For 2018 Choose Self-Compassion not Self-Hatred
Only 17 more days until the New Year and you are ready to make this your best year ever. You are sick and tired of being sick and tired. You are ready to get in the best shape of your life. But you have been down this path before. Determined to get healthy and fit you make the same New Year’s resolution year after year, but just a few weeks into the New Year you give up on your goals and dreams of being at your ideal weight and looking fantastic.
What is going to be different this year? My suggestion is to get rid of that all or nothing thinking that you have. Every single person I have seen achieve health and fitness in the long run accomplishes it by simply showing up every day, not by trying to get it right and being perfect. The world is messy, complicated and unpredictable and things get in the way.
In 2018, be flexible and honest with yourself in the context of your real human life. Set realistic long term goals and work towards those goals without having that all or nothing attitude. In my experience, this kind of all or nothing thinking, rarely gets us all. It usually gets us nothing.
Practice being compassionate with yourself. Realize that you aren’t going to be perfect in the choices that you make towards improving your health. There may be a day where you go completely wheels off with your nutrition program. Instead of telling yourself you will never lose this weight, try practicing self-compassion. Say something like, “you know what, I really struggled yesterday with making good food choices, but today is a new day. I am not perfect and I am really looking forward to an opportunity today to getting back on track.” That is practicing self-compassion.
Practicing self-compassion allows you to make mistakes and learn along the way instead of beating yourself up for every little wrong turn you make. By adopting an attitude of progress not perfection you will be much more likely to strive towards being your best self in 2018. People who are hyper critical of themselves have a tendency to give up on themselves and their goals and dreams way too soon.
Think about how you feel when you beat yourself up for making a mistake. Now think about how you feel when you are kind to yourself when you mess up. Which feels more motivating? Which internal dialogue would you rather have for the rest of your life? The mean P.E. coach that would berate you or a good buddy who always has your back?
It is important for you to realize that the process of change is a lengthy one. It’s one that ultimately should last a lifetime as you should always be learning and growing. It’s important to have the mindset that you don’t have to get everything right all at once. There may be times when you over eat, grab that slice of chocolate cake or miss a week’s worth of exercise. Most people are going to make some slips along the way.
In making lasting change, you have to keep these momentary slips from becoming major relapses. When you make a slip up you need to recover, learn from it and continue towards your goal of permanent change.
2018 will be different for you because you are going to do the following five things:
· Do strength training for your mind every day.
· Set inspiring goals that get you excited to get up every morning.
· Replace bad habits with good habits.
· Focus on progress, not perfection.
· Give yourself grace, because our God is a God of reckless grace and He is our greatest hope.
If you do those five things I have no doubt 2018 will be your best year ever.
Troy Ismir, MS
Health Coach and Personal Trainer
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