Each New Year we are gifted with a fresh start. With the prior year ending and a new one beginning, it’s like we are presented with a blank canvas, on which we can paint whatever is most alive for us in the newness of the moment. We have an opportunity to release what unfolded in the previous year and to call in what inspires us as we begin this next 365-day cycle. Regardless of what was present in our lives when the year ended, this new beginning holds the promise of possibility and invites us to dream new dreams, and to live into the most authentic expression of who we are.
In keeping with the energy of new possibilities, the New Year often inspires us to make resolutions that may improve or enrich our lives in some way. Some popular resolutions are to lose weight, eat healthier, get in shape, quit smoking, volunteer, spend more time with family, travel to a new place, save money, or learn something new.
When resolutions are inspired from an inner place of self-love and a desire to create a healthier and more fulfilling life, it can be very enriching and beneficial to dedicate our time and energy to meeting these goals. However, oftentimes we make New Year’s resolutions from a place of self-judgment, with the belief that we would be better or more lovable if we weighed less, were in better shape, quit smoking, volunteered more, etc.
A resolution that comes from a place of self-judgment ultimately leads to suffering. This is because if we don’t accomplish our resolution, it’s likely that we will feel even more judgment about ourselves. Even if we do accomplish our resolution, the painful feelings that we are not enough as we are will still be there. This sometimes leads us to thinking that if we could just do more and be more, then we will finally be ok.
If you notice that self-judgment is motivating you to make certain resolutions, it can be a revolutionary act of self-love to release those resolutions and consider different possibilities. For example, instead of resolving to lose weight (if it’s motivated by self-judgment), you could try to say something positive to your self every morning in the mirror. This resolution shifts from a focus on weight loss and performance to an act of self-love.
While New Year’s resolutions have the potential to improve our lives, they do not add to our value or worthiness. Whether a person loses weight (or not), quits smoking (or not), volunteers (or not), he/she is lovable and valuable. No resolution can add or detract from one’s value. Our worth is constant and unchanging from the moment we are born until the day that we transition from this body…and beyond. Nothing that happens from our first breath to our last can increase or decrease our worth.
As this New Year begins, remember that while resolutions can be beneficial, nothing you do can change the fact that you are enough. You have always been, are now, and will always be.
With gratitude ~ Erin
With deep reverence for the human experience, Erin supports others on the journey of healing and creating healthy, vibrant lives. She combines traditional and body-centered psychotherapy with other mindfulness-based practices. To learn more, visit her website at www.erinstohl.com or call 313-942-5586.