The start of a new year is often a time we commit to changes in our lives – with the view of becoming a bigger, brighter version of ourselves.
And whilst intentions and goals are a good thing, I’ve been thinking a lot about what motivates us to make these resolutions in the first place. Are we motivated by dissatisfaction with ourselves or empowered by what’s possible (just because)?
Personally, I’ve spent many of my forty odd years trying to make personal improvements, with the aim of feeling better about myself. Oddly, I’ve ended up feeling the same old way about myself – regardless of whether I achieved my goals. The bar somehow kept shifting. Is this something you can relate to?
As human beings we are prone to being quite hard on ourselves. We tend to look at ourselves through such a critical lens, creating a mental checklist of faults that need “fixing”. This form of motivation may be enough to get us going – but if the focus is to move away from what we don’t like about ourselves, at what point will we be happy with our results? This route to our goals is rarely satisfying. There will always be perceived faults to tackle.
Making the shift from a “move away” style of self-improvement, to a “move towards” kind of motivation begins with having an appreciation for where and who we already are. Why not give ourselves a bit of a break and adjust our focus to things we can acknowledge about ourselves? We can do this without comparing ourselves to an earlier time in our lives, or someone else for that matter. If we care to take notice, there’s plenty of good stuff right there already. From this place of authentic self-acceptance, we can look at what we actually want to achieve, and not what we’re driven to achieve in order to feel better about ourselves. The great thing about this type of motivation is that it feels good from start to finish.
So, my personal challenge this year is:
Instead of creating intentions to be a better this or that, I’m going to experiment with the possibility of being okay with where I am. I’m going to explore being more of myself in each moment and see where it takes me.
My wish for you is that, whatever intentions you create for the year, may you discover more of the goodness already within you. From this good feeling place, the possibilities are endless.