With the new year just getting started, many of us are focused on our goals, intentions, and resolutions for 2009. While this is a wonderful and exciting aspect of every new year, one of the most important things we can focus on this year is appreciating ourselves – first!
If you’re anything like me and most of the people I know and work with, you probably have a tendency to be hard on yourself, or at least to think you have to achieve your goals or do something “good” in order to pat yourself on the back and appreciate yourself. What if we started with self appreciation, instead of waiting until we think we deserved it or had time to do it?
When we take a deeper look at most of our goals or intentions, for 2009 or in general, what we’re really after is a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and, most importantly, self appreciation. We think that if we achieve our goals, we’ll be happy and feel good about ourselves. However, as you may have noticed throughout your life – not only is this not true, it creates a great deal of stress for us in the process.
While I am a big advocate of creating healthy, empowering, and bold goals this new year and in our lives as we grow and evolve, what we have to remember is that without appreciating ourselves our goals are meaningless. And, when we do take the time to appreciate ourselves – regardless of what’s happening on the outside – three incredible things happen. First of all, we put ourselves in the best possible position for the fulfillment of our goals. Second, we give ourselves first what we’re going after ultimately – a positive sense of who we are and what’s valuable about us, right now. And third, we make ourselves available in a genuine way to be there for others and appreciate the people around us.
Here are a few suggestions for ways you can take care of yourself and appreciate who you are as we move into this new year.
- Create a regular self appreciation practice. Write in a journal, talk to a friend, meditate/pray, or do anything else that speaks to you with a specific focus on what you appreciate about yourself. Do this as often as possible – make it habit.
- Schedule time for yourself. Regardless of how busy you are, how many people depend on you, and all the things you think “need” to get done – one of the most important things you can do to honor and appreciate yourself, is to take time just for you. It doesn’t matter what you do – read, take a bath, go for a walk, sit, participate in an activity you love, or anything else (as long as it is enjoyable to you and makes you feel good). The most important thing is for you to take time for just you.
- Ask for support. One of the best ways we can honor and appreciate ourselves is to reach out and ask other people for support. For many of us, this can be scary and difficult. However, when we do it we allow others to be of service (which most people love), we remind ourselves that we are worthy of people’s support, and we remember that we are not alone. One of my favorite sayings is, “the answer is always ‘no’ if we don’t ask.”
I wish you the very best as you step into this new year. What a wonderful opportunity we each have to create 2009 to be a fun, growth-filled, exciting, and rewarding new year. If we put appreciating ourselves at the top of our list of intentions, we’ll set ourselves up for true success and real fulfillment.