Last Updated on January 11, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin
Over the last couple of years, I made a new resolution…”Be Kind to Yourself.” A year or so ago, I had to get a new driver’s license and so I had the old and the new to compare. It was clear from the two pictures that over the 4 years in between, I had started to take better care of myself. “Old Me” had a puffy face…” New Me” was thinner. But looking at “Old Me”, I remembered all the stress happening in our lives….the cycle of foster parenting and homeschooling and adopting and living and running ourselves ragged with a house of little kids.
And so, I looked at “Old Me” with a little more grace and kindness. That was a hard season with a revolving door of children, social workers, therapists, homeschool activities, and family. Looking back at “Old Me,” I wanted to say…”Hey, You did a LOT for your family and for others in that season. You juggled a lot of plates…and you put others before yourself. You may have been carrying extra pounds and been so, so tired all the time….but you did a lot of good things for others. Good job!”
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Be Kind to Yourself
Why do I put this out there…a virtual pat on the back to myself? Because during this time of year…when New Year’s Resolutions are something many of us make, I believe it is important to stop and make those goals fully acknowledging our value as human beings….completely apart from the things we do, the money we make or a number on a scale.
Genesis 1:27 reminds us of this great value…our uniqueness on the earth apart from other things. It says:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
We are valuable apart from what we do…simply because of who we are. We are created in the image of Almighty God himself. And starting there is essential to building our goals.
So I want to encourage you…make your list of resolutions…but right next to that list, make a list of who you were in 2022. Who were you to your family…your friends… your neighbors…your co-workers, etc. Because that person…the one you want to change…they were and are valuable. Let this acknowledgment be part of the foundation for all the good things you want to do or become in 2023.
A Year is Too Long
Recently, I’ve been reading the book, “The 12 Week Year” by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington. It makes the argument that setting goals that you have a whole year to achieve makes it easy to procrastinate. By the time November rolls around, those goals are long forgotten…or impossible to accomplish because of all the delay.
Instead, the authors argue, a better approach is to simply look at 12 weeks at a time. Set one “big goal” for that 12 weeks…and then 4-week goals that help accomplish that big goal. This has several benefits.
- It shortens the goal period from 52 weeks…to 12 weeks…a much easier time period to stay motivated.
- It gives you multiple opportunities for a Fresh Start… you can start a “12 Week Year” at any time during the calendar.
- Staying focused for shorter spurts actually helps people accomplish MORE than they would when goal setting for 365 days.
It’s an interesting idea, and, for those of us who struggle to accomplish our resolutions, it is an idea worth considering. If you decide to start losing weight (or whatever) in October…great…no need to wait until January 1st. Set a 12-week goal…break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals….and go for it.
Setting reasonable… short-term goals is yet again another way you can be kind to yourself!
Make Goals For Who You Are Becoming
Look ahead to the end of the year…December 31, 2023. Who do you want to be on that date? Do you want to be someone who is at a new job, or someone who is healthy and active so they can do creative, interesting things….or someone with a strong family? Who is that person?
As you set your goals for the year, describe in detail who that person is…that person you will be in 12 months…and put it in a place where you can read it often.
You don’t have to meet your goals perfectly for them to push you toward new opportunities and change. It’s so awesome that one way to be kind to yourself is to sit and daydream…and then write it down. So simple…yet so important!
Surround Yourself With People Who Will Encourage You and Cheer You On
A couple of years ago, my husband started going to the gym…regularly. It was SO ANNOYING. He would be up at the crack of dawn and stay for a couple of hours. He was diligent. He would encourage me to come. I of course said, “No” and made lots of excuses why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go.
Over time, his consistency made me realize that if I really did want to move more…this was a golden opportunity. I had someone in my own house that would set an alarm…wake me up…and warm up the car to help me meet this goal. So a year or so ago, I started getting up to go with him. (It’s awesome by the way…I always said I would hate it…but I don’t). Having someone to cheer me on made it so much easier. Over that year, I’ve had times when I didn’t go for a period of time, but I no longer shame myself for it which makes it so much easier to get back to a rhythm when life calms down.
Obviously, you can’t just go marry some “encouraging guy” or flip a switch and upgrade the one you have…but YOU DO HAVE CHOICES. One way you can be kind to yourself is to choose to surround yourself with people who are interested in positive change. If you don’t have this kind of friends, it’s time to join some groups….it could be Facebook groups based on your goal interest…or Meetup Groups based on your interest or just taking a class. Be with people who will encourage you to keep showing up.
Lastly…Plan to End Well
Did you know that this process of setting and working toward goals will benefit you even if you don’t accomplish them right away…on the timeline you originally set? That is ok and honestly, it is one way to be kind to yourself…to give yourself that space to figure things out. When you get out there and start believing in yourself and doing new things, you will meet new people…and that alone will bring new opportunities and relationships. All the side benefits are almost better than the original goal!
I’m excited about all the things I have planned for 2023 that I want to share with you. I’d love to hear your goals. What big or small goal are you working on?
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