As we start to approach the end of the first quarter of 2018, you might be checking in with yourself on your progress, or lack thereof, with respect to the resolutions you made a couple of months ago. So many of our resolutions center around self- improvement. Weight loss, healthy eating, fitness goals and the like top the list. Whatever it is you’re working on, there is one thing that lasting and real change requires. It’s compassion. The sense that you care about yourself and have your own back. Whether or not you nail your goals from the get go or tackle them with more of a two-steps-forward-one-step-back approach.

There’s a saying by an unknown author that is on point: “You can’t punish yourself into change. You can’t whip yourself into shape. But you can love yourself into well-being.” It might seem counter-intuitive, this idea that before you can change, you have to accept and care for yourself. I’ve tried both approaches: hating on myself and talking some serious internal smack to force some improvement, say in healthy eating or physical fitness, and being loving and kind to myself while still trying to improve in some way. The latter approach is undoubtedly more pleasant. It’s also the only way to success.

Negative self-talk sets us up for failure. But when we treat ourselves with love, compassion and forgiveness, we actually free ourselves up to make changes for the better. It’s like our minds and bodies and intentions align and we can start to make lasting changes.

Whatever it is you are working on, remember to approach it with a sense of compassion.