Ten Tips for a "Real" New Year
Holidays and the start of a new year inevitably make us think
about how we can improve ourselves, and have the life we want in
the future. We make resolutions - I must lose weight, I will
save more money - and then lose our way. That's because we
aren't matching our resolutions with who we are inside. We're
more likely to succeed if we work on discovering our inner, Real
selves, appreciate who we already are, and then take a chance on
custom-made changes, not one-size-fit all resolutions. Here are
ten tips for making the new year better in a Real way.
1. Let your values be your guide -- There are plenty of people
who will tell you what should be important to you, if you let
them. Friends, co-workers, family, even the mass media, bombard
us with opinions and ideas. Don't just accept what others say.
Decide for yourself what matters most and let those values set
2. Take a long-term view -- Bad habits, difficult relationships,
and other disappointments don't develop overnight. Similarly,
life doesn't get better in a moment. Change happens slowly,
step-by-step. Have the patience to see it through.
3. Let Go of the "Shoulds" -- When you were a kid, you needed
grown-ups to tell you what was right and wrong and what you
should do in a given situation. As an adult you can make these
choices for yourself. "Shoulds" produce resentment and anger.
Instead, do what you know in your heart is right, and set your
4. Define Yourself as Beautiful -- Fewer than five percent of us
believe we are beautiful, but whenever I meet someone, I can see
something beautiful in her right away. You may not fit the mass
media image of conventional, external beauty, but there are
things that make you attractive. Remember, beauty is an inside
5. Let Go of Being Perfect -- As much as we hear that "nobody's
perfect" it's awfully hard to believe. This is because what we
constantly see in the media are air-brushed images of people who
appear perfect and we come to believe it is a reasonable goal.
When we fall short of perfect, then we feel like failures, just
for being ourselves. This year, why not just forget that whole
concept and replace it with "I don't have to be perfect." The
truth is, the people who love you know that you have flaws and
just don't care. You don't have to either...
6. Stop Competing -- Life is not a game to be won or lost. It is
more like a dance that never ends. People who make life a
competition live in fear of losing. But if you understand that
there's no first prize and no finish line, only opportunities to
grow and experience things, then that fear is replaced by
appreciation and wonder. Try to think about growing rather than
7. Try a Little Self-Empathy -- We all hope to be kind and
considerate when it comes to others. But have you ever made an
effort to think about yourself in the same way? Most of us spend
too much time judging ourselves harshly. It's hard to be happy
when you let that little voice inside you endlessly say mean and
8. Make Friends with Your Flaws -- When you stop believing in
perfection, it's a lot easier to adopt a new view of those
things people call flaws. In many cases, we can redefine these
differences and understand them as gifts. What makes a mole a
beauty mark? The answer is in your perspective. Why not adopt a
perspective that honors all those things that make you different?
9. Listen to Your Body -- Many of us lead lives that are so
fast-paced and stressful that we push ourselves to the point of
getting sick. In most cases, our bodies send us signals -
fatigue, aches, hungers - when it's time to slow down, rest and
examine our emotions. We can avoid a lot of sick days if we
pause to listen to our bodies and respond with gentle self-care.
10. Try New Things -- In the end, the important things in life
are found in relationships and experiences. We feel good when we
connect with others and take on challenges that allow us to
grow. If you have always wanted to feel closer to someone you
know, take the risk. And if you have longed to try something new
- in the arts, your work, sports, or anything else -- give
yourself permission to try. A little courage will bring you
great rewards in the coming year.