by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW
How are your resolutions coming along? Even though we’re still hanging on to January, it can be difficult to maintain momentum at this point in the year. The routine has started again, the stresses have returned. Winter has now arrived, so we often end up just wanting to do what is comfortable and familiar.
I’m sure many of you have set goals about improving fitness and exercising more frequently. Perhaps your body is something that brings negative thoughts to mind and you want that to change. Dieting and diet related products are a forty billion dollar a year industry—this speaks loudly to the truth that you are not alone—many people want their bodies to change!
It is very easy to be critical of ourselves--especially when we’ve set goals that aren’t turning out the way we had hoped. Thoughts of “I’m failing at this too” or “I knew that I would mess up, what’s my problem” start to take over the adrenaline and motivation we were experiencing a couple of weeks ago.
I want to encourage you to re-focus. Not just by doing more, by checking off that daily workout on your to do list, but by focusing on what is going on inside of you. Allow yourself to tune in to the chatter inside of your mind. Take a moment to ask yourself if the way that you talk to yourself is helpful and encouraging—to you and to others. When we are self critical, we often become more critical of others also.
Attempting to re-focus might look something like this…if a typical thought of yours in response to a recently set goal is “I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this, why am I even trying,” attempt to put the feeling that underlies that comment into a statement that is self affirming and motivating. This could include statements like “This is hard, and I am learning how to be determined.” Another example could be “The effort put into this change is helping me become a stronger person.” Getting away from self criticism can be one of the first steps at becoming successful with the goals we set for ourselves.