Confidence Manifesto

Every time I go home to NJ, a piece of my childhood has surfaced and been carelessly placed in a conspicuous place for me to see. Ribbons from swim meets, sticker books, letters from ex-boyfriends, photos. When I went home this past Christmas there were two photos sitting on the kitchen counter.

It was January of 1996. I was 20 years old. I was a junior in college. These photos were taken at the Newark airport, back in the days when you could still walk your loved one to the gate. I was about to board a 6 hour flight to London. After that I flew to Shannon, Ireland, and then took a three hour bus ride to Cork, where I would live for the next six months. I did it completely alone and without hesitation, doubt, or fear.

Monica and Dad Ireland

Monica Mom Ireland

I kept staring at the woman in these photos. I would go back to them daily.

What happened to her?

I looked at these photos and I was jealous. Of myself.

Granted at 20 years old, I didn’t know that I probably should’ve been a little more cautious and the world in 1996 was very, very different from today. But, beyond those circumstances, where did this woman go? What made her think that she could go across the ocean by herself and travel? Where did she get that confidence?

It knocked the wind out of me. Confidence. And there it was, my #oneword2016.

2016 is 19 days old and I am doing well with my word. I like how it feels on my heart. I like how I feel when I say it to myself. I used to be confident, fearless almost. Confidence made me courageous. I am diving into my word this year and I hope that when 2016 ends, I feel differently than I do today. I deserve it.

This is my confidence manifesto. These are the promises that I made to myself when I chose my word. These are the promises that will guide me this year:

I will talk to and about myself with love.

I will speak and write my truth without defensiveness or explanation.

I will apologize only when necessary.

I will eat food that is fuel for my body.

I will also eat food that brings me pleasure and I will not feel bad about myself when I do.

I will move more.

I will exercise when I can and when I want to.

I will ask for what I need.

I will be kind to myself when I fail.

I will strive to not judge others, especially other women.

I will not believe social media messages that I am not enough.

I will make progress on my book, Dear boys.

I will make progress on my business, Sheldrake Consulting.

I will be kind to myself when I do not make enough progress.

I will love myself.

I know that many of these goals are not specific. Which, according to some research, dooms me to failure because they are too big and not measurable. But here’s the thing. When I set really specific goals, like, “I will write every day for 30 minutes” or, “I will exercise three days/week” I never meet those either. Because they are so specific, if I miss one time, I go into a tailspin and then give up. So this year, I am trying more broad goals that feel more achievable. I am going in with confidence and kindness.

What is your #oneword2016? I’d love to hear about it and why you chose it.

Happy New Year!


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