Are Your 2017 Goals Making You Hate Yourself?
It’s that time of the year when we’re all looking forward.
Hoping, striving, planning for the year that we do it all. Get that promotion. Write that book. Lose the 10 pounds. Run the marathon. Find love.
And I’m just as caught up in the fresh energy as the next person.
But if I’m completely honest, my New Year Resolutions rarely make it through the year. They rarely make it through January.
In the past, I’ve I used this as a way to beat myself up – evidence that I don’t have enough hustle, or will power, or self control.
Evidence that I’m a bit of a failure.
But is that how I want my resolutions and goals to make me feel?
In the past, I’ve loaded myself up with some excellent and worthwhile goals.
Write every day. Exercise 3 times per week. Make $150,000 in our business. Go on a hike each month. Yoga every morning.
Specific, measurable, soul-aligned goals.
Problem is, this list (and there’s a whole lot more than this) makes me feel restricted. Overwhelmed. Overloaded.I know what I should be doing, but there’s so many opportunities for me to fail. And failing at your goals is a sure-fire way to feel like a loser.
I’ve realised that these goals are a complicated way of trying to make myself better. On one hand, that’s a worthy pursuit. But when I really feel into it, these goals have at their core the belief that I’m not enough.
It’s perfectionism masquerading as motivation.
And perfectionism is a killer. Of joy. Of connection. Of love – for others, and most importantly, of self.
The idea that we need to be different, more like that, less like this, skinnier, stronger, richer, more successful or smarter – it all hinges on the belief that as is, we’re not enough. That as is, we’re not completely and utterly worthy of love and admiration and respect.
Which is complete bullshit. Of course we are.
But that’s the all too common shadow side of goal setting. It’s not ALWAYS there, but it’s definitely something we need to be conscious of.
Letting go of Perfectionism
I think Brené Brown says it best:
“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. All the ways perfectionism is holding me back. In my career. My relationships. My joy.
I’ve had a long standing addiction to perfectionism, and it’s something I’m looking to kick this year.
But I don’t have to do it perfectly.
Just like I don’t have to write EVERY day. Or practice yoga EVERY morning. Or have the perfect website or Insta feed or diet.
‘Cause perfect is too damn stressful. And I don’t want that for 2017. Or any year.
So this time round, my goals are looking a little different.
Deepen my yoga practice.
Create articles I’m proud of.
Feel strong and vibrant in my body.
Give my gifts to the world.
These goals still require me to work my butt off (literally. I really want to work on my glutes this year). And within each goal, I have measures and mini-goals I’m aspiring for.
Yes, doing yoga every morning is still something I aspire to. But it’s more a guideline than a goal. Skipping out on a morning practice to spend an extra hour in bed with my lover isn’t going to mean I fail at my goal. In fact, there’s a multitude of ways I can succeed at it, every single day.
That’s a goal that lights me up. That inspires me. That draws me forward and makes me a stronger, healthier, happier person in the process.
And THAT’S what I want for my 2017. In all areas of my life.
What this looks like for you will probably be completely different. Maybe super specific goals are the exact thing that lights you up and gets you going. Freakin’ awesome.
Just be sure that your goals FEEL GOOD to you. Not only when you set them, but as you DO them. As you occasionally fall short of them. And yes, as you fulfil them.
Don’t let your goals for 2017 be another way to beat yourself up.
Let them be a light that guides you forward. A daily opportunity to feel proud of yourself. A way to deepen your self-love, not diminish it.
So that no matter how 2017 turns out – whether you reach your goals or not – you still look back and know that you were enough.