Are you ready for 2016?
For me, the ending of the old year and the beginning of a new one signals a time for reflection and goal-making. Some treat the New Year like any other day, but why not use the New Year as an opportunity to remember that you have the power to start anew.
2015 was a pretty good year for me. I developed new relationships and strengthened old ones. This past June marked the first full year of my relationship with my boyfriend, Tom. I also was happily surprised when so many of my friends were able to make it to my birthday party. I remember thinking about how lucky I was to be surrounded by people who cared about me. The truth is, though, while I am grateful for my friends and loved ones, building and maintaining relationships is a skill that I focused on developing this year.
To develop new relationships, I challenged myself to go to social events, even if I was nervous about attending or didn’t know anybody. I went to many Reddit events, and that’s even where I met my boyfriend last year. We recently joined the Boston Athenaeum and I’ve enjoyed attending events there as well, and getting to know other members.
In addition to forming better relationships, I also formed a better relationship with myself. Cheesy as it is, it’s absolutely true. This year marked a big shift for me in the way that I think about myself. I realized that being harshly critical of myself or feeling negatively about my life doesn’t help me to change it for the better. Instead, it just makes me feel worse and lowers my motivation. If you want to make changes in your life, I encourage you to talk to yourself as you would a friend.
Ever heard of a “Compliment Sandwich”? Try telling yourself something like “You’re a very kind person,” (Compliment) “but you tend to be overly-critical of yourself.” (Constructive Criticism) “I know that you are a determined person and will be able to make changes in your life if you learn to be as loving as you are to others to yourself as well.” (Compliment).
What’s hard about being loving to yourself is that there are so many people out there who believe that ridiculing someone will get them to change. But if you’ve been critical of yourself over and over and wondering why you still can’t find the will power to change, perhaps it’s because you need to shift your way of “encouraging” yourself.
Aiming to improve your life is an amazing thing. However, I think we ought to treat ourselves with respect and dignity and acknowledge not only our shortcomings, but the strengths we have that will help us to overcome them.
Have a wonderful New Year!