It’s the start of a new year, typically a time when individuals are filled with the drive to start fresh. For many people, that means changing unhealthy habits and behaviors into healthier ones by making the decision to face pesky obstacles and challenges head-on.
But let’s be real. Rarely is life consistently full of sunshine and harmony, or butterflies and rainbows, making change more difficult. Obstacles and challenges are simply part of life, though we all feel challenged by different things. We may also navigate through obstacles and challenges in very different ways, but there are some things we can all do to help the process along.
We experience growth and change at our own pace, according to our own plan, based upon our unique traits or preferences. On the other hand, sometimes we need to stretch and push outside of our own comfort zone to tip-toe our way into change. Acceptance may be the stretch you need this year, which also means letting go of judgment and acknowledging “what is”.
I want you to think about focusing on acceptance as part of your plan for meeting your goals and making sustainable changes this year. Simply accepting life as it is can be a powerful way to build your self-efficacy and stay committed to your goals while reducing mental stress.
And with social media today, it is easy to slip into comparison mode, which can lead you down a slippery slope of emotions. Comparing rather than accepting can be the very thing that sets you back another few days, weeks, or months.
“We cannot change anything unless we choose to accept it”~ Carl Jung
If you are ready to try something a bit out of the ordinary as part of this fresh new year, start by practicing acceptance. If you need help with some strategies, here are some ideas to get you started with making this year unlike any other. Keep in mind that these tips aren’t about focusing on changing the external. Rather, focus on strengthening your internal process, accepting what is, and using that as your catalyst for change:
Embrace the New Normal: Acceptance doesn’t involve denying the way you are feeling. Instead, when uncomfortable emotions arise, sit with the emotion, and consider it to be normal for you to feel this way. This can actually be more difficult than it sounds, so don’t feel bad if you still find yourself wanting to distract from feeling those emotions. Just think of this as building your mindfulness muscle, which will get stronger over time.
Seek Support: While it can sometimes be helpful to spend some time in isolation and be alone with your thoughts, chances are that you will walk away from a conversation with a good friend or confidant feeling a whole lot better. And if your support system is small or nonexistent, the team of Metabolic Optimization Coaches here at Metabolic Living is here to help! The best coaches will always listen without judgment, meeting you where you are, accepting that we are all different while embracing everyone’s unique qualities that inspire consistent change.
Look Inside for Insight: Distance yourself from the day to day emotions that bubble up, and look at your life as an outside observer. It may be helpful to visualize your challenges and coping mechanisms as though you have the starring role in a movie. Whether you choose to use visualization or just look at yourself as an outside observer, describe in words what has been trapped in your mind as a thought (or scene) that keeps replaying. Journaling can help you to work through stuck thoughts and emotions.
Loosen Up the Reigns of Control: I once read that feelings can be full of energy and uncontrolled fear, thus they need to be treated like riding a wild horse. Once you can accept and tame the feelings, you can learn how to ride out your emotions. We all need to accept that there are some things in life that are simply outside of our control. Rather than fighting to be in control, accept “what is” in any given moment, and notice if acceptance helps you to move through periods of feeling stuck.
Create a Sense of Safety: Create a sacred space. Identify a spot that you can visit frequently and declare that as your spot to retreat to, in complete safety, when life starts to be a bit too overwhelming. Your space doesn’t need to be fancy but should allow for privacy. Creating a sense of safety allows you to open up and let support in. While that support may be offered up through a loved one or friend, or come from within through reading and learning, feeling safe is a critical part of the acceptance process.
I know you have the capability to rock this year and make it unlike any other by using acceptance as your catalyst for change. Comment below on which of these tips seem like something you might like to try to implement in your life right now, without delay. Or, if you have another tip to share, please leave a few words about what works for you because sharing is what helps to build community and support.