Ahhhhhh a new year, complete with brand new shiny resolutions. It seems that the majority of resolutions are always fitness/health/self-improvement based, some loftier than others: “this year, I am going to lose 20 pounds” or “this year, I am going to go to the gym every day and eat only green vegetables and lemon rinds and meditate daily for 40 minutes and drink seven gallons of water before bed and pretty much become the next Mahatma Gandhi”. The problem that I find with resolutions is that they can set us up for failures instead of success. Rather than making blanket statements, perhaps consider giving yourself smaller goals, ones that are possible to attain. It may be January 2nd, but it is not too late to re-evaluate (oh hey that rhymes).
I see it all the time-the first of the year, the gym is packed. PACKED. And for most of January, it stays that way. The newly resolute gym-goers are bright-eyed and bushy tailed, emboldened with their burgeoning resolutions. But as the month comes to an end, the light in those newcomers eyes burns out, and the parking lot is once again half-empty, and my precious squat rack is free. So what goes wrong? Why does this scenario repeat itself year after year after year?
It’s those massive, drastic changes that we try to force into our lives. Making a huge change is a shock to your lifestyle and your body-and is going to be hard to maintain. Instead of radically altering your diet or committing to seven days a week of physical activity, focus on one thing at a time. For example, if you drink soda, make the commitment to stop drinking pop but don’t worry about those late-night cookies that you sometimes eat on the weekends; once you have conquered soda you can focus on the carby sugary goodness. Commit to going to the gym or running or doing something physical three days a week instead of seven and HOLD yourself to it. Once you have adjusted to the changes and are feeling confidant (and can walk normally again without wincing in pain or looking like you fell down a flight of stairs) bump the three days up to four. Remember that Rome was not built in a day….and that slow and steady wins the race…and whatever other idioms you can think of.
While we are on the subject of resolutions, I think this year we need to be kinder to ourselves-and I know hundreds (if not thousands) of women (and men) can relate to that statement. If I were to tally the number of hours I have spent trolling the annals of the internet wishing I had other women’s physiques, other women’s noses or hair or legs I think the number would be staggering; if I were to truly track the number of times a DAY that I cut myself down, or pick apart my thoughts/looks/abilities and put that effort and energy towards something positive I probably could have cured cancer ten times over by now. I want to spend less time wanting to be something or someone else and spend more time enjoying being ME. And one of the best ways that I know how to do that is to focus outward instead of inward. Volunteer, donate, give back. This year, I would like to volunteer at an animal shelter, maybe be a foster home for kitties that need special care. I would like to go serve meals to those in need, whether at a soup kitchen, church, or otherwise. I would like to do and be better than I was last year. That is what resolutions are about right? Being better than we were, becoming the best version of ourselves.
What if we just said, “this year, I am going to be better. This year I am going to do better. I am going to give more and I am going to be kinder to myself and to those around me. This year is going to be the best year yet, and I am going to do MY best, and that is going to be enough”? Try it. I’m going to. Happy New Year, loves. Thanks for reading.