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Rethinking New Years Resolutions by Making Room for Self-Compassion Habits

Jan 08, 2021    |   Educator Self-Care

As we enter the new year, many of us feel relieved to leave the tumultuous year of 2020 behind. During this time, we often think about getting a fresh start by making resolutions and setting goals.

This New Year feels different, however, because we know that many of the limitations and uncertainty of 2020 will continue into at least the first part of 2021. While setting goals can be a positive act, this year it might be more useful to visualize what a happy, satisfying 2021 might look like. The new year offers us each an opportunity to turn inwards and think about how we can create habits of self-compassion and self-care. We can “resolve” to be gentle with ourselves as we incorporate these new habits into our lives,  by recognizing that making mistakes is part of the process of habit-building.

5 Healthy “Resolutions” for the New Year

  1. This year, I plan to be more compassionate with myself. 2020 might have been a challenging year, but it also was a time for us to really learn about ourselves. We learned about how we handle stress, the importance of self-care, and who we can turn to when we are in need. We also learned that it can be really easy to be hard on ourselves when we are overwhelmed. We can make 2021 easier by being gentle with ourselves. It’s okay if your day was less productive than usual and if you didn’t complete everything on your to-do list. We talk to ourselves all day long– it’s important that the words we say to ourselves show the same kind of compassion and sensitivity that we would like to show to others.

  2. This year, I plan to explore new hobbies. As we continue sheltering in place, many of us have fallen into stagnant stay-at-home routines that don’t make room for creativity and play. We know that little ones thrive and learn from play, and the same is true for grown-ups! In the new year, challenge yourself to try a few hobbies you think you might enjoy. Maybe you’ll try a free drawing class on YouTube or a new recipe or cooking style. Whatever it is, it’s good to allow yourself time for fun and new experiences every once in a while.

  3. This year, I plan to move my body more. One of the best ways to practice self-care is through movement. From getting out for a walk to trying a free yoga or dance class on  YouTube, there are so many different ways to move and take care of your body and your mind. The best part about these activities is that they can be enjoyed alone or with others, making them easy to fit into your life and your routine.  Give yourself a jumpstart by placing your walking shoes by your bed to help you remember to get out for a walk first thing in the morning, or by making a playlist of your favorite songs to listen to while you exercise. These simple changes help to set you up for success.

  4. This year, I plan to practice gratitude. During the past year, many of us found ourselves struggling with a variety of losses, including lost jobs, lost income, lost connections, or maybe even lost loved ones. It is important to allow ourselves time to grieve but to then appreciate one of the lessons of loss, which is that life is precious. One way to lift our spirits is to think about the good things we have and remind ourselves of the good that is still to come.  This habit of gratitude should include self-gratitude, as you take time each day to appreciate yourself and your accomplishments — even the small ones.

  5. This year, I plan to allow myself to take breaks. The habits of self-compassion and self-gratitude come more naturally when we take breaks throughout the day. Giving ourselves a few minutes of downtime to shift from doing to being is an important technique for handling feelings of overwhelm and stress. To develop the break habit, leave yourself post-it notes where you are likely to notice them, with messages like “Sit down”, “Take a deep breath”, “Listen to a song”, “Stretch to the sky”, or “Close your eyes and think of (a person, your favorite color, a soft warm breeze– or anything else that speaks to you)”. It can be easy to get so caught up in long to-do lists that taking a pause feels impossible. Not only is it possible, but it is beneficial, and it might even help you move through that to-do list.

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