All too often we use the end of December and early January to berate ourselves for the people we are and who we are not. We ruminate on the things that we wish we’d done better and the things that we shouldn’t have done.
This was my story. Every year I would vow to change myself; to lose 10 pounds, become richer, smarter, sexier, and in the process I would unconsciously minimise all that I had achieved and learnt in the year gone by.
I couldn’t accept myself as I was. I needed to be different. Someone else.
Every year, I was making changes to my life from a place of fear. I feared I wasn’t smart enough to have a good job, I feared that I would never have enough money to do the things that I wanted to do and ultimately I feared that I was not good enough.
Something started to shift at the start of 2015, I had just come out of a long term relationship, I was tired, miserable and strung out. My highly anxious nature combined with the consistent need for self improvement made me not very fun to be around (and it wasn’t very fun in my own head either!) How I was living wasn’t working for me anymore. I had had enough and needed to change how I was doing things. I coined this shift ‘Laurie 2.0’ (catchy…).
I started writing. I wrote everything down. Thoughts, dreams, what I’d eaten that day, hopes for the future, business ideas, how much I spent on lunch!
I dived in deep to my yoga practise as a way to escape my need to go to the pub.
I worked with a wonderful coach, Ariadne, she helped me to start to see myself differently. My conversations with her pushed me further into the rabbit hole of self enquiry and self acceptance. When writing this blog post, I read through my responses to the first questionnaire she sent me to answer about myself. What a difference 18 months makes …
If you had nothing to fear, how would your life be different?
I would drink less. I’d like to not feel the pressure to have a drink in social situations – and to give me confidence when dating. I’d have the confidence in myself to be who I am, as I am – without alcohol, or needing to exercise that bit more, to be free.
I went from reading business, marketing and time management books to books on self care, self awareness, love and philosophy. (I’m working on writing up my reading list and book recommendations from 2016 – bear with me!)
What did I learn?
It’s an inside job.
You might have heard this before and you might have dismissed it as really woo woo, circa 2015 I would have done the same. but it is the truth for me. I am enough. I didn’t need to change myself, I needed to learn to accept myself as I was. Other people’s opinions of me were just that, their opinions. They weren’t, and still are not, my truth.
I had to work on how I thought about myself. I had to accept who I am and how I look. It is an ongoing journey, and some days it’s a battle.
I started to make goals for me.
Goals that would improve my life in ways I chose, and not because I thought they would look better to other people or appeal to anyone else. Any improvements I make for myself, and I’ve listed my 3 goals for the year below, will be just that improvements for my life and my experience of it. I will always remain the same person at my core.
The content overload we receive around New Year often encourages us to think that we are not good enough as we are and we have to change. But you, right now, reading this are good enough as you are. You don’t have to change anything about yourself. You should change your behaviours for yourself from a place of love. Please make any goals for the year with that in mind.
Below are some prompts that I found helpful in setting my goals for the year. Reminding me to set my goals from a place of love for myself and not a need to change to better fit other expectations.
If you’re inspired to understand yourself a little better and make your resolutions from a place of love I’d recommend making yourself a cup of tea, setting aside at least an hour to have some quiet and relax with a notebook.
Take time to answer the questions below:
1. How can I take better care of myself this year?
2. How can I better focus on me and make myself happy?
3. What changes can I make to shift my attitude and mentality?
4. Are these changes a result of my desires to improve my life (or to impress/impersonate someone else)?
Review your notes, notice what excites you and where you feel resistance, and choose the goals that will enable you to take better care of yourself and focus on what you want.
I sat down with a mug of mint tea and completed the same exercise, my goals for 2017 are below:
1.Trust Myself More
I constantly look to my friends for guidance and support. I ask them what they think, whether or not I should do something, whether or not I should buy something, I even asked two friends whether I should start this blog! Asking my friends for help & an encouraging word or two is fine but in 2017 I want to focus on trusting my own instinct as guidance, no more crowdsourcing my life.
2.Pay Attention to my Finances
Whilst I may have spent the last two years learning more about myself, I’ve also spent them ignoring my spending & burying my head in the sand. I have just finished Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story and I am ready to finally face up to my finances. I don’t have any crazy financial goals to share here, I want to stop spending beyond my means and start paying down some credit card debt.
3.Teach a (paid for) Yoga Class
Yoga has played a huge part in me getting to know myself better and of keeping me out of the pub, it has added structure, routine (can’t be out late on a Friday night when you have a 7am Saturday yoga class) and a sense of self to my life. I’m taking my practise one step further in 2017 and completing my yoga teacher training. I’m starting at the end of January and, although it feels like the world and his wife are yoga teacher’s at the moment, I’m really excited to start teaching. I want to be a kind, compassionate, teacher who creates a safe atmosphere of quiet, calm and reflection to help students process whatever it is they are going through on the yoga mat. More to come on this but wish me luck.
I’d love to hear what your goals are for 2017. Please comment below, let me know on Instagram or email me if you’d rather not share publicly.
All my love, L xx