How to Appreciate Yourself in the New Year

I’d venture to say that the most popular resolutions for the new year involve getting in shape, losing weight or eating healthier. Raise your hand if you have ever made one of these resolutions. Now, raise your hand if you fell off track. How long did it take you to give up? Did you then get frustrated with yourself? I know I have.

That’s why this year, I deliberately didn’t make any of those resolutions. Yes, I want to be healthier over all, but for me that wholeheartedly involves my mental well being as well as my physical well being. I could hop on some diet train, but that’s not what I really need at the root of it all. What do I need? I need to appreciate myself more, and I bet you need to do the same.

How can I appreciate myself this year? First, let’s look at the word “appreciate.” What’s it really mean? It means to “recognize the full worth of.” Are you recognizing your full worth? Resolutions can have negative implications. If you don’t complete what you’ve started out to do, how will you feel? I know in my case, I usually tell myself something along the lines of, “Well, you knew you weren’t going to do it anyway.” It’s really not a positive experience at all.

So this year, I’m changing my mind set. I wondered what it would be like, if I simply resolved to love what I already have. How would my new year go if I simply just let go and told myself that I’m already wonderful and I don’t have to change to be valid? You are valid. You just don’t see it yet.

My first resolution: I want to get stronger. Fine. First I need to look at myself and all the ways I’m strong now. What has my body done for me? I’ve had babies, I ran junior olympics track as a kid. I’ve overcome and worked through so much emotional trauma. Ladies, YOU are strong too. Make a list of all the ways you’re strong. Physically and mentally. We are strong.

My second resolution: I want to lose weight. Fine. How has my body’s size affected those around me? How many times have my babies snuggled into my squishy softness? Did they ever complain? No. My body is great because of the love it gives. I can appreciate my softness. How can you appreciate your body? What’s it given you? Make yourself a list. Our bodies are perfect.

My third resolution: I want to eat healthier. Instead of going on some crazy diet, start with giving yourself props for the healthy habits you already have. You have to have some. I know you do. Start with where you’re at. Add in some fruits throughout the day as a snack. Take some vitamins. Ease yourself gently into better habits, but don’t completely cut yourself down. If you’re eating anything, you’re feeding your strong, perfect body already. Take it from someone who used to have an eating disorder – a calorie is a calorie and there is no “good” or “bad” food. If you’re nourishing yourself at all, you’ve already started. Write yourself a letter about how many great things you already do for your body.

Now, set a goal that’s merely for you. Mine? I want to make more time for my hobbies and creativity. Starting this blog is part of that. That’s a goal that’s just for me. It doesn’t involve trying to live up to the standards society is putting on me. It doesn’t involve restrictions or guilt. It’s simply just me, trying to be my authentic self. I’m giving myself the gift of doing something I love. By setting a goal to do this, I’m giving myself permission to live my best life.

Now that you’ve started at a positive baseline, you can start to tweak things. If you’re starting from a positive place, it’s better than starting from the negative self-deprecating place that most resolutions are born from. You can’t change until you appreciate what you’ve already got. Then set yourself a goal that’s just for you. Want to take a dance class? Great! Want to learn a foreign language? Okay! Anything you want to do for yourself, do it. Even if it’s something as small as promising yourself a weekly bubble bath.

Do what you have to do to appreciate yourself. Love yourself. I mean it.