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New Year, New You?

curiosity failure high-achievers negative emotions negative thoughts perfectionism Jan 07, 2023
White Petaled Flower by Larisa Koshkina

Long-time readers know that I have concerns about New Year’s mentality. The idea of resolutions sounds great. What are my new goals for the year? What habits do I want to change?

However, for those of who are high-achievers this is commonly a trigger for perfectionist thinking that sets us up for failure.

“This year, I will stop eating sugar for good and lose the weight.”

“This year, I will exercise every day.”

This year, I will read for 1 hour every day.”

See a pattern here?

So often, when we get into a new year, a new month, a new job, a new week, or even a new day, we can tend to have magical thinking about what will happen. Rather than the organic work of building a new habit, we believe that today and everyday we will simply do (or not do) the new thing. We ignore the interruptions, the mistakes, the “I forgots,” the “my child is sick,” the “I don’t want tos!” We look back at times in the past when we didn’t meet the goal as times that we were weak, lazy or undisciplined. We don’t see these past failures as common to the human condition, and we don’t recognize that our thoughts and emotions have a huge role in what we do and don’t accomplish.

And then what happens? We might start off well-enough, but for many of us, especially those with well-worn perfectionist ruts, we start relying on white-knuckling, coercion and mean self-talk. And eventually, when these things start to fail, and make us feel terrible, we stop.

Certainly, this is not the experience of all resolutions, but for so many of my patients and clients this is a common experience. And for many years, it was my experience as well.

So let’s not keep repeating what doesn’t work, and especially something that relies on self-bullying and coercion along the way. That is not the path to effective change.

Instead, what if you chose to get curious. 

“What do I want to try first?”

“I wonder how I can make this change?”

“What’s one small piece of this goal that I’m ready to start working on?”

Notice how here there is curiosity, and exploration, and even a bit of a beginner's mindset. There aren’t absolutes, or self-blame for past failures. Simply a question to yourself, and an invitation to try. 

And wouldn’t you rather invite yourself to try something new, rather than bully yourself? I know I would!

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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