The first few weeks of a new year is a great time for self-reflection and reinvention. The new year brings hope for change, a clean break from the past, and the promise of new beginnings.
But we’ve got a bone to pick with the current state of new year’s resolutions. While we’re always in favor of a little self-improvement, the classic new year’s resolution almost always focuses on depriving yourself rather than enriching your life.
And you know what? Most women are already living in a state of deprivation. Sleep, free time, extra money – women are the first to give those up in order to benefit their spouse, their children, their extended family, their jobs. We’re not saying you shouldn’t attempt to lose weight or save money, but don’t you already work on those goals throughout the rest of the year?
When it’s the new year and time to do something for yourself, why do we focus on yet another form of deprivation? Why not use the new year to resolve to do something that’s actually for you?
Start Saying No
Saying no to social engagements and other time commitments can be the single best thing you ever do for yourself. Your time belongs only to you, and you have to decide how to spend it. You can’t negotiate on certain demands, like work and raising your family.
But you know what the good news is? You can say no to every single other thing that you don’t have the time or mental capacity to manage. And life will go on.
Think about it – do you mind if someone says no when you ask for something? Or do you understand and move on? “I’d love to help but I just don’t have the time right now” is a phrase most people completely understand. And if they don’t, ask yourself if you want to give your precious bit of free time to that person.
Demand Free Time
When your to-do list is endless and life’s demands relentless, sometimes the most important thing you do for yourself is absolutely nothing. And if you start saying no, you’ll have some wiggle room to spend a little bit of your time how you want.
Whether it’s an hour of your favorite TV show, a half hour to do yoga, or 15 minutes to nap, decide what would be best for your well-being. Then have the conversation with your family or spouse to let them know you’re taking this time once a week (or twice if you can!) to do something for yourself. Reiterate that it’ll make you a better wife, mom and employee. Framing the conversation that way will help your network to understand where you’re coming from and ultimately, support you.
If you just can’t resist making a more traditional resolution, we’ve got two tips to help you through it.
Resolutions fail so frequently because they’re far too vague to be feasible. When you say that you’re going to “lose weight,” you’re setting yourself up for failure. How much weight? What’s your method? What’s your checkpoint? Who’s going to help keep you accountable?
Instead of saying “lose weight,” try to set a specific goal, like “I want to lose five pounds by February 10.” Then think about what tactics you’ll use. Instead of “workout more,” try “I’ll walk for 30 minutes three mornings a week.” And rather than “I’ll eat less,” try “I’ll stop eating by 7pm and only snack on fruits or vegetables.”
Write down your tactics and put them on the fridge so they’re real and in your face. When you set parameters, you’ll help your future self understand what you need to do to accomplish your goal.
Go Easy on Yourself
This is a continuous mantra we work toward, but it’s even more applicable with your resolution.
Remember: it’s probably taken years to create the issue you’re attempting to undo, so it’ll also take some significant time to create new habits to replace the ones that got you where you are.
Whether you decide to make a resolution or not, our wish for you this new year is that you find your deepest sense of worth and self-love, that you feel strong and empowered to do what’s right for you, and to know that even if you change absolutely nothing about yourself, you’re still worthy and important and loved.
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