If you’re already kicking yourself for not returning to the gym or starting to sock money away as faithfully as you swore you would in the waning days of 2015, you’re not alone. Take a step back from all the “shoulds” and focus on one word for the year: Acceptance.
Acceptance. Just..seeing the word feels so freeing! Such an important part of well-being, yet something we struggle to find in our quest to constantly be better, stronger, faster, and generally just more productive.
The problem is that we so often become focused on our goals that we lose sight of the present. We tell ourselves that we’ll begin to really enjoy life once we reach that goal, whatever it is. It’s as if something magical is supposed to happen when we hit that sweet spot with our weight, our finances, our marriages, our careers when everything will be so ordered that we’ll simply smile the day away in blissful contentment.
That’s never happened for anyone. Ever.
The reason for this is that once we reach a goal, most of us begin looking to the next thing. We become so used to striving that we really don’t know how to be without that little bit of hunger that keeps us on the move. Alternatively, we become absorbed in worrying over maintaining what we achieved (weight goals are like this). We fret about the future and what it will take to maintain our present status.
The problem is that we become so goal-focused, or focused on trying not to lose what we gained, that we fail to appreciate what is now, what is present in our lives. What’s more, when we fail at goals (and occasional failure is inevitable for even the most awesome among us), we do this bit where we spiral into shame. This leads nowhere that’s good, and can even result in self-sabotage.
So perhaps a new way to approach goals is to accept ourselves and our circumstances fully before attempting to create change. To start this, just start accepting the things that work well enough in life. Then, take it a step further and accept the things that are harder. Keep moving. Maybe try writing something out like this:
I am enough…
If I never lose another pound,
get another promotion,
or am as witty, interesting, or glamorous as I wanted to be,
I am enough.
If I never learn more than a few words of French/Spanish/Mandarin,
or meet the person I always thought would be my ‘Mr. Right,’
I am enough.
If I never write a single book,
hike the Appalachian Trail,
or look and feel graceful while doing yoga,
I am enough.
Because no action I take will ever define me. What defines me is who I already am. I’ll set goals. Many, I’ll achieve, Others, I won’t. No matter what, I won’t lose focus on the one enduring piece in this.
I have me.
And I am enough.
See how easy a Friday evening affirmation is? Try your own and let me know what you think.