Accept Yourself Now

It’s not even one full week into the New Year and already several people have abandoned their resolutions. The statistics on New Year’s resolutions are bleak. Over 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. In order to avoid this, some people don’t make any resolutions at all. I’m a huge fan of New Year’s and the accompanying resolutions. I love the chance to look back on the previous year and see what I was able to accomplish and look ahead to a clear calendar and figure out where I want to be in a year. Spending a week in Hawaii with my family made me realize not everyone is like me. When asked where he wants to be in aย year, my brother-in-lawย responded: “I have plans for in 5 years and 10 years, but 1 year is hard to define.” My sister said: “Oh no. Is this about hopes and dreams? I hate talking about those!” And my dad and husband said “I don’t know!”

I have never set a goal to lose weight. But I have been guilty of the other two most popular resolutions: save more money and get organized. As you know, goals and dreams need to be specific. And that’s one of the many things listed in the many articles and blog posts about why your resolutions fail. But more than that, I think it all comes down to one main problem: not knowing and accepting where you are now.

Step one to any good goal is taking a good look at what baseline is and finding peace with that. Dissatisfaction can be a good catalyst for change, but it can also lead to unreasonable expectations and a general malaise about life. This is no way to live. Your first goal should be to find joy in your baseline and then work toward changes you would like to see.

Let’s look at the three most common resolutions and how understanding baseline could change everything:

Losing Weight – The times I have weighed the least, I have been sick and weak. I looked great and got lots of compliments telling me so. But that was not a sustainable baseline. In my life, when I feel the best and the strongest, my baseline weight is 15-20 pounds higher than those times I’ve been sick. And no one compliments me on baseline. If I set a goal to lose weight to reach that lowest point, I wouldn’t feel good and if I managed to hit that target, I wouldn’t be able to to sustain it. Healthy weight is different for everyone and while tracking pounds may help you track a larger goal of health, it shouldn’t be the focus. Find joy in your body as it is right now. What are you proud of? What hard things have you done? Then examine what you would like to be able to do that you currently can’t. My goal last year was to be able to dipnet even if I had a cold (which takes some major lifting!). Luckily I didn’t have a cold when it was time to dipnet (because if I had, I probably wouldn’t have made it!).

Get Organized – As I’ve mentioned before, this is a big goal of ours in 2016. In preparation, I’ve read several resources on purging and organizing. But our little home life is at a good place. I’m happy with the abundance we have. Getting organized for us means purging the things that don’t align with our priorities. Some resources advocate for getting rid of all books and going digital. That won’t be happening in our house. One of our priorities as parents is to introduce the magic of reading to our children. That priority is manifest in the abundance of children’s and youth literature we keep on our shelves. We do take several trips to the library each month as well, but my kids can pick from the books we enjoy that we keep on our shelves and discover them at their own pace. Most resources also don’t talk about having three children either. It would be a lot easier to just get rid of everything if it were just up to Mr. T and I. Instead, we have five competing voices in our home. The outcome of our purging and organizing will not be a magazine-worthy home. If those were my expectations, I would live a life of frustration with everyone in my home. But ultimately, those people with whom I share my home are more important than stuff vs. no stuff. We can do better, but we will never achieve a state of minimalism. And that’s okay.

Save More Money – If you are not aware of where you stand financially, you’ll tell yourself that you’ll save more money when more money comes. Or you’ll set target numbers without taking your full spending into account. Finding peace in your current financial situation is also important. If you face a burden of debt, blaming yourself doesn’t help. Sure, you may have gotten yourself into this situation, but it’s time to absolve yourself so you can start focusing on the solution. There are a million woulda coulda shouldas with finances. But focusing on what you could have done or where you could have been is not helpful. It is also unhelpful to set goals or wishes based on “making more money.” Where are you now? What are you proud of? What things have you done right? Once you can find a glimpse of joy in your financial situation, you can set some goals that are attainable for you in your current situation.

