January 9th 2019
You’re the longest friend you will ever have; treat yourself with kindness~
When the clock struck midnight, ringing in 2019, I knew I wanted things to be different. 2018 was a year of learning and growing. It was a year of being hurt by not only personal struggles, but also hurt by watching the world struggle. In the climate of 2018, it was easy to be hard on myself for “not doing enough” or not doing “the right things”. I often found myself comparing myself to others, getting down on myself for a lack of progress, and beating myself up for not doing more for the things I was passionate about.
However, with all of the negativity, 2018 taught me a valuable lesson about positive self-talk. You see, when you speak poorly of yourself, you often reflect the exact qualities you are putting yourself down for. If I criticize myself for being lazy, I end up working myself so hard that I get sick and am left with no choice but too be lazy. If I call myself dumb, I overstimulate myself trying to learn as much as I can about everything, thus retaining nothing. If I call myself fat, I put so much pressure on myself to exercise and eat better that I end up caving because I tried to change too much, too quickly.
By feeding into negative self-talk, I was pushing myself so hard that it was counter-productive and I was getting further from my goals as a result. So this year, I intend on working with the transformative practice of positive self-talk to reach the goals I hope to reach this year.
Instead of saying I am fat or ridiculing myself for gaining weight over the holidays, I am returning to my center, sorting out my headspace, and trying to improve slowly to get back on track. I am not calling myself names or putting myself down for a minor setback, instead, I am praising myself for not letting myself slack even further and regrouping instead of giving up. This is where positive self-talk differs from negative self-talk.
With negative self-talk, you are using guilt and fear to drive you to act. The results of negative self-talk are usually counter-productive and hurt progress by trying to do too much of, what you consider to be a good thing, too quickly. However, positive self-talk uses the powers of compassion, understanding, and patience to get yourself on track with your goals while encouraging you to work at your own pace. Despite performing the same actions as you would as a result of negative self-talk, positive self-talk yields lasting results and helps prevent burn out.
So as you enter the new year, try to change the way you view your shortcomings. Instead of criticizing yourself for not reading more and forcing yourself to read every chance you get, instead, try to encourage yourself to just read a little more. You don’t need to push yourself to read a whole book so fast that you can’t enjoy it, but you can start reading a little bit nightly and be proud of yourself for increasing little by little. The same goes for almost any other example you can think of. Whether it is saving money, eating healthier, exercising, or even cleaning; talking to yourself with compassion and the desire to improve will help bring you one step closer to where you want to be.
How can you incorporate positive self-talk into your goals for 2019?
This year, I intend to encourage myself to commit to healthy eating and forgive myself for when life gets in the way and I can’t be healthy 100% of the time. Instead of pushing myself to crash-diet extremes, I am going to pace myself and do what feels right in my body without putting pressure on myself to maintain a certain standard that seems unrealistic.