You don’t have to be a maker of resolutions to see the potential in a new year. Everyone feels it. But if you’re not comfortable with making resolutions or setting goals, then maybe you’d be more comfortable with the idea of leaving things in the past and moving on from them.
If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, your mom, or your child, don’t say it to yourself. That love you have for those close to you, and the beauty you see in them is in you, too. I know it’s easier said than done, and loving yourself doesn’t happen overnight, but sometimes just forcing yourself to stop and think, “Would I say this to my best friend?” or “What would I do if someone else said this to her?” makes you rethink what you’re telling yourself. You are worthy of love and kindness and peace and happiness, no matter what. No! Matter! What! Kindness toward yourself is going to do a lot more good than negativity ever has. They say plants grow better with love and kind words. Imagine what they could do for you.
Friendships That Exhaust You
You don’t have to be an introvert or an empath to be exhausted by the energy that certain people give off. I think we’ve all had or have friendships like that. It’s hard to force yourself to make time for those people because you feel as though you have to go home and recover from the time you spent with them, even if it was just a quick catch-up over coffee.
Friendships like that are sometimes inevitable in places like work, where it’s easy to get confused about whether it’s the workplace that exhausts you or the person, but when you’re out of that setting and you still feel exhausted around them, it’s time to cut ties. It’s not always easy, because you rationalize in your head that they aren’t bad people and they haven’t done anything wrong. They even probably have plenty of redeeming qualities and you have things in common with them. But no amount of redeeming qualities can make up for the way you feel when you’re done spending time with them.
This one sort of goes with the last one, but on a more extreme level. Toxic relationships aren’t just friendships that make you feel shitty. Toxic relationships can be romantic partners, family, or yes, friendships that make you feel shitty. Sometimes it’s that friend who is always bringing you down, talking shit to you or about you. Sometimes it’s the romantic partner that maybe isn’t obviously abusive (drop them, too) but is manipulative or controlling. Sometimes it’s a cousin or other close relative that is constantly trying to start drama with you or someone else and bringing you into it, or only contacting you when they want something and then disappearing when you can’t give it to them.
You can leave them behind in 2018. You absolutely can cut ties with people that do nothing but harm you, regardless of the relationship. As I said before, you are worthy of and deserve love and kindness; that also includes what you allow from others.
Unhealthy Relationships with Food and Exercise
Fun Fact: eating a donut is not committing a mortal sin. You aren’t “being bad” because you had that slice of cheesecake you’ve been craving for a week. And you aren’t being “good” by denying yourself that bowl of pasta (that you may or may not end up bingeing on later).
As a society, we have been conditioned to think that being thin is some kind of reward, and fatness can only ever be the “before” picture, but it’s time to leave that behind in 2018. If you enjoy drinking smoothies and eating kale salads every day; good! Do that! If you want pizza, do that. If you love running, go run. If you want to sit on your couch and play video games all night, knock yourself out. Do you have an image of the type of people that are doing those things? Think about why you imagined a person with a particular body-type eating the salad and running and why you probably pictured a completely different body-type eating pizza and playing video games. Consider that it’s not because only those types of people do those things, but because that’s what we’ve been made to picture.
If you want to exercise because it makes you feel happy and energized and refreshed, that’s the only reason you need. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, you don’t owe an explanation or a reasoning for living your life as you see fit.
The “Hustler” Mentality
This one is a little more controversial but just hear me out. There’s nothing wrong with working hard and making your dreams a reality. It’s admirable how dedicated some people are. But when it comes at the expense of sleep, time with friends and family, and/or your mental health, that’s when it becomes dangerous.
So, you missed a night out with friends because you were working on your “side hustle”? Not a huge deal; sacrifices have to be made. But what about when it becomes missing birthdays and holidays with family? What about getting so little sleep that you’re basically driving under the influence because you stayed up too late trying to finish that last blog post, edit that video, or finish that design? You’re literally putting your life and the lives of others in danger. Not to mention the havoc that is wrecked on our bodies when we don’t eat and sleep enough.
Take a break. Have a picnic with the kids. Invite the girls over for a night in. Go see a movie, even if it’s alone. The hustle will still be there when you’re done. I will admit; being able to say, “don’t work so hard so you can spend time with friends and get a full night’s sleep” is a privilege that not everyone is lucky enough to have. I understand that some people have to work multiple jobs just to keep the lights on and food on the table.
The Weight of the Expectations of Others
We all go through life with someone (or someones) expecting things of us. That’s not a bad thing. It’s when those expectations become insurmountable and you’re drowning in them. It’s bad when you start to lose sight of who you are, what you love, and where you want to go because you’re so busy trying to be everything else for everyone else. And no matter how hard you try, you somehow end up falling short, every time.
In 2019, we’re going to shed those external expectations and start reminding ourselves of what we want for ourselves, and move forward from there.
Change is hard. It takes us out of our comfort zone, even if that zone is bad for us. This year, listen to yourself, ask body and your mind what it needs and do that. You deserve it and you’re worth it.
Happy New Year!