Why I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! I bet you're sick of hearing that by now. And chances are, 75 percent of you have already “failed” in keeping your new year's resolutions. Or, you might be in that other 25 percent that has given up on making your annual resolutions altogether. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little...there might be 10-15 percent of you who are still on track for 2011...but let's just see come February 1st.

In my opinion, New Year's resolutions set us up for failure. They give us reasons to be hard on ourselves after a fun, festive time of year. They're a broad, social example what Gay Hendricks refers to as an Upper Limit Problem: after experiencing a lot of good feelings, we subconsciously find ways to sabotage those good feelings in order to bring us back down to a normal-feeling level, a place where we feel more comfortable.

But just because I don't make resolutions doesn't mean I haven't set intentions for the new year. I've set a lot of intentions, and one of them is to be really, really gentle with myself. Transition and growth takes time and perseverance. Lasting change requires a balance of self-discipline (a.k.a. “tough love”) and self-nurturing (“tender love”).

What I see in most people I work with is a lot of tough love, and not a lot of tender love when it comes to his or herself. So I thought I would share the following tips to help you grow more tender, nurturing self-love in 2011.

  1. Think of yourself as a child who needs gentle, motherly love from your adult self. Let your inner child play and have fun. Practice loving patience and gentleness when dealing with your inner child.
  2. Remember that lasting change takes practice. How often do we succeed at things on our first attempt? Give yourself room to make mistakes, learn, and grow from them.
  3. Let go of the past. So you sabotaged your diet by eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's. What's done is done, and tomorrow is a new day to start fresh. However...
  4. Don't mistake gentleness for nonchalance. When your inner child acts out by doing something it knows it shouldn't, it will require some loving self-discipline!

Here's to your best year yet in 2011—with or without the resolutions!

For those of you who are looking to integrate yoga into your life in 2011, check out my Intro to Yoga Class or try a Breath Circle. I always welcome your yoga questions and comments at [email protected].

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