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Aspirations vs. Resolutions – You Can’t Hate Yourself Into Self-Love

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Aspiration: a hope or ambition of achieving something.

These words have a very different feel, don’t they?

A resolution feels rigid, black and white. An aspiration feel motivational, inspiring, and open-ended. Aspirations have to do with forward momentum on the path of life, something we are growing or evolving into. But we resolve to never do something again, or to do something completely different. However, growth and evolution are not linear. It’s a winding path of success, failures, and everything in between, which all contribute to our lives, and who we are today, in various ways.

As a culture, we air towards black and white thinking, and every new year’s, we write down, post on social media, or vision board our list of New Year’s Resolutions. However: Studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.

Those statistics say it all. Why are resolutions a setup for failure?

Partly because:

Resolutions are like goals. The trouble is that goals – which have been pushed down our necks by the self-help industry for at least the last 20 years – rarely work.

The problem is that as soon as you set yourself a goal you’re saying to yourself that you want more in your life than you have right now. The very nature of goals make you look forwards at what’s next, never at what you’ve got right now.

Goals introduce a gap between where you are and where you’d like to be, which instantly makes part of where you are right now a place you don’t want to be – and this is how the very nature of having goals can hurt your self-confidence and self-esteem.

One of our favorite quotes here at SIM is “you can’t hate yourself into self-love.” We often feel that if we are hard and strict with ourselves, we will change into the person we want to be. When we are pushing ourselves towards a goal, the underlying message is “who we are now is not enough.” But wherever we go, there we are. Rather than looking at what we are missing, what’s wrong with us and our lifestyle, we can switch resolving into aspiring. We can aspire towards more happiness and compassion for ourselves, we can even aspire to workout or sleep more, and aspiring gives us the space to move towards what we desire, without throwing out and rejecting what’s here now.

Resolutions often fail, because if we do not follow through 100% on our proclamation, such as never eating sugar again, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and rejection. However, if we aspire to eat less sugar, there is more space to succeed, and falter, and try again. Aspiring to do something that is for our benefit, is a love note to ourselves, a wish to find greater wellbeing. And if we splurge one evening on a huge dessert, then we can laugh it off and move forward with the aspiration to eat less sugar the next day. However, if we resolve to not eat sugar, then we have just broken our resolution. And we are back into the cycle of trying to “hate ourselves into self-love.” Or put another way, “perfectionism leads to paralysis.”

In 2020, we invite you to aspire towards loving yourself as you are, towards enjoying the life you have, in the body you have, as you are. And those aspirations may include putting new habits, choices, and wishes for yourself into play. May we all aspire to enjoy who we are and what we have, as we are, and to keep growing and evolving into who we will become.

At the Strength in Motion wellness community, we believe in a mind-body-soul approach towards finding and sustaining balance. We feel honored to be on your path in some way and are here to support you in living to your greatest potential. Click here to find out more information about who we are and how we may be a support to you.

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