At the start of every New Year we sit down and make resolutions. This year, for the first time in many, many years, I didn’t. I didn’t get out the blank sheet of paper and the colored markers. I didn’t sit at my kitchen table and make this colorful list of things I wanted for myself and my life. Instead, I make internal commitments and promises to myself: to be intentional, to share love, to say ‘I can.’ Short. Simple. To the point. (And not written down.)
And for the first time in quite a number of years, I felt more empowered to follow these ‘resolutions’ because they were less concrete. They were more flexible. They didn’t feel like another to-do list (and I’m a person with manyyyy of those).
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are honestly things I miss—the satisfaction of crossing something off, the lack of colorful paper to add to my binder, the accountability factor of having a physical, tangible list—but at the same time, these resolutions have become my inner mantra.
I’m not just trying to reach a certain point, I’m trying to embody these lifestyle shifts every single day. It’s not only a change in habit but a change in perspective. It’s an openness to a new state of being, to a new sense of self.
And one of the biggest things for me is shifting the way I talk to myself. Instead of constantly comparing, and feeling as if I’m ‘less’ than someone else standing next to me, I’ve been honing in on what makes me unique. Instead of feeling inadequate because I haven’t accomplished a certain something, I’m praising the things I have done. Instead of looking at what I have left, I’m focusing on what I am on the brink of achieving.
I’m changing my “can’t” into an “I can.”
When you sit down and really take a look at your life, are you falling as short as you think you are? Are you really behind, or as much as of a failure as you convince yourself you are? Are you really the worst? Have you really gone so low there’s no coming back?
The truth is, we’re our hardest critics. And when we’re so focused on the laundry list of expectations we must rise to, the endless list of things we have yet to achieve, the “can’ts”—we’ll never grow into the people we have the potential of becoming.
If every thought is a self-deprecating one, we’ll never inspire ourselves to greatness, to success, to joy. We’ll always be looking at the way we’re not quite there, not measuring up, not the woman or man we want to be. And honestly, life’s too short for that.
Instead of measuring yourself up negatively, build upon your strengths. Hone in on what makes you unique, strong, special, passionate, fulfilled, and do those things without stressing about where you fit with others doing similar things. Say, “I can.”
If there’s something that makes you feel alive—pursue it—and stop worrying if you’re the best or the worst at whatever it is. Because honestly, that doesn’t matter.
What matters is you’re trying, you’re continuing, and you’re sharing your heart with the world.
There will always be someone ‘greater’ than you. Maybe they’ve started earlier, had more practice, were born with natural talents. Maybe you’re just beginning at something. Maybe you’re not as bad as you think. Maybe you’re well on your way to surpassing them. But not if you’re forever doubting yourself.
If you’re always measuring yourself up with frustration in mind, you. will. never. get. to. where. you. want. to. go.
Enough with the “cant’s,” with the “no’s,” with the doubts.
You are only as strong as you tell yourself to be—so speak empowerment. And get going.
Featured Image Credit: Brooke Winters