Well, it’s coming: The New Year. And with it, the obligatory flood of emails, blogs, soundbites, and ‘inspirational’ self-help books to remind you that you’d better make some resolutions. It’s a new year! Fresh start! Make goals! Make them huge, unattainable, unrealistic goals — that’s the whole point! The cultural obsession we have with self-improvement and always making our lives bigger and better comes to a sort of fever pitch this time of year.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for self-improvement. I wouldn’t have much business leading Core Values Counseling if I wasn’t. But I’m also of the belief thattrue self-improvement can only healthfully grow out of self-love. And the constant New Year’s reminders that you need to be better somehow, that you’ve got to set these goals or you’ll be a failure, that you’re somehow not good enough already — these don’t stem from self-love. All too often, they stem from and even feed a pattern of self-loathing. We all know that most people drop their new year’s resolutions by February, which only adds to the vicious cycle.
Goals are healthy, and the New Year can be a fun and exciting goal-setting time.But I would challenge you to reflect on the goals you’re setting. Remind yourself of your successes this past year, not your failures. Make note of the things you really like about yourself. You are worthy. You are enough. The hardest challenge of all is truly internalizing that, but if you can, those goals have a lot more potential.