The Most Important New Year’s Resolution

Like a lot of people, I usually start the new year with the intention to better myself in some way — lose weight, exercise more, eat better, read Dante in the original language*, etc. This year I’m taking a different approach.

My new year’s resolution is to practice self-compassion. Kristin Neff has been studying (and promoting) self-compassion for several years. Her TED talk is a good place to start if you want to learn more about it. In a nutshell, self-compassion is about offering kindness to yourself– the same kindness that you would extend to someone you love. If someone you love made a mistake, would you say “That was a really dumb thing to do! How could you be so careless?” Nope. You’d say, “I see that you made a mistake but that’s okay. You’ll do better next time.” So the next time you make a mistake, instead of saying mean things to yourself, treat yourself kindly.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

But just in case it isn’t, I am sharing my list of ways to cheer up, from my journal:

list

Note: If you are unfamiliar with this song, Andy Williams’ version is the one you always hear. Sometimes I just don’t feel that giddy Christmas exhilaration he evokes, but more of a freewheeling I’m-so-not-ready-for-Christmas anxiety. Hence the list.