May 2016 find you content with where you really are now with a focus on specific, attainable changes from that baseline.ย 

Accept Yourself Now

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23 Comments

  1. I can’t even tell you how much I hear you with the organization thing. We did a really good job of decluttering our downstairs late last year. We donated and tossed hundreds of items. But my closet…oh my closet. It’s such a slow process. Marie Kondo is tut-tuting and shaking her head.

    • MaggieBanks

      She will never approve of our great efforts when we finish, I’m certain of it! But I’m hoping to at least take a giant step in the right direction!

  2. That comment about โ€œI have plans for 5-10 years, but 1 year is hard” is painfully true for a lot of people I know. I hear some friends spout off about their dreams endlessly (“someday I’ll open a pizza restaurant” or “someday I’ll live in Europe”), but then they take no actions in the short-term to advance toward those goals.

    • MaggieBanks

      I think my husband is guilty of this. But he’s also guilty of being an eternal realist. I make big dreams and take the steps to get us there. Along the way, he solidifies what his actual dreams are. Some people can’t see past the cubicle walls. Or they can… they just don’t see a way to get out of them.

  3. Des

    This is like the biggest warm hug everyone who is struggling with goals right now needed in their life – thank you Maggie! I totally agree that it is a perfect first step, and I especially love your weight advice there, because it so resonates with me. I also weigh more at my “happy weight” than my “compliment weight”, and it’s a wonderful way to think about it – and appreciate all of the joy that I have in my life that accompanies my “happy weight.”

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m always very careful about complimenting people on weight. I usually ask how they’ve been feeling first. If they’re sick, they’ll tell me, or at least hint at it. If they’ve actually worked hard to lose the weight, they think it’s funny I thought they were sick and I tell them they look great. I like that method way better than when people told me I looked great and I was throwing up every 30 minutes (pregnancy is a bear sometimes).

      • I agree — the weight thing is so tough. I lost a bunch of weight when I was in my 20s, and the compliments, while nice in a way, also made me feel bad because it seemed like people must have thought I looked really bad before… :/ Also a lot of people (women) seemed to want to use it as an excuse to complain and commiserate about dieting, which I found rather irritating. Because of that, I never ever comment on anyone’s weight. I feel like it’s their own business.

        I definitely agree that New Years is a great time to set specific goals. It’s really just an arbitrary day in the middle of winter, in a way, but somehow I get a psychological boost from knowing that lots of people are starting fresh together. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Also, hahaha, A FEW people have abandoned their resolutions already. Love it. (I feel like it might be more than a few…)

        • Oops, I meant SEVERAL. You know what I meant. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • MaggieBanks

            I got it! ๐Ÿ™‚ And that’s probably true. Hilarious because I haven’t even finished hammering all mine out yet! In progress…

  4. I have no big resolutions for this year. Just general and long term and good sense one: to eat healthful (the gardening, and the menu planning is already in our life, just a little more effort), to do more sport, to finish with the buying house , to visit south of France etc.
    What I selected for this year is a word: creation (handmade, garden, house, etc), and I am following the word from last year: love – I hope this will be for all the years.

    I love a friend, she is writing a plan for the year:
    -week 1 to declutter the clothes, week 2 for declutter books etc.
    -she collected some books and to read a half
    -she cut some bills and no more cosmetics and she did an automatically rule to move the money in an account, in order to go to visit I don’t remember what country

    etc

    • MaggieBanks

      It sounds like your friend read the very same Japanese decluttering book that I did! We start with clothes next week! And picking a word for the year is AWESOME. “Creation” is one we would pick for sure as well. What inspiration! Thank you!

  5. I found that decluttering is an ongoing process. I have cleaned up a lot of stuff over the last year, but it continues. I still prefer a physical book to a digital copy, even if it does take up more space. Here’s to making 2016 a great year!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks for your experience, Brian. I am hoping to do one big purge and get everyone on board. I’m hoping to make it big enough to feel a difference and then I’m sure the purging will continue endlessly for a long time after that (especially with kids that are constantly growing and changing!).

