Before making your New Year’s resolution, consider looking back on 2018 first… 

We live in a fast-paced society where we are expected to make goals, achieve them, rinse and repeat. In December, we are told to envision the new version of ourselves in the coming year. In January, we take our first steps at accomplishing those goals. Come February, March, and possibly even April, the resolutions that once appeared so accessible seem to be drifting far off into the distance and the thought, “What’s the point?” crosses many of our minds.

I believe one thing we can all improve upon is taking the time to celebrate our successes, both small and large, both minute and meaningful, both successes that help us in the short term and in the long run. One reason that it may be difficult to follow through on New Year’s resolutions points to the hardship we have acknowledging how far we have come in the past year or giving ourselves credit for enduring one of the hardest seasons of our lives. Failure doesn’t exist but may with one caveat: when we don’t learn from them. And learning from mistakes may not happen in a week, month, or year. Sometimes, we don’t even realize when a mistake is being made until after years have passed. That’s okay. We have all been there. The problem is how hard we are on ourselves when a slew of mistakes have been strung together for so long. The inner critic clouds our ability to learn from those hardships and thus, the cycle repeats. 

So this year, I encourage you to do something different. Stop overlooking the successes. Stop disregarding the fact that you endure a hardship unique to you. Everyone endures something different, but that doesn’t mean that your struggle is any less important. It does’t mean that you don’t deserve the support to achieve all the goals, resolutions, and dreams you’ve tucked away for so long now. It’s time we made our number one resolution to be our own best friend. THAT is how we achieve all the rest— for 2019 and all the years after that.

Be your own best friend. Where do you begin? For starters, look back on 2018 right now. Do not sneak a peak into what you want for 2019 just yet. Think of all accomplishments, times you’ve enjoyed, people you’ve both removed and welcomed into your life, the moments that your mind was able to stay clear of intrusive or negative thoughts and gave you a breath of fresh air, periods of learning about yourself, days you got through school and work… Jot down all of it! No success is too small or too meaningless to write down. 

Write all of your successes, accomplishments, progress, milestones, and proud moments down, and then allow yourself to absorb them. Bask in your glory for a few minutes to a few days or weeks. Yes, that may be hard for a lot of us to sit in proud moments, but do it anyway. This is part of that best friend goal. We spend too much time critiquing ourselves and making a resume type list of all the reasons we’ve failed and not nearly enough time being our own number fan. Sounds cheesy, and it’s true. 

Before all else this year, make being your own number one fan your first, most important resolution. The rest of them will fall into place if you work towards this. Are you wondering how this can possibly help you achieve your other goals? You will learn to challenge yourself in a nonjudgmental way. You’ll do a better job of building hope, holding yourself accountable, have patience to wait out and enjoy the process, and have the strength and belief to keep going when things get rough. 

As for the rest of your resolutions, write them down but know they may take months or even years to happen. Just because you set a resolution to lose 30 pounds doesn’t mean that you’ll accomplish it this year and that’s okay. What if just learning how to eat healthier more consistently was what you ended up accomplishing at the end of 2019? Can that be enough? Can that be something to be proud of? Sometimes, goals are about setting up the stage to transform habits that will eventually lead you to meeting those goals. The process of achieving a goal can be frustrating and most definitely doesn’t happen over night. I grew up in the Chicagoland area and had once wrote that I will live out of Illinois at least once in my life. It took three years for this goal to happen and not because I took active steps to make it happen.

Cheerleading ourselves to success is not something many of us are naturally good at, so this may require more attention and work than any other goal. But please make sure believing in yourself is prioritized. You have gifts unique to you, and you owe it to yourself and the world to bring those gifts to life. Don’t tell me you have none. My response, today and always, will be that I don’t believe you because we all have something to offer to ourselves and the world around us. We are all worth it. And if you’re uncertain, it just means that you have yet to discover them. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has something great inside of them. I hope you find it. I believe in you. But first, you need to believe in yourself. Remember, THAT is your new number one resolution for this new year. The rest can wait. 

Common OCD Themes: You’re Not Alone

People with OCD typically struggle for 14-17 years before landing proper help. 14-17 YEARS! OCD creates all of these “what ifs” in our minds that often make us question reality. “What if I’m actually going crazy?” In our society, people commonly identify with OCD as if having it is a cool thing. We hear those around us talking about how “they are sooo OCD” because they like to be organized or wash their hands a tad more than the average person. Listening to others speak of OCD in such a nonchalant way can cause us to feel even more lonely. Learn the common OCD themes so you know you’re not alone.