How To Achieve Your Goals With Self-Compassion
With the new year still being fresh, it’s not too late to set some goals for 2019. When you think of all you’d like to accomplish, it’s important to find that balance of setting realistic goals that will motivate you but not consume you. If you don’t show yourself a little self-compassion while goal-setting, it will make achieving them way more difficult than it needs to be.
Think about what motivates you. Is it personal success? Competition? Money? We invite you to think about a different kind of motivator – compassion. At the end of the day, we all want to be successful (achieve our goals) and be the best version of ourselves. We can do both with self-compassion.
We are wired to be hard on ourselves. We’re constantly striving to do better. Yes, it’s good to want to better yourself but at what cost? Think of self-compassion as three components:
Self-kindness: Being kind and understanding with yourself, especially when you’re going through a difficult time.
Common humanity: Realizing that you’re not alone. It’s during the times when we are struggling that we feel most alone. However, in reality everyone is going through something.
Mindfulness: Simply being able to observe without judgment. Being able to feel whatever you’re feeling without judging yourself.
When working towards your goals, make these three things a priority. Whether you’re looking to get a promotion at work this year, make more time to do the things you love, or start living a healthier lifestyle, keep self- compassion at the forefront of your mind. Be kind to yourself. Know that there are others who are working towards similar goals. Achieving those goals may come easier for some and will be more difficult for others…and that’s okay). And regardless of the situation, there’s no need for judgment.
There’s two ways we beat ourselves up when it comes to achieving our goals. One is that we don’t achieve them (or don’t achieve them as quickly as we thought) and we start self-loathing. For example, we have thoughts such as, “What’s wrong with me? What could I have done better? Why can’t I do this?” Then there’s that sense of guilt when we do achieve these goals. We think, “Do I really deserve this? Is there someone better for the job? Is it too good to be true?” Being able to tell yourself it’s okay either way is easier said than done, but that is the key to self-compassion. You did your best and you’ll move on or you’re going to keep trying. Better yet…you did it and you deserve it.
Self-compassion isn’t something you can just turn on and off. It’s something to work towards. You’ll get there. Here’s a few tips to get you started.
Comfort yourself with a physical gesture
Similar to how a hug from a loved one is comforting, putting your hands over your heart or holding your arms are great ways to show yourself some love. So when you’re struggling to reach your goals and are feeling discouraged, don’t be afraid to give yourself a hug. Or if you reached your goal but feel guilty of what you achieved, pat yourself on the back…because you deserve it.
Watch what you say
We talk to ourselves all day long. This may not be spoken out loud but we are constantly having conversations with ourselves in our head. With that said, it’s essential not to say anything to / about yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone you care about. Don’t be so self-critical. If you didn’t get the promotion you wanted, it won’t get you anywhere to tell yourself you’re a failure. But with some encouraging words, you’ll find the motivation to keep working hard towards the next step in your career.
Consider how you would treat someone else
If someone you cared about came to you with the same problem you’re having, how would you react? What advice would you give them? Sometimes it takes seeing things from a different perspective in order to move forward.
Meditation is a great way to practice self-compassion. Being able to not let your thoughts consume you gives you true clarity. If you’re new to meditation, it can be overwhelming figuring out where to start. For the sake of self-compassion, we recommend the Loving-Kindness Meditation (which will help you practice compassion for yourself and others).
If you still don’t know where to begin, take a step back and realize what you have overcome and what you have accomplished. It’s way more than you think. Anything from moving, starting a new job, ending a relationship, traveling, eating healthier…these are just some of the many things to consider. It might even help to write these things down. Once you’ve fully realized what you’re capable of, you’ll be more motivated to set and achieve those goals. And most importantly, do it with self-compassion.
It’s always nice to get encouragement from others, but it isn’t helpful to fully depend on others for your own happiness and well-being. So showing some self-encouragement is what will get you to where you need to be. Self-encouragement is about building yourself up, not tearing yourself down. Think about it like a parent. You’re nurturing and you’re proud, not envious or resentful. This is how you would treat your child, so try treating yourself this way. Focus on your positive attributes and not your limitations. While part of this self-encouragement comes from within, it’s also important to surround yourself with those who will encourage you.
Here at MindWell, we offer a supportive environment and we’re here to listen. If you’d like to speak with a professional, schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today.
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