Meet Yourself Where You are in 2018

by | January 4, 2018 | Articles, Mental health, wellness + thriving

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. Can you relate to this? 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.

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 a very intelligent yet simple, 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 do you choose to be 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, 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 over come them in 2018!

About the Author

Dr. Bojana (Boy•ana) Jankovic Weatherly is an award winning board certified internal medicine physician. As part of her mission to deliver accessible, evidence- based health and wellness information, she created this website, featuring her videos, articles and recipes.

3 Comments

  1. Anna

    Dear doctor,
    2018 began full of new intentions like every year, my great desire to look forward, to look for my place and my happiness, there are always, but now for years I carry with me a baggage of negativity and sad things. I would like to be able to tell you my story, but I am a little afraid to do it in public through a comment, but, if you give me your approval, I would like to tell you my path of life where it has brought me so far, going through pain, illness and the desire to disappear forever. This does not mean that my life was just pain, I also had some beautiful and fantastic moments. Beautiful things are all around and within us, we just have the strength to see them and recognize them, I know. I am a person used to looking a lot inside herself, I am hard with me sometimes too much according to those who know me. I often question myself and, despite my difficult condition, I always try to dream big. In fact this year I would like to take a trip, I would like to go to America that is my dream, publish a book that I’m writing and find my happiness, because without that, I think nothing is really possible. I know, to many my dreams seem silly and unattainable, but the beauty of dreaming is just that.Excuse me if I went a little out of , but I’m happy to have been able to tell you what my dream is.
    And I hope one day, you will want to hear my story.
    A sincere hug.

    Reply
  2. Lindsay S

    Hi, Dr. Bojana

    I have been reading through your website, and was there just out of curiosity when I stumbled across your resume, which says you are a UBC grad, like me. I guess that piqued my interest a bit, in that I was on your site looking for anything you might know or say about autoimmune disorders. I was diagnosed with a rare disorder called Transverse Myelitis (TM) last June (2017), and I’m still learning how to cope with it. I was very lucky, in that my condition could be much worse than it is, (as many people are permanently disabled by TM, but I am okay), yet I still get stressed, worrying that I will either relapse, or gain new, worse symptoms. I also have a lot of other stress in my life, with my father being ill with a neurological disease (MSA), and the other everyday stresses of being a mother and high school teacher. Not many physicians out there know much about TM, so I am currently being tracked/watched by the UBC MS Clinic, MS specialists seem to be the only doctors who know much about TM. I think the main thing I really need to do is become better with self-care, like learning how to meditate or do yoga, but it is hard to do with a 3 year-old and 7 year-old who are, understandably, always wanting mom’s attention! Do you have any advice or good websites I could check out, either about autoimmunity, Transverse Myelitis, or self care? I would really appreciate anything you have to offer.

    Thanks very much!
    Lindsay S. – North Vancouver, BC

    Reply
    • Bojana Jankovic

      Hi Lindsay,

      Thank you for your message and for sharing your story. I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. It sounds as though you are going through some major challenges, but are motivated to move forward in a healthy, positive way. When it comes to balancing self-care and kids (as well as work, etc), it’s challenging! I try to find opportunities to engage my kids in various self-care, fun activities and in laughter. It may mean making up a song, watching them do a “dance performance”, or simply doing some stretches or a few yoga-ish poses at home. My almost 6 year old daughter does meditation at school, and the other day she led a mini-session for us at home. Another important aspect of self-care for me is getting enough sleep whenever I can. I try to go to bed at the same time as my kids whenever possible. Getting a good night of sleep does wonders for the body and mind.

      I do not know very much about good resources for TM, but did come across this website: https://myelitis.org, which I am sure you are already familiar with. They do seem to have some wonderful resources.

      I wish you all the best in your journey and admire your strength and openness.
      Dr. Bojana

      Reply

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