Wait. What?

You run into this scenario every year. You countdown, and when the calendar switches over you’re resolved to be a new person. Fresh starts and making new habits is great — but why are you fighting so hard to change, instead of celebrating who you are?

This year, instead of making a long list of ways you need to better yourself, focus on how to love yourself better. Change is good, and we are all works in progress – but we are also perfect just the way we are.

The main way to feel satisfied is to accept yourself. When you do, you may find:

You are more self-aware:

When you aren’t constantly trying to change, you can sit back and listen to what your body is telling you.

You are kinder to yourself:

We are all our own worst critic. When you ignore that inner voice telling you that you need to change, you can find joy in where you are right now.

You can slow down:

When you aren’t running about trying to instantly be a better person, you can take your time. You can enjoy time by yourself, and take your time doing activities you would have normally rushed through.

You get to your goals quicker:

It’s true! More compassionate, and kinder people often reach their goals quicker — and in a less frustrated state.

You’ll be happier:

This is perhaps the biggest benefit to learning to accept yourself. More often, happiness comes from contentment than from change.

Now, saying that you should accept yourself is all well and good — until it comes to practicing self-acceptance. For many people, being ok with themselves is hard on a good day, but on days where life is chaos it feels impossible.  Luckily, self-acceptance is a learned trait and not an inherent skill.

Here are 9 ways you can nurture self-acceptance:

1: Be intentional

This is important, and the first step. You don’t accidentally fall into self-acceptance. You need to make a conscious choice that self-deprecation doesn’t lead to a satisfying life. Once you make that decision, it starts the chain reaction that leads to a more fulfilled life.

2: Celebrate your strengths

It’s much easier to count our failings than our successes. One way to keep your strengths front-of-mind is to write them down. If you have trouble coming up with a list of strengths, write one down each day. In a similar vein, you could also create a list of struggles you’ve overcome. Review these lists often to remind yourself of your worth and abilities.

3: Surround yourself with uplifting people

Create distance between yourself and people who routinely knock you down. Instead, spend more time with people who encourage and accept you.

4: Forgive yourself

Oftentimes its easier to forgive another person than it is to forgive ourselves. But when we hold on to past regrets, it’s virtually impossible to practice self-acceptance. So forgive yourself, and move on. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

5: Silence your worst critic

Your inner critic! If you wouldn’t say it out loud to a loved one, DON’T SAY IT TO YOURSELF. Many people believe their inner voice is the truth — but that’s wrong. Often, our inner voice is rude, harsh, and offering unsolicited advice. One way to combat your inner critic is to repeat to yourself “I am only human. I am doing the best I can. That is all I can do.” Every time you start to criticize yourself repeat those words.

6: Help others

Spend time looking out for others rather than looking out for yourself. Notice their reactions when you help them. It’s hard to believe you aren’t a good person when you directly see the effects your kindness has on others.

7: Know that acceptance is not resignation

Acceptance is more about letting go of things not in your control. So accept yourself — but know that you can still make some behavioural changes.

8: Be kind to yourself

Many people believe that showing themselves kindness is unwarranted or an act of selfishness. Rest assured, being kind to yourself is not being selfish. Learning to accept yourself means to love you for who you are – not in spite of who you are. So be kind to yourself when you mess up and be kind to yourself when you see flaws.

9: Fake it ’til you make it

You may be unconvinced that you’re OK right where you are. You’re not alone. But just because you’re unconvinced doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Continue to practice these ways to accept yourself until you do.

2018 is your year! You’re still you, and that’s a good thing!