Coming into 2019 everyone is thinking about how they are going to change, including me. The problem is not the goals: they are all terrific. The problem isn't even motivation: initially that is the easy part. The problem isn't even habit, although to be sure, changed habits change lives.
The problem is forgiveness.
As a parent, as a teacher, I always tried to be the President of the Infinite Chances Club and tried, imperfectly, to forgive all of my students and restart the clock as often as necessary. With myself: not so much.
Going into any new project, personal or professional, I now understand absolutely that privately I am more likely the President of the Dumb, Fat and Ugly Club than of the Infinite Chances Club. To change this I must change my internal dialogue from acidic self-laceration to something that approaches the gentleness and forgiveness I can often find for students and others. I am learning to tell myself that the imperfect mess that I make is not a reflection of the imperfect mess that I am but rather a reflection of the imperfect mess that is process itself. To remind myself over and over again what I teach and what I even wrote in my book: failure is only failure when we quit: until then it is just process.
Process is a mess, and usually needs to be, but what it does not need to be is a miserable mess. The new mantra, the new internal dialogue I tell myself, and keep telling myself is a notice read on a teacher’s door and have been using in teacher and administrator trainings ever since. It read: In the end everything will be ok; if it is not ok, it is not yet the end.
Forgiving others is hard but often not as hard as forgiving ourselves. Since I now know that in the end everything will be ok, in 2019 I am going to resolve to be more forgiving of myself, for the mess that I am and for the mess that I make…that, and maybe lose 10 pounds. I invite you to make the same resolution. That is to be more forgiving of you. You don’t need to lose the weight. You are just fine the way you are!