“maybe, if you put your disbelief aside, roll up your sleeves, take some risks, and totally go for it, you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re living the kind of life you used to be jealous” - Jen SinCERO
The new year is here, and many see this as an opportunity to give up negative habits, such as unhealthy eating, overworking, or self-destructive behaviors. For those that like to make ritualistic New Year’s Resolutions, they often set themselves up for failure from the beginning because of three reasons: they set unrealistic goals, don’t create a strategy for these changes to occur, and don’t change their mindset.
Although it is refreshing to make little changes in our lives, it’s also an opportunity to let go of something less concrete: our own worst enemies, or our negative thoughts. Change, in general, is difficult, but if you try to change your behaviors without altering they way that you perceive them, lasting progress won’t occur.
6 Things to Let Go of in 2018:
1. Your self-defeating talk: “You are your own worst enemy.”
Often times, it is the negative assumptions that we create in our mind that prevents us from following through with change. We tell ourselves over and over that we “can’t do it” or “it won’t work”, thus altering our personal ability to try. What would happen if we encouraged ourselves? Would it boost our self-esteem and likelihood of making the effort, and then improving us to acknowledging success? Start the new year off by having more positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your amazing qualities, take credit for your efforts, and mentally encourage yourself to meet those goals.
2. Your need for control: We all desire a sense of control in our lives.
It gives us standards, boundaries, and comfort. However, the problem with focusing on this control is that you lose sight of what could happen if you were to just let loose. For many, this can be scary because the unknown may not turn out how we would have preferred and may challenge us in other ways. What’s the worst that could happen? It opens you up to seeing the positive or “silver lining”, allowing you to learn from mistakes or see things from a different perspective. I encourage you to just let it be sometimes. Allow the universe to work its magic and you might be surprised at how much easier or more satisfying this can be.
3. Your fears: Fear is an unpleasant emotion that we personally associate with something.
We categorize it as being scary, uncomfortable, or dangerous. We often worry that we won’t be good enough or won’t meet our or someone else’s expectations. What would happen if we let go of the dread that we have toward something and challenge ourselves? Could we overcome the fear? I wonder what is holding you back? Identify your fears, analyze why they are there, and what they are preventing you from doing. Then, adjust your mindset by using that fear to fuel your energy into doing it.
4. Your excuses: “I’ll start it later, now’s not the time, I already messed up, I don’t have time.”
These are common excuses we use to not follow through with change that they ultimately desire in their lives. Making an excuse is just you defending your fears that you won’t succeed (or in your mind – fail), that you can’t handle life without it, or that you aren’t capable of making this change. Make the time! If it is ultimately important to you, why not prioritize it? It might make you feel more accomplished and give you a sense of pride if you were to stop justifying why you aren’t doing it. Stop and notice when you make these excuses and ask yourself why not?
5. Your past: “Our past doesn’t define us”.
This is a common saying and although it can often be nice to see it from that perspective, it can also be a good thing that our past has gotten us to where we are now. In changing something, it can be helpful to reflect back on our past experiences, trials and tribulations, and what we learned in the process. The problem arises when we allow those past experiences to prevent us from moving forward. The goal is to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, and use that to make it different in the future.
6. Your complaining: What does complaining do for us?
We rationalize how hard a change can be by psyching ourselves out and not actually following through. This is just a stalling tactic so that we can continue to put off the inevitable. It’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we tell ourselves how hard it’s going to be, the harder it will feel, and ultimately proving our initial prediction correct. We waste a lot of time and energy complaining about something when we could have just done it. Turn your complaints into positives. When you notice yourself whining about something trivial, use that energy to motivate you to “Just Do It” as Nike would say.
If you saw yourself in any of these six conversations, remember that to assist in your successful changes, you need to do three things: set realistic goals, create a strategy for a change to occur, and examine and alter your mindset. If you, or someone you know, needs assistance in letting go any of these automatic thoughts, schedule an appointment today to get started on this process towards change.
Allison Kidd, LMSW, LMAC