The new year brings with it new resolutions and goals — it’s seemingly a time for us to start fresh. The truth is though, we can choose to “start,” whether it’s tackling our goals, making plans, or trying to form new habits, whenever we’d like. Of course this is easier said than done, especially because life can feel so chaotic at times. Between the demands of motherhood, work, relationships, and finding time for yourself, you might be wondering how you can possibly add anything more to your already overflowing plate. I’m right there with you.
What I’ve realized though, is that centering my thoughts and actively working towards bettering myself ultimately helps me to be more fully present across all the different areas of my life. It’s a lesson that has taken me quite a while to learn, and one that I still need refreshers in, but it helps to remember that you really can’t pour from an empty pitcher.
“Self-care and compassion are the fuel that ignites the engine,” shares Dr. Gin Love Thompson, psychotherapist, relationship and communications specialist and author. “You have to have the basics in place to enjoy the ride. Would you set out on a long journey without ensuring your car was in tip-top performance? Of course not. Then do not expect this of your body and mind. Tend to them with care.”
Truly taking the time for ourselves, while also practicing giving ourselves more grace when we fall short is crucial. And when it comes to forming new habits and following through with our goals, Dr. Gin has shared her tried and true tips for success:
Self-sabotage is a largely unconscious process, but it is a significant obstacle that we have to work towards overcoming — ultimately getting out of our own way in order to achieve our determined goal. Self-sabotage can manifest in countless ways, we are very creative.
We can change our brains, but it requires dedication, determination, commitment, and discipline. We often do not like that word, discipline. However, if we look at it as a key tool, and a powerful one at that, our perceptions change. Not everyone will make it to the mountaintop and lack of discipline is a major contributor. It is a vital component to successfully changing old habits. We must create a new imprint within the mind, while assisting the brain and mind in releasing and reprogramming the old ingrained template.
Take the time each day to re-evaluate your priorities, remember why they are your priorities and center yourself, which will in turn allow deeper focus. We often become so consumed with forward movement and achieving more, more, more that we do not take the time to remember why we set out on this pursuit to begin with. This reflection will renew the meaningfulness of the process.
We have a limited amount of energy each day, this includes mental and emotional energy. Work smarter, not harder. Create an energy expenditure checklist and examine it frequently. Where is your energy being directed and spent. Evaluate what you’re receiving from the areas you choose to spend your energy, see how it lines up with your ultimate goals, and make changes accordingly to free up more time to focus on the steps necessary to actualize your passions.
We have to break down our goals into a plan that includes manageable and realistic steps that will help to avoid feelings of overwhelm. [However, setbacks happen.] You can be compassionate with yourself, while practicing the discipline required to make your dreams a reality.
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