Sarah Doyle is a life coach and a self-help expert. This January she is guiding us towards a more confident, comfortable version of ourselves.
I am a life coach and a self-help expert. My business is called The Better Life Project. Amongst other things, my job is to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
But I don’t want you set any New Year Resolutions this year before you read this article. Maybe even at all.
At this time of the year I find myself feeling slightly guilty and very intimately aware of the pressure so many people feel to set goals. Some people feel they need to punish themselves in the New Year, for not being skinny enough, fit enough, kind enough, perfect enough... or just enough in general.
As a society we are obsessed with self-improvement and New Year culture makes us feel that we have to set goals to change who we are before we can feel happy. Whilst it is always great to strive to be a better person (ahem, it is the name of business after all), you shouldn’t start from the basis that who you are isn’t good enough. The self-help industry that I am a part of wants you to believe that you are not enough and that by changing, developing and helping yourself, things can and will get better. Yet the truth to our better life would send the self-help industry to its knees.
What would you say if I told you that you have always been enough? That you, in your rawness, realness and imperfect ways have the potential to achieve everything your body, mind and should craves. Confidence, self-esteem, happiness and success is yours for the taking and all you have to do is to accept yourself first.
This New Year I challenge you to create a different type of resolution. Instead of setting an intention to better, change, increase, lose, plan, quit, do more or do less I would like you to make a firm decision that you will try to accept yourself, just the way you are. You might be wondering how this is even possible. Surely trying to change your flaws and perceived inadequacies is better than accepting them. You might even be thinking if you actually accept yourself now you’ll never achieve your goals. Maybe you believe that accepting yourself makes you a failure or a quitter. But it doesn’t, I promise.
Self-acceptance is needed before you can make any lasting or meaningful change in your life. To accept yourself means to embrace the good and the bad. Setting a resolution to accept yourself (dare I say, love yourself?) might be the answer you have searching for, and here is why. In order to create meaningful and lasting positive change in your life, you have to accept yourself and love yourself for who you are. By making the best of the gifts you’ve been given, recognising your flaws and celebrating your strengths you are ensuring that whatever is motivating you is coming from a positive and loving place.
Nothing is more exhausting than fighting who we are, resisting ourselves and trying to bury the parts that we don’t like behind expensive clothes, fancy makeup, surgery or pretending to be something we are not.
“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Be imperfect and have compassion for yourself” Brene Brown
Here are two questions to ask yourself instead of setting New Year Resolutions, to begin your journey of self-acceptance.
1. How would your life be different if you stopped fighting who you are, and embraced who you are instead?
2. During your lifetime, how much time have you spent trying to change who you are? What could you do with this time, energy, money and resources instead?
I understand how tempting it can be to use the New Years as motive to create lofty goals
and powerful intentions that you hope will transform your life. New Year is a symbolic time and for so many of us it represents a fresh start, a new chapter, a clean slate...
However, true and meaningful change will happen when you let go of you think you should be. Let go of the fear, the doubt, the insecurity. Put away the mask and begin a journey of self-acceptance that I know will profoundly alter your life. Your unique combination of strengths, flaws, wisdom, knowledge and experiences makes you, YOU!
And you have always been enough.
Find Sarah Doyle at thebetterlifeproject.ie