By: Kelly D'Souza
January is often the month of that “new year, new me” dialogue. It is also the month of taxing imperatives. Media and external influences are constantly telling us how to eat healthier, how to lose weight, how to make more friends, etc. New Year resolutions have always existed as a way to begin a new year on a fresh note, but have also been a way of criticizing ourselves and making changes that aren't always framed and executed positively.
There is nothing wrong with making a resolution for the New Year. Self- improvement is an ongoing process. There is no right day to start improving yourself, it is important to realize that it’s like any other goal. We need to set goals that are valuable to us and not what is dictated by the internet, they should be realistic, measurable, and in our best interest.
This year the Conscious Counselling Team challenged us to revolutionize goals by sharing a twist to New Year Resolutions. Some of the goals included eating what you want instead of "eating less," and dropping toxic relationships instead of a "dropping down a size." The underlying message is to choose yourself and what you value before you choose from a list of taxing imperatives which I mentioned earlier. Self-improvement begins when you choose to work on yourself. You may not need to get that gym membership or make more friends. All it could take is you being kinder to yourself, choosing to acknowledge your effort, forgiving yourself when you make mistakes, letting go of toxic relationships and being yourself!
Research has shown the benefits of positive reframing. How we frame our statements while making goals can have a huge impact on our wellbeing and the outcome of the goal. Positive reframing helps to achieve daily satisfaction. (Stoeber & Janssen,2011). It is important to make self-improvement goals from a nurturing and empowering place.
“I have to value myself because it makes me feel good” is a statement you’d want to choose over “I need to value myself because I am worthless.” There is a great deal of wealth in reframing the way we make goals. We need to make goals from a place which loves and accepts our present self but finds no harm in improving, rather than from a place of self-hate and not being good enough. We strongly encourage you to reframe your current resolutions from a place of self-acceptance and empowerment!
Joachim Stoeber & Dirk P. Janssen (2011) Perfectionism and coping with daily failures: positive reframing helps achieve satisfaction at the end of the day, Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 24:5, 477-497, DOI: 10.1080/10615806.2011.562977