Calling all extremists! Are you even now having a last great big hurrah with your bad habits? Lazing on the couch, puffing away, merrily sipping champers. All the while doing it guilt-free, due to the feverish promises you are making about the magnificent changes that will overtake you tomorrow?
These pledges for good behaviour do little more than appease the Inner Critic. You know, that nasty voice in your head that mercilessly sledges you for every single misdemeanor you ever committed.
Witness the exchange:
Inner Critic: You really are a fat pig! You should be starving yourself, or at the very least living on green smoothies for the rest of your life, look at those jiggling rolls of fat around your middle. You should hide under a tent until you are fit for human consumption!
Quavering, Pleading, Regretful Self: But it’s not my fault, I get so busy that it’s hard to cook right, and then a bit of chocolate is the only solace I have after all of the hard work I do. My life isn’t fair, I deserve wine and chocolate! You wouldn’t understand!
IC: I understand that you have no willpower at all. You are a complete soak! Your liver is probably ruined. You should have more willpower-everyone else does. Look how ripped and healthy that guy is on the magazine cover. What kind of person are you? You should just give up; you really are a hopeless case.
QPRS: But Susan next door drinks two bottles of wine every night, and look how fat that person is over there-I’m not that bad.
IC: Oh please, is that how you want to live? No wonder you repulse other people. There is something seriously wrong with you!
QPRS: Yes, buuuut in the New Year, I will turn it all around! I am finally going on that juice-only fast for a month and will lose 10kg and then I will run 10km every day and will look like Gisele Bundchen before February even starts. As for alcohol-pah! I will throw out any leftovers on the morning of January 1, and the durries are history too. Really…
IC: Well, if you say so, ok then go and have your fun (much eye rolling). Just remember…I’m watching (multiple finger wags)!
QPRS: I will have a last blast because I deserve it. And because I am going to be soooo good next year!
We all wear our little devil’s horns more comfortably when we feel that a halo is just within reach. How about doing something different from those tediously boring New Year’s Resolutions this year?
Kowtowing to the Inner Critic is like pleading with any bully: about as effective as squirming in quicksand. Instead, try asking yourself what you WANT to do. This will often look quite different from what your monstrous Inner Critic says you SHOULD do.
You will not eat, drink and merry yourself to death (as the IC predicts) if you ask yourself what you want with full awareness of the consequences of your behaviour. What do you really want your life to stand for? How do you want your body, your life, your mind, your relationships, your health to be…realistically?
My advice is quite simple (if you are interested). The Inner Critic is an extremist. Has following its advice worked for you in the long-term? Has it given you what you want? A happier life? If not consider this: what kind of changes would you suggest your daughter, son, best friend make if they were in your situation?
Now, DO THAT! You don’t need to be Gisele, just a great version of YOU.
Be kind to yourself in mind, body, and spirit. There’s a resolution for you that has been proven to work. Happy New Year and dream big for your unique self in 2013!