And make resolutions.
Even if I weren’t a teacher, it only makes sense to attempt big changes during the brightness of summer. Everything seems possible – unlike in cold, dark winter. At least my summer New Year's resolutions stand a chance of being realized.
This year more so than ever.
This summer, I set my goal at losing weight and getting in shape – yes, a clichéd resolution – but my hope for myself goes so much deeper. I want to feel stronger, happier, more resilient in the face of challenges. So I may measure my success in terms of weight lost, or clothing sizes dropped, but the motivation driving it plays in my mind more like Rocky-climbing-the-steps. I want the triumph of experiencing my own strength, built from my determination and will.
Damn right. Go, girl!
Then why the heck is it so hard to accomplish? How come people like me fail at New Year’s resolutions they know would make them happier, healthier, better people?
Here’s what I’ve learned this summer: It’s all about quelling the mean, nasty, hateful voice in my own head. Wherever it came from, why ever it’s there, that voice wants me to fail, and it is an excellent strategist.
It is the voice of NO when I’m facing a new challenge or a hard day that makes me wonder: Can I do this?
It is the voice of YES when a setback unleashes discouragement that makes me wonder: Should I just give up and give in?
It knows just when to speak and what to say to drain my confidence and feed my fears. It preys when I am weak and bides its time when I am strong. It knows my vulnerable spots, and waits and positions for moments when they are revealed.
The difference now is I’m paying attention. I’m not letting that voice blind-side me anymore. I notice when that voice is preying on my weakness or exploiting my vulnerabilities, and I’m turning the tables and talking back. We’ve become worthy opponents.
Nice try, I’m saying, but NO, you won’t be telling me what I can or can’t achieve. And as a matter of fact, YES, I do think I’m capable of anything if I can just get through this moment of doubt, or fear, or panic, and not give up and not give in. Go ahead and keep whispering, because I know what you’re up to and two can play at that game.
Hey, Voice, you’re really not that great. In fact, you’re a loser. You might as well give it up.