Nothin’ happened the way it was supposed to happen

“Nothin’ happened the way it was supposed to happen.” Will Smith’s character, Robert Neville spoke those words in the movie I Am Legend. That summed up 2021. In any given year, countless New Year resolutions are made only to be forgotten by February 1.

COVID restrictions and the barrage of news stories were the norms at the end of 2020. The first vaccine arrived mid-December 2020 with the promise of widespread vaccination by mid-2021. We know the 2021 story: vaccine rollouts, vaccination deniers, the politicization of public health, virus mutations, easing COVID restrictions, the expectation of returning to normal, renewed restrictions leading to an ominous infection rate as of today. Nuthin’ I expected.

2021 was a shitshow. There is no better way to describe it. Life did not return to normal. I am uncertain what normal is or will be. Many good things happened in my life this year. Many good things happened in the world. Society tends to look at life through a negative lens. I challenge myself to look at things with a positive spin.

2020 and 2021 have me thinking about the path forward for 2022. Psychiatrist Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt penned a good article in Fast Company on radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is about developing a new relationship with yourself that radically accepts yourself as you are. It’s about accepting your strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures.

I can’t think of a year where I did not resolve to do something about my weight. A few years back I attended a six-month weight management program at Wexner Medical Center. One of the focuses of the program was life coaching, something many weight management programs overlook. The principle of radical acceptance is prominent in life coaching for weight management.

Dr. Oliver-Pyatt’s article shared some good tips on how to radically accept yourself. I do practice some of these tips today. I succeed during those six months at Wexner. Unfortunately, I slipped over the past 3 years. I have no weight loss resolutions for 2022. The practice of radical acceptance is how I plan to tackle 2022. No resolutions. No expectations. Looking at myself positively.

Here are some tips shared in the Fast Company article that are valuable for anyone looking to approach the new year with a new outlook.

  • Practice self-compassion accepting slipups with kindness, and forgiveness.
  • Move away from goal-oriented behavior that puts unnecessary pressure on you to seek perfection.
  • Recognize what you can and cannot control letting go of things beyond your control. Focus on what you can control.
  • Practice journaling reflecting on your experiences, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Forgive yourself for recognizing and accepting your past behaviors so you can move toward.
  • Practice mindfulness focusing on your feelings and letting them exist without judgment.
  • Create a list of coping statements that you can turn to whenever you are struggling.

Happy New Year!
Tom

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