In case you haven’t heard, it’s a new year, and time for a new you. All of the commercials and advertisements say so! Out with the old you; move over for the new and improved version. As I drove through town last week and listened to a radio commercial encourage to enter a sweepstakes so I could become the new me, I wondered, “what if I like the old me?”
Okay, I know that’s not what they meant. But still, as I listened to the words and absorbed “new year, new me” messages on billboards and in magazines, it kind of felt that way. The truth is, unless you’re going out every day and purposely trying to screw things up for people, you’re just fine the way you are. No new you needed.
But, if the new year has you thinking about taking things to the next level, adding some new skills, and fine-tuning your current level of spectacular, then you may have made some new year resolutions. And your friendly neighborhood wellness coach wants to know: why?
That's the first question to ask when embarking on new goals: why? Why is reaching the goal important to you? Why is now the time to act? Why are you excited about the outcome? Why haven't you done it already? The answers to these questions become part of the vision statement that you can turn to when the work gets hard. Knowing why you started in the first place is helpful in February, when the New Year shine wears off and reality sets in. And all of the other times when you don't wanna.
Knowing the motivation for your resolutions can also help you identify when it is misplaced. I recently came across a quote that I saved because it spoke to me and so many of my clients when we are going through times of change: "Confidence is not about knowing they will like you. Confidence is about knowing you'll be okay if they don't."
When the answers to why a goal is important to achieve include being accepted by others and reaching their expectations, that’s a signal that motivation is misplaced. Your resolutions and goals are best when they come from a place of confidence, not shame. Your goals are more rewarding when they fuel your heart and soul, and yes you deserve that, regardless of whether others approve. But how do we get there as a starting point? If the motivation for your goals feel a little misplaced, consider these tips for building confidence in the new year.
Look Your Best. Are you wearing baggy or tight clothes because you’re waiting to lose weight before buying new ones? Buy clothes that fit you now and the boost will be a big one. I used to put off buying new clothes until I reached a goal weight, but when I needed an outfit for a special event and bought one that fit, just feeling better in my clothes gave me the energy to work on my weight. Get a haircut. Spruce yourself up. When you feel good, good things happen!
Tackle Small Projects First. Nothing breeds success like success, even small victories! Get some momentum by knocking out some easy things you’ve been procrastinating on, and ride that wave of confidence into bigger goals. Get on a roll! It doesn’t have to be a fast one. Just get going.
Zap Negative Thoughts. There’s a difference between being a realist and being negative. It’s totally healthy to be realistic about whether a goal is likely to be reached. But when you notice your brain saying mean and negative things to you, that will become a confidence killer in an instant. Pay attention to when you hear yourself get caught in negative self-talk, and stop it immediately when you notice it. Negative thoughts can be reversed with a message as simple as, “it’s not so bad, I can do this,” or “just five more minutes and then maybe a break.” Ease yourself into just a bit more, and confidence will grow.
Seek Opportunities to Give. Being kind and generous with your time and resources makes other people feel great, and it makes you feel great as well. Even better, serving others connects you with other people who are also serving others, and their positive energy will rub off on you, becoming an endless cycle of good stuff. If you’re not sure about this one, just give it a try and see what happens. I will give you all your happiness back if it doesn’t work.
Confidence is not about knowing they will like you. Confidence is about knowing you'll be okay if they don't. Embrace the new year, the old you, and the awesome power you have to up your game in 2017. Happy New Year!
About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!