Happy 2018! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and had a fantastic start to the New Year. Whether you spent time with your loved ones, went on an adventure, attended to self-care and reflection, or spent time dedicated to your purpose (professional, personal or any other kind), I hope you had some well deserved rest, got inspired and motivated to thrive in 2018! And if not, that’s 100% normal and I’m here for you!
Now that the New Year is here, many of us may have made resolutions, or feel pressured to have resolutions. I’d like to challenge this belief as I don’t think it’s the most effective. How many people that you know have truly stuck with their resolutions long term? Do we have to force a goal just because it’s New Year and everybody is doing it? Can we instead lean back, reflect and consider where we are at? To find out why I don’t have a New Year’s resolution, see my article here.
As a physician who focuses on optimizing the health of my patients and empowering people to make healthy choices, I spend a great deal of time thinking about how to best support my patients, how to help them achieve their goals, and transition to healthier lifestyle habits. One important element in doing so is meeting people where they are. Without this, we can be prone to unintentionally judging and failing to support people on their journeys. If we wish for someone to be at point B, but they are at point A, we are not making an effort to meet their current needs and understand their situation. E.g., if I told my patient with diabetes that he simply has to cut out all sweets, and he is struggling with cravings, this is never going to happen until we discuss where he is at and gain a better understanding of his habits, why they are there, how he feels and what his health goals are.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized that although we can often manage to meet other people where they are and support them, we often have a hard time meeting ourselves where we are. If you have unrealistic expectations of yourself, are hard on yourself when you don’t complete a task (at work or in personal life) as you intended, or don’t achieve desired results, you are likely not meeting yourself where you are in those moments.
You might ask, “Does meeting myself where I’m at automatically lower my ambition and drive?” Absolutely not. I believe that it actually helps us be more honest with ourselves, with our situation, and allows us to be authentic and accept ourselves in the present moment. All of these elements are precursors to a deeper understanding of our situation, ourselves in this moment in time, our triggers, and how we respond to and cope with our environment in a thoughtful manner. Once this understanding is deepened and we are honest with ourselves about our wishes, current priorities, goals and abilities, we can build a map towards our intentions, goals and plans. We can do so step by step, with understanding, pragmatism and drive.
One book that I recently read, Who Moved my Cheese, presents two ways to cope with change. One is a maladaptive way to deal with change, and the other an intelligent, intuitive, and efficient way to anticipate, cope with and adapt to change. The main differences between the two ways is that the latter involves being in the now, observing, not judging nor dwelling on the situation, while the former involves ruminating, judging, second guessing and being fearful. Which one would you choose and are you wiling to meet yourself wherever you are now, take yourself by the hand and walk over to the place you wish to be?
New Year, new goals and natural life transitions are bound to bring about anticipated and unanticipated change. I invite you to think about whether you are meeting yourself where you are as you are dealing with change, challenge and goals. For more effective tips to deal with change, you can check out my article on thriving during transitions here.
I would love to hear from you and invite you to share your goals, anticipated challenges and how you plan to overcome them in 2018!
I wish you a Happy + Healthy New Year full of love, energy, peace, clarity and purpose!