How are the New Year resolutions going? Been to the gym as often as you would like (or promised yourself you would go)? Eating healthier - less chocolate bars, etc? Spending less time on social media? Putting in your best effort at work?, etc.
Whatever you have decided you would like to change in your life, at least for 2016, hopefully you are seeing some results so far. It can feel rewarding to set goals and then achieve them. Important question: What has the process been like in pursuit of your goals so far? Are you enjoying it, or hating every step, or some mix of the two extremes? It can be easier to maintain a goal if you enjoy, learn from or appreciate the experience along the way.
If you find that your progress is stalled, you can experiment with the Paradoxical Theory of Change: long-lasting, meaningful and unique (appropriate for you) change can only occur when you first accept yourself for who you are - right now. This does not entail a negative listing of all the things you hate about yourself or things you may think that you "do wrong". Nor does it entail listing why you are "so amazing", though you may be. Accepting yourself for "who you are" commences with a descriptive process that involves looking around and within yourself. Describe who you are in terms of the roles you undertake in life. Describe the relationships you have with people and your experience in the different interpersonal dynamics. Describe your feelings - not just the positive ones - that you commonly experience (example: anger, happiness, sadness, pride, jealousy, fear, shame, etc). Gather feedback from people that you know - sometimes we have attributes that we are not aware of and seeking feedback from our environment is helpful for increasing our awareness of how other people experience us. Honestly assess what your strengths and weaknesses are - without self-deprecating dialogue. Notice and appreciate your physiology and how you tend to it (example: do you breathe - and deeply?, do you drink water and eat properly?, do you exercise appropriately?, do you meditate or have thoughtful time to yourself? or other).
When we have a non-judgemental and factual description of ourselves, we can next consider the information carefully and with awareness we can decide how best to support ourselves in the changes that we seek, or more importantly, design change that best suits us. Often, with the information that we gather about ourselves, it becomes more clear on how to proceed. Additionally, the steps towards change or a goal feel more natural and easy. How often do we actually rebel or subconsciously sabotage when we feel forced to do something? Yet if we individually design our change based on our personal realities, the two phenomena are more likely to be congruent or in-line with one another. Change will occur with more enthusiasm, kindness, interest and longevity.
Blogging about mental health issues for personal and professional development. All material is authored by Cori Lambert unless explicitly stated otherwise. Authentic Consulting and Counselling is located in West Perth, Greater Perth Area.