The signs of Spring are here, slowly poking through the snow. At this time of the year we may be looking back on goals set for the new year and perhaps finding we have not fully committed to positive changes or may have dropped our goals all together. This cycle of goal setting and failing to meet our goals can feel very self defeating. So how can we acknowledge the difficulty of making positive changes and befriend ourself in the process? How can we make this an exciting journey of discovery instead of a self defeating model? One answer is to bring your practice into your self talk. Befriend yourself on your journey to positive change, keep your sense of humor and keep going. To help bring awareness to how you are talking to yourself, try the exercise below and enjoy a talk by self-compassion expert Kristin Neff. She has made a career of encouraging people to be kind to themselves and her studies show this approach is more effective.

Try this exercise from Kristin Neff’s website:

How would you treat a friend? Please take out a sheet of paper and answer the following questions:

1. First, think about times when a close friend feels really bad about him or herself or is really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you’re at your best)? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you typically talk to your friends.

2. Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you talk to yourself.

3. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?

4. Please write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when you’re suffering. Why not try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens?