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Embracing Authentic Beginnings: A New Year's Resolution to Thrive Without the Hustle

As the clock strikes midnight and the calendar flips, the air is thick with the promise of a fresh start. It's that time of the year when resolutions are made, goals are set, and a newfound determination sweeps over us. This new you will drink 130 oz of water a day from your new TikTok inspired water bottle. You may commit to going vegan for 90 days, or 10,000 steps a day, or daily journaling and weekly church attendance. This narrative demands an instant transformation, urging us to become the idealized versions of ourselves. It takes discipline and turns it into control. It rewards the hustle and punishes what it deems weak. But what if instead of bowing to external pressures, we approached the new year with grace? Gradually entering the new year with self-compassion and authenticity.

1) First let us define authenticity: Authenticity, refers to the quality of being genuine, real, or true to one's own character, spirit, or identity. It involves sincerity, honesty, and a lack of pretense or imitation, reflecting a true representation of one's beliefs, values, and individuality. It implies consistency between one's actions, words, and inner convictions, fostering a sense of trust and reliability. This requires a standing relationship with yourself, a moral and spiritual inventory. From there you can begin to explore discrepancies or shortcomings. Challenge the notion that there's a 'superior' version of yourself waiting in the wings. Instead, consider small, meaningful changes that align with your true desires and values. How will you know when these changes occur? What are the motivations behind the resolutions? We often prop up our resolutions calling them "self care" and " nurturing" but if we dig deeper , often we find the motivation is external in nature. Maybe to look a certain way or be perceived a certain way.

2) Mindful Goal-Setting: Swap out the exhaustive list of resolutions for mindful goal-setting. Instead of being solely outcome-oriented, mindful goal setting emphasizes the importance of being present in the current moment. It involves self-reflection to gain awareness of  what brings you joy and aligns with your personal aspirations. Think about the last time you felt happy, joyful or un-burdened. When we approach life with destination someday," I will be relaxed and happy . When I'm done with school, or retired or on our family vacation." What about the here and now; what are things that can be rooted in gratitude within this current moment? And then build your goals from that. Shift your focus from without to what is within. Not the 10 extra pounds you would like to do without, but the feeling of comfort and connection you may feel within and how that may deepen with exercise and movement.

The pursuit of authenticity is not a destination but a continuous process of self-discovery and self-acceptance. To attain a genuine connection with your authentic self, the question arises: Where do you begin, and can you do it alone?

Self-discovery often starts with self-reflection, and therapy can be a valuable companion on this introspective path. Therapists can provide a supportive space to explore your thoughts, emotions, and past experiences, helping you uncover layers of authenticity that may be buried beneath societal expectations. Interventions may includes resilience and coping strategies. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy and other interventions can equip yourself with the tools to empower you to stay true to your authentic path. Therapeutic interventions, promote a conscious and intentional approach to decision-making. It causes us to slow down and process, explore and unpack with another person. Showing up and holding space for change during each session.

While professional guidance can provide invaluable support on your journey, the question of whether you can do it alone is subjective. Many individuals embark on the path to authenticity with a network of supportive friends, family, or mentors. Seek out those who uplift and encourage your genuine self-expression. Remember, vulnerability is a strength, and sharing your aspirations with others can deepen your connection with your authentic self.

In conclusion, nurturing your authentic self is a gentle and ongoing process. Begin by acknowledging who you are today, seek professional guidance when needed, and surround yourself with a supportive network. As you embrace this journey with patience and self-compassion, you'll find that the pursuit of authenticity is not a solo endeavor but a collective celebration of the unique and genuine individual that you are. As the new year unfolds, resist the urge to succumb to societal pressures and the hustle for instant reinvention. Embrace the beauty of easing into the year with authenticity and self-love. By focusing on mindful goal-setting, appreciating the journey, and finding joy in the present, you'll create a foundation for sustainable growth and lasting happiness. Remember, the journey to becoming the best version of yourself is a personal and unique adventure.

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