• Bethany Kregiel, LMHC

Ditch the New Year's Resolution: Practice Self-Acceptance

We’ve all heard the phrase “New year, new you”, as if the start of a new calendar year marks the season of self-improvement for all. While some New Year’s resolutions may spark inspiration and motivation for change, many ideas stem from a foundation of self-criticism. You wouldn’t have to change yourself if you were accepting of yourself, right?

Many industries profit off of our insecurities. The diet, wellness and fitness industry thrive at the start of a new year. There is pressure to lose weight, eat better and develop a new skincare routine among other prescribed goals. These messages directly oppose more accepting messages of body positivity or body neutrality. And messages around self-improvement go beyond weight and body image these days. You may also feel pressure to optimize your productivity at work, have the most fulfilling interpersonal relationships or find time to master a new skill.

If you want to focus on change in 2022, how about practicing self-acceptance? This type of practice is simple, but not always easy. Here are a few small ideas for practicing self-acceptance in the new year:

  • Post positive messages on your mirror, where you will see them every day

  • Develop a daily self-acceptance mantra, such as “I am enough just as I am”

  • Make a list of things that you like about yourself

  • Spend time with others who make you feel good about yourself

  • Talk to yourself with the kindness and compassion that you would use when talking to a friend

It’s okay to be the same you at the start of a new year! You are fine just as you are.

Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.

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