thankful for all that you have.
    • Everything will come to you at a perfect time.
    • Choose people who are good for your vibe. Don’t lower yours just to fit in.
    • Dear mind, please stop thinking so much at night. I need to sleep.
    • Don’t worry about getting old, worry about thinking old.
    • Don’t let yourself be controlled by three things: people, money, or past experiences.
    • Be patient. You’re about to overcome something you’ve been dealing with, but it needs your hope and faith. Trust that your heart and mind will be at peace. Everything will be okay!
    • How to be happy: Decide every morning that you are in a good mood.

 

Cheers to you. Be kind to yourself. Be your best friend. You are worth it. Sure, you can still work toward the traditional New Year’s goals, such as hitting the gym and eating more veggies, but also give increased self-kindness a whirl and see if this year will be the best yet!

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