  6. Haha! I drive past a popular bike/jogging path on the way home and the alst few months it’s been empty mostly. This past Monday even though it was cold and I thought, WTF, why is this so crowded, the weather isn’t that great…. Then it clicked – Oh Yeah! Jan 4th, bwahahahaha

    I lived with a girl once that would always diet and complain about her weight, and I pointed out that in about 5-10 years, this current weight is going to be her “if only I could get to that weight” baseline. It helped her perspective some, but not much. Me, I’m fine where I am even though, sure I could lose 5-10 lbs. But, I like me where I am, and how I am, even though I joke about my little belly and call it my “food baby”. So, Meh….

    Our decluttering is usually quarterly and we do a 70 in 7 sort of challenge where we find 10 things a day, each, over 7 days to donate, sell or trash. It’s getting really difficult lately but this way we get a lot done in a little time and it’s not overwhelming feeling.

    • MaggieBanks

      We’re tackling our decluttering in a big go – with one category every few weeks (ie: clothes, books, etc.) Hope it goes well. Also, I had my kids in swimming lessons in a gym last January… I will never make that mistake again… we could never find parking! May was totally empty! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Yes! I love the emphasis on tackling your specific goals from the baseline. After reading Taylor’s post at The Freedom From Money on “New Year, Same You” I am sincerely appreciating these approaches. The biggest encompassing goal I obtained from 2015 was being comfortable with me, my growth – even if it wasn’t as vast as I intended when starting the year. As you said, any progress, or growth counts! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes, I loved that post as well. If we aren’t at peace with ourselves, we’re setting ourselves up for a bad year (even if we end up being productive)!

  8. I really loved this post, so honest, and really hit the nail on the head.
    Especially when you mention that simplifying/organising rarely mentions children. You are so right! When I close my eyes and imagine the perfect little simple home I want – childrens stuff isn’t in it. You see REALLY minimalist homes online and the kids have 5 toys and three books and I think no matter how much we declutter and organise we will never go that far. Our childrens rooms are full of toys and books and my only rules are that they are looked after and put away – who am I to tell them how many things they should have. I fear imposing strict simplicity on them would only turn them into hoarders lol. Anyway it really is only in the last few months since we started our escape that I started to realise how we needed to live our dreams now, and that our dreams would be unique to us. They wont match the image in my head or the photo from the internet. Someday soon I will share photos of our kids rooms too!
    Happy new year xx

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes! I agree. That’s why I think how awesome it would be to HAVE to pack up and move somewhere far away. Then they could just bring legos and we would buy them a Kindle! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I worry about them turning into hoarders if we are too strict with culling, as you said! Life is good as it is, and we can make it slightly better… but we’re never going to be the minimalist parents.

  9. J

    What a nice read to end my week! I can’t agree with you enough about finding joy with what you have. 2015 was the year I learned to appreciate my blessings more and it changed not only my outlook in life but also how I treat myself. Being content taught me to be ever grateful, less materialistic and most importantly, be kinder to myself.

    Thank you for writing this Maggie. I hope you and your family had a great time in Hawaii! I wish you all the best in 2016. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks, J! Appreciating blessings and taking opportunities are what life is all about. We can’t plan everything. Here’s to a great year!

  10. Your posts are always so wise, Maggie. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think so much of the problem with these types of resolutions is that they’re comparative, and that’s true for all of the categories you list out here. Weight is of course relative, but what we find attractive now is certainly not what we found attractive at every point in history. Same goes for the minimalist “organized” aesthetic — that’s a very new thing, and who knows if that will last. I’m not saying it very eloquently, but my point is that if your goals are for the sake of measuring up to something, that’s super arbitrary, and is unlikely to lead to happiness. All the more to your point: accept yourself now, and define your own non-comparative goals to make yourself happy, regardless of what everyone else is doing, or what others are striving to look like or project.

    • MaggieBanks

      I agree – everyone thinks they want the “in” thing when it comes to what’s on TV – skinny people, organized empty houses, and people swimming in cash. But the people on TV aren’t living real lives. And finding your own reality that equates to happiness is the most important thing. Thanks for the insight!

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