As we arrive in a brand new year, many of you are thinking about resolutions.
For me, the space at the end of a year holds an exciting energy and expectancy about the limitless possibilities of the year ahead.
A brand new start! Anything is possible.
But so often, resolutions leave us feeling overwhelmed by their rules and limitations, and like failures if we don’t check them off our lists.
Practices and rituals
A practice is the application of an idea, belief, or method.
A ritual, according to best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, “is a habit charged with transcendent meaning.”
I say, ditch resolutions and instead adopt practices and rituals that are rooted in self-love.
This way, not only is it impossible to “fail” but certain that we’ll feel good on the journey toward our dreams.
When we adopt practices and rituals that are rooted in self-love, we’ll be both living our dreams while we reach for them.
Three vital practices
I believe that self-love is the convergence of three vital practices:
I don’t think I’m alone in the struggle to observe and honour the needs of my mind, body and spirit.
This struggle has fascinated and infuriated me for years.
Why, when we all just want to be happy, do we neglect or even sabotage our own best interests?
In my case, the tides began to turn when I committed to becoming mindful of my actions and conscious of their impacts.
That’s it. I just shifted my mindset, got curious about my habits, and essentially pulled my head out of the sand.
(Newsflash: processed foods, sedentary behaviour and saying yes to unsuitable obligations don’t make you feel good.)
I decided to listen to my inner wisdom, and it said things like, “eat more vegetables” and “drink more water” and “get up and move around more” and “take time to be still every day.”
I can tell you from personal experience that it’s perilous to neglect your mind, body and spirit – and that layers of magic unfold when you respect every part of your being.
When you prioritize self-nurturing rituals, you fill your cup so full that it overflows into others'.
When you prioritize self-nurturing rituals, you’re not only your best, you inspire others to be their best.
You give them permission to honour their own mind, body and spirit.
This gift – being the best version of ourselves – couldn’t be further from selfish, but we often use that, or the G-word (guilt), as an excuse.
Jada Pinkett-Smith really nails it in this video, below, where she tells her daughter Willow, "You always have to remember to take care of YOU, first and foremost."
Self-nurturing ritual: create and practice stress management, exercise and nutrition* rituals that honour your mind, body and spirit.
*Read more about the Trifecta of Wellness (stress management, exercise and nutrition) HERE.
Words matter. Whether we think them, speak them, or write them, the words we use to describe our experience of the world matter.
And we reserve some of the most vicious words in our vocabulary for ourselves.
“Whenever you notice self-attack set in, simply say, ‘I forgive myself and I release this thought,’” says spiritual guru Gabrielle Bernstein. “Use this practice whenever you need it to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself.”
Practicing self-forgiveness is the most freeing, gentle, and transformative way to live.
Transform your disappointment into discovery. Get curious about how you can learn and grow from whatever it is you need to forgive.
Forgive, learn, and grow.
Self-forgiveness ritual: develop the practice of immediately forgiving yourself the millisecond a nasty thought creeps in, and shift your reaction to a growth mindset.
“When you make an agreement and you don’t keep it, you undermine your own self-trust,” says productivity consultant David Allen.
The opposite is true, too. When you honour an agreement, you build confidence and self-trust.
My mother loves to remind me (and I welcome the reminder) of my early childhood motto: “That’s impossible – I can do that!”
That motto is now the banner on my vision board, posted on the corkboard in my office.
Any time I doubt my ability to handle a situation – whether it’s a professional project, a commitment to healthy eating, or a (safe) physical challenge – I invoke my childhood motto as my mantra.
With practice, my unconscious belief in response to the fear of such situations, has become: I can do that!