If you are like me, right now you are sitting back and thinking about all the great things you are going to accomplish in 2008. Goals like:
- I will wipe out 50% of my debt
- I will take the "shake out of my fries," by losing weight
- I will finally quit my job and start my own business
- I will pay more attention to my husband, to bring back some of the excitement from our dating years
- I will publish my book
- I will feed my kids only organic, home-cooked meals
Let me offer an alternative: Forget your resolutions. Instead, celebrate the way you are right now, glaring flaws and all.
"Heresy," you say, especially coming from someone like me who profits directly from people’s desire to change their lives.
Isn’t it downright lazy to not want to set goals?
Stay with me. Changing and improving is not the problem, it is the way we go about changing that gets us in trouble and frequently makes the outcome unsuccessful.
This hit me as I was planning my exercise schedule for next year. I have always loved to work out. My problem is getting started with a new exercise routine after a long hiatus. So I searched for inspiration the same way most people do: I looked at myself naked in the mirror.
I just had a baby three months ago and still have some padding around my middle. My thighs are more jiggly than normal, and my upper arms have the beginning of turkey waddle flaps. But as I looked at myself, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t work up the sense of loathing that normally comes from intense scrutiny in the mirror.
I started to think that something was really wrong with me since I was not disgusted by my current physical state. All I felt was love and gratitude for the body that carried my baby girl for nine months. And the jiggly thighs and turkey flaps were the result of eating sweet snacks while staring at the computer screen doing what I love the most: writing.
Isn’t that interesting? Current practice tells us that we must be dissatisfied with where we are now in order to make improvements.
But what I have found is quite the opposite. You have to be satisfied with yourself as you are now in order to truly appreciate the change in the future.
When I was 25, I had a set of abs that put David Beckham to shame, and arms that rivaled Linda Hamilton
. My glutes were so strong they could crack a walnut shell. But inside, I was an emotional disaster. I guess it is true what they say: youth is wasted on the young.
When you start the goal-setting process by appreciating where you are now, you set in motion a very natural reaction: your external world, evidenced by the shape of your body, your bank account, your home, career and personal relationships wants to mirror the beauty you have inside.
Sounds good – how do I do it?
Here is a simple way to cut off the "my life will be better when …" New Year’s resolution hell and set yourself up for success:
Answer these questions:
- If your resolution involves a romantic relationship:
What lesson are you thankful for from the person (or people) who broke your heart?
- If your resolution involves money:
What deep appreciation have you gained from your financial struggles?
- If your resolution involves health or weight:
What do you appreciate about your flabby body?
- If your resolution involves career:
What do you value most about the job you hate?
- If your resolution involves personal relationships:
What do you appreciate about a child, or a friend, that gives you endless challenge?
Or to boil it down, you could ask the question my friend, Brooke Castillo, asks her coaching clients:
What is perfect about your problem?
This simple question can melt away decades of resentment built on your shame of not being good enough. Coming from a place of joy and serenity, you are much more likely to achieve your goals and feel good when you get there.
I would really, really, really love to hear your answers to these questions. Make them anonymous if it is more comfortable. I guarantee that your answers will help someone else.