You know your usual litany of New Year’s resolutions: “This year I’m gonna lose 5 – 10 -50 pounds. This year I swear I’ll get to the gym at least twice a week. This year I absolutely positively will not spend past my credit limit. This year I swear I’ll never have another ginger Martini (given the consequences of your last bout with said delectable beverage).
It’s your standard January 1 list most years – and it’s a great list!
But how about if instead of – or in addition to - your “weight loss-money woes-nasty habits” list, you considered a different kind of New Year’s resolution.
What if, on January 1, you declared: “This year I am going to talk nice to myself!”
Weird, huh. Talk nice to yourself. It’s definitely something worth looking at. Because how you talk to yourself is a major part of what gets you moving towards – or against – those things you want in your life. And most of us talk mean to ourselves most of the time.
Oh, sure, you may have your occasional moment of “I’m the greatest,” but ten to one, your conversation inside your head goes mostly like this: “How could I have been so stupid? That’ll never work. I’m an idiot. Can’t believe I overslept like that! I messed up again. I’ll never get that promotion. Why can’t I be like so-and-so, get my act together? He/she always gets things right the first time. I never get it right the first time. Or the second or third, or – oh, what’s the use! I’ll never amount to much of anything. My hair looks terrible, today of all days! I’m too fat/thin/old/young, they’re gonna hate me. I can’t pull this off, whatever made me think I could?”
Need I go on? You wouldn’t dream of lambasting your best friend with such a demeaning tirade. Why are you doing it to yourself?
Criticizing yourself is hurtful. Plus, it prevents you from achieving whatever it is that you want – from an enjoyable first date to nailing that corner office. People who succeed in life have confidence in themselves, in their abilities, and most often – they actually like themselves. They talk themselves up, not down.
Talking yourself up doesn’t mean you have to turn into some obnoxious arrogant person singing the song of incredible me-me-me: “I’m great, you’re lower than dirt. I’m the best, I’m fabulous, you’re barely good enough to trail in my shadow.” Yuck.
Talking yourself up means cutting yourself some slack. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. So instead of “How could I have been so stupid? That’ll never work” you say to yourself, “Wow, that didn’t come out the way I thought it would. OK, I think I’ll try something else. I can probably come up with something that’ll work.” Or “I’ll never amount to anything” becomes “I’m on the path. I’m taking steps to get where I want to go. Anyone who’s a success now has at some point been where I am. It’s OK. I’m doing just fine.”
Got it? Great. Happy New Year!