This time of year always brings with it the promise and allure of a new beginning. It’s the time of year we all vow to do better, to be different, to do more, or to give up a multitude of things – all in an attempt to be a new and improved version of ourselves.

For many of us, the unfortunate messaging behind the resolutions we choose to set is that we aren’t good enough (yet) to deserve the happiness, health, success, and community we desire. Our resolutions direct our mindset to a tone of self-consciousness and a de-valuing of our inherent worth.

With the intention to get it right this year, we find ourselves quickly taking radical steps towards what we think will provide us with a new outcome. But by the end of a few short weeks, many of us find ourselves depleted, drained, and at a loss of motivation to keep pursuing those lofty goals and higher standards we had set for ourselves.

I have always wondered why we allow this cycle to perpetuate in our lives; year after year, decade after decade, so many of us repeat the same narrative. As I’ve pondered this over the years, I’ve seen parallels in my own story as a military-raised child.

Growing up in a military household, we moved every 2-3 years, and with each move I latched on to the notion of recreating myself. Every time we moved I strove to be a new, better version of myself, but I always failed to achieve that version.

Now, in my thirties, I can look back and realize how wrong I was. You see, wherever you go, and whatever new beginning you have, it’s always the same you. We can never outrun ourselves. What we have to do is learn to fully embrace and love the unique and perfect individual we were created to be. That doesn’t mean we can’t strive to make improvements, because we can always grow and evolve, but that growth must stem from a place rooted in deep self-appreciation.

As the new year approaches and as many of us begin looking to the season as a marker of new beginnings, start this year off with a positive acknowledgement of what you already have to offer. Then seek the right tools, guidance, mindset, and people to inspire growth in your journey. The change in our journey and the change in the tone of this year compared to previous one begins with you. It begins with an attitude of acceptance. By learning that you are enough, you will realize you are ready to face the challenges and opportunities of 2020 with renewed, more sustainable energy.

These 3 simple steps will help you start 2020 off as your best year yet:

  1. Rather than a list of resolutions, pick one word for your year that reflects the tone you want this year to reflect. When you know what tone you are setting for the year ahead, you’ll find that you will naturally align your actions with that chosen intention.
  2. Develop the habit and practice of gratitude. At the end of each day, write down 1-3 things you are grateful for that day. Then, at the end of the year, go back to read all the things you wrote down.
  3. Take it all in one at a time – one thing at a time, one day at a time, perhaps even one hour at a time. It’s okay to slow down! Give yourself permission to find a pace that works for you.