I didn’t make any “physical” new years resolutions this year (exercise more, stop eating sweets, read this many books, do this every day, etc). I’ve learned that when I make those types of resolutions, they last a month, if I’m lucky, and then the rest of the year is a free for all.

Instead, I made some mental resolutions. I read an article a few weeks ago that said while physical resolutions rarely stick, mental ones do. It got me thinking, how will I change my actions if I haven’t changed my heart and mind? It’s a mental shift that’s going to influence my actions, and so those are the types of resolutions I’m focusing on instead. Things like, focus on what I’m grateful for, be okay with not pleasing people, learn to say no, set boundaries, have more confidence, have more empathy, be intentional. Little goals inside of myself that I think, with time and practice, will start to feel more natural to me and then will influence my actual actions. There’s no way in hell I’m going to lose baby weight and work out every morning until I actually believe I am worth it, I am important and that I am happy with any “flaws” on my body because it gave me my daughter. The mental shift will be what inspires me to create the physical goal, because it will be something I want to do and truly believe in, not something I feel obligated to achieve.

A big one for me is to stop being a people pleaser. I’ve been trying to figure out where this desire to please people (thus jeopardizing myself) comes from. Where did it start? Why and when did I start only finding value in myself by pleasing people? I’ve written about this before, but I think being a ballet dancer partly caused this. When you stare at yourself in the mirror 15 to 20 hours a week for half of your life, seeing exactly how you look and move and are presenting yourself to others in order to please them, it affects you. When you’re taught to have a “stage face” and sell a certain mood and act to an audience, you start doing things for them and not for you . I was taught how to perform and I’ve seen myself perform in more areas than just through dance.

Maybe it’s being a woman. I know it’s partly from being a woman, but focusing on any wrong done to me is useless, so I don’t dwell on it. Instead, I’ve worked on standing up to any sexism I encounter. It’s much more empowering.

Maybe it’s from being a pastor’s kid and having an entire congregation judge my actions (and my family’s actions) but not their own actions. I think we all do this, though, myself included.

Truthfully, I’m less concerned about the why’s. I don’t believe I am a victim and we all have things that happen to us that bring positive or negative energy into our life. It’s what we do with that energy that is important.

And besides, maybe it’s that I simply love people. I love connection. I love relationships. I want people to be happy and I want to help make them happy. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as I’m caring for my own happiness, too.

You know what they say on an airplane about putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others with their oxygen mask?

I guess this is what I’m doing. Learning to care and stand up for myself, first, so that I can then help those around me care and stand up for themselves.

I’ve prayed over and over and over for my daughter to be confident, to always stand up for herself, to not care about pleasing people or what they think about her, to say no and not feel the need to justify herself. And then I realized, I’m praying these things over her because they’re things I struggle with myself. How will I ever teach her these things if I don’t first practice them?

And so that is what I’m doing instead.