Reflection: The only New Year’s resolution you need to make this year — be kind to yourself

Rasharra Smith PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Rasharra Smith PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Rasharra Smith PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Rasharra Smith PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Rasharra Smith PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Is it that time again already? To examine the mistakes we have made in the past and evaluate how to be better in the upcoming year? Our annual list of broken promises we make to ourselves that leaves us feeling guilty, rather than fulfilled?

New Year’s resolutions are meant to motivate us and bring us hope for positive change and growth. However, we often set goals for the year that soon begin to disseminate with time.

The further into the year we go without accomplishing a goal we have set for ourselves, the more we feel discouraged and hopeless.

My suggestion: We only need one New Year’s Resolution this year — to be more kind to ourselves.

This year, we must focus on our mental health, as well as our physical health.

While we take mental notes of the things we want to change about ourselves, let us also appreciate who we already are: Women. A rock — strong and resilient. Carrying the world on our backs. Blessed to withstand pain, often cursed to carry others.

Each year brings us more trials and tribulations. Moving forward, give yourself grace. I have understood that life is hard sometimes and plans change. Resolutions fade, and that is OK. We continue to do the best we can.

Let us release the pressure we have put on ourselves to be perfect, to make tremendous changes to our lives in any given amount of time. Do not rush it. Focus on what you can do day to day.

The best part about goals is that they are personal. You change for you and take care of yourself. When you feel like you have dropped the ball on your New Year’s resolutions, pick it back up. Who said we had to wait until January to decide to change? We can make changes in April, July or October. Whenever it works for you.

We exhaust ourselves by falling into a toxic pattern. We pledge, we fail, we get discouraged and give up and, in the end, we stay the same.

New year, same resolutions, same me? We can do it differently this time. We can set smaller goals and shorter milestones. We can believe in ourselves because we have been through so much already, and we stand. We remind ourselves that if at first we do not succeed, we try again.

We carry heavy loads. Give yourself permission to sit it down when you need to rest, and pick it back up when you find your strength.

It is a new year. Let that mean new blessings, new accomplishments, new hope and new development.

Rasharra Smith is a student and writer at the University of Dubuque.

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