Whether or not you make New Years Resolutions, the new year is a time for people to reflect on their lives and changes they hope are coming their way. Fitness related goals are still the number one resolution made. Other common ones are getting organized, and learning something new. While all are worthwhile goals to have, they are usually a symptom of a problem.
The thing is, it doesn't matter so much what the problem is. There is typically an underlying theme and therefore one universal goal that will help you regardless of what you're trying to change: commit this year to loving yourself. It feels like common sense, and I'm sure there are thousand of posts with this very topic floating around the internet. But when someone struggles to love themselves and the try to pacify this issue by implementing changes they think will make them happy, it's suddenly more complicated than it once seemed. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Forgive Yourself
If you are holding onto guilt, anger, frustration or any other negative emotion that is directed at yourself, it's time to let it go. Some people do this through writing, having a cleansing ritual or simply reflecting and actively let go of those memories. Once you forgive yourself you are able to look at yourself from a more fresh perspective. It also gives you room to be honest with yourself, and therefore allows you to make important changes to help you grow.
2. Set Boundaries
Boundaries is a strange, elusive word. Manye people have heard of it, but it's hard to define what it means specifically. But the fact is, having healthy boundaries is more than being able to say no to someone. It's more than being able to walk away from your ex when they "need" you. It's more than being able to advocate for yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Setting boundaries is all about knowing your values, your beliefs and developing integrity. It's about knowing your personal code of ethics and learning how to defend that code so that your actions don't conflict with your core values. Being able to do this shows the upmost respect for yourself.
3. Learn How to Satisfy Your Needs
I once had a therapist that told me that as adults we have to learn to take care of ourselves as if we are both parent and child. For example, children get very cranky if they haven't slept, and their parents often have to enforce their sleep schedule. As adults, you owe it to yourself to make sure you are getting enough sleep at night, even if you have to put yourself to sleep in the way a parent does for their kid. Rather than look for others to bring you a sense of security, basic needs, or feelings of affection, give yourself those things. The best example I have of this in my personal life is my significant other. He loves to compliment himself, and every time he looks in the mirror, he works a smile on his face and tells himself something he likes. I am not the most complimentary of people, so he satisfies his need for appraisal by loving himself in this way. At first, I thought it was a little vain. Then I tried it, and it made me feel much better than my usual mental notes of things I needed to fix about my body. Meeting your needs is something different for everyone, but it is essential to learning to love who you are.
There are tons of ways you can learn to love yourself and it's a skill that can always be improved on. It's something that lays a healthy foundation for any changes you want to make in your life. Beyond that, loving yourself has huge health benefits, such as lower stress levels, more motivation, and increase in general satisfaction. If you are going to commit to actively making any change for 2016, commit to you.