Do you set New Year Resolutions?
A new decade, 2020, is just days away. What’s striking to me about this time is the universal, collective energy of change, new beginnings, and transition. But it’s also a time we may put unnecessary pressure on ourselves for seeming “failures” or lack of accomplishments from the past year.
Recently, I’ve noticed that the ever-popular “New Year’s Resolutions” are becoming “New Year’s Intentions.”
That’s a good thing; intentions are gentler than resolutions. And I'm all about being more gentle with yourself.
Resolutions seem to ask us to be perfect and focus on an outcome. Intentions don’t hold you to a specific outcome, they just point you in the right direction.
If you set resolutions for 2019, did you keep them?
Resolutions don’t work for most people because it’s like forcing yourself into something you think you “should” do (after all, it’s a New Year tradition, right?).
So for 2020 and the beginning of a new decade, I’m suggesting a new approach: the practice of self-forgiveness!
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is an internal state of feeling; it is a conscious and intentional release of negative or harmful feelings such as anger or resentfulness towards someone (including yourself) for an offense, flaw, or mistake, real or perceived.
Forgiveness can be tricky. While you may be generous in your ability to forgive others, you may be much harder on yourself.
Are you hard on yourself in a way that is detrimental?
What do you need to forgive yourself for?
Regret, sadness, hurt, fear, guilt, blame, anger, or resentment. Brooding on these feelings can sabotage your efforts for happiness and leading a meaningful, fulfilled life.
Forgiveness is about showing compassion to yourself. When you forgive yourself, you are willing to move on without ruminating over past events that cannot be changed.
How would self-forgiveness improve your life?
Research has shown that practicing self-forgiveness improves our mental and emotional well-being; self-forgiveness helps us cultivate a positive attitude, healthier relationships and is associated with higher levels of focus and productivity.
Making peace with yourself and moving forward is often easier said than done. Being able to forgive yourself requires empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding. It also requires you to accept that forgiveness is a choice.
3 Tips to Foster Self-Forgiveness
1) Acknowledge Your Emotions
Your feelings are a part of who you are. In order to forgive yourself, it’s critical to acknowledge and process your emotions. Feel what you’re feeling, even if it hurts. All feelings are welcome; all feelings are valid.
2) Have a Conversation with Your Inner Critic
Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize the thoughts that are getting in the way of forgiving yourself.
Write down what you hear your inner critic saying.
Then, write a self-compassionate response for each thing you wrote.
3) Consider how forgiving yourself will affect your relationship with yourself and with others. What will you gain from forgiving yourself?
So basically what I’m saying is: give yourself a break! 2019 is almost over. And it’s all going to be okay. Today is a new day. Tomorrow will be another new day and 2020 is a new year!
I’m encouraging you to live intentionally and practice self-forgiveness because I know it will help you to improve your quality of life as you move into a new decade of being a happier, healthier, kinder, and more successful you!