A FRESH START THis
A NEW YOU?
New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing. We all make them, even if it’s nothing more than a passing thought. “This year I’ll lose weight” “This year I’ll spend more time on myself” “This year I’ll learn another language” “ This year I’ll…” fill in the blank. And we try, albeit for most of us it’s a short run. We forget what we promised ourselves at 11:59 on December 31st, under the influence and giddy about all the potential of the upcoming year. We’re given an annual fresh start, and anything can happen. But more often than not, we quickly settle back into our daily routine of work, family, and laundry. We wake up each morning only to follow the same pattern as the day before. All the while the change we want eludes us, as life happens and time passes quickly before we can stop, drop, and roll into a world we’d like to create for ourselves.
But what happened to our resolutions from years past? Why do we settle back into our familiar patterns so easily? Where is our fairy godmother and the magic wand that will push us into this happiness that we believe our fulfilled resolution will bestow upon us? Exactly what happens between December 31st and the other life we want to live?
It’s human nature. We want instant gratification. We want to choose the easy path. There is Stress. There is disappointment. There is work. There are responsibilities. There is Life.
As humans, we are always changing. From our beliefs to our bodies. And we fight a tough battle when we decide to lose weight on a single night at midnight, only to find ourselves opening the refrigerator the next morning. We decided to hit the gym, only to open the front door to a deluge of rain or snow. We say we’ll drink less, cuss less, stress less, and consume less. But is life always better with less? Many resolutions are about removing something from our life in the hopes that the replacement will be just as satisfying. Should be choose to eliminate a certain amount of things we enjoy with the possible future gift of happiness? We convince ourselves that if eat less of what we love (butter, cream, chocolate, wine) in the future, we’ll feel better, look better, and our life will be better. But less doesn’t always equate to better.
I’d like to suggest that a New Years’ resolution is about ADDING something to your life, as opposed to eliminating it. As creatures of habit, and as we settle into our everyday world after the holiday bubble pops, adding something that brings joy seems so much more enticing than taking away dessert.
What Should I Add?
#1 – People
Let’s all resolve to invite more friends and family into our homes. Covid took away so much and it’s been a long transition back to “normal”. Some of us grew quite comfortable at home in our most comfortable pajamas, watching the world through a screen. Shopping online. Ordering food to be delivered quickly straight to our doorstep. Facetime and Zoom replaced family get-togethers. We became elusive and our homes became sanctuaries, redesigned as temporary classrooms, offices, theaters, and restaurants. Opening our homes means planning dinner parties and game nights, opening wine and inviting the girls over, or setting up the guest room for out-of-town friends to feel comfortable enough to stay for breakfast the next day. When spending time with others, there is an exchange of ideas, thoughts, and life opinions that expand our own lives. It’s not about agreeing with everyone, it’s about getting outside of our own heads and experiencing the life energy of someone else. Resolve to connect with more people this year.
#2 – Joy
Joy doesn’t just come haphazardly into our lives. Luck may play a small role, but mostly joy comes from looking for it. It’s a glass half full, glass half empty kind of thing. What you start to look for, think about, and pay attention to will show up in your life. It’s not a cliche, it’s not about positive thinking, and it’s not hard. Wake up each day with the intention of finding something that brings you joy. We are creatures of habit and tend to like wallowing in our own sorrows, while we curse others’ happiness. We want joy, but it’s a rare bird who smiles for everyone else’s joy or good fortune. Whether it’s because we feel they don’t deserve it, or we’ve decided that we deserve it more, we need to shift our thinking into feeling happy for others. And once we’ve added others’ joy into our lives, we start to feel and see it in our own world. Resolve to seek out the joy with the people you interact with, in the places you go, in your own home, or with your pets or hobbies, and more joy will magically begin to appear.
#3 – Movement
No, this isn’t about joining a gym to lose weight, taking up yoga to strengthen your core, or promising yourself that you’ll jog three miles seven days a week. You’ll set a resolution for movement for the sake of your body. Whatever your body looks like. Shift your thinking from “I need to lose weight” to “I care about myself”. And self-care is about realizing you are worth it. Your body is worth it. Your mind is worth it. Your life is worth it. Don’t think about it as a “work”out. That makes it sound like work. Movement, of any kind, is about treating yourself to endorphins, health, better sleep, a sharper mind, and feeling and becoming a better you. If you lose weight, great. If you don’t lose weight, also great. This is about feeling better. Change how you think about your body, and you’re more likely to continue a new habit in whatever exercise, sport, or movement you choose. Movement is health care, mental care, and the positive therapy that you can choose to treat yourself to.
- Give yourself written reminders
- Wake up each day and choose ONE thing you can do that day to keep your resolution
- Tell others about your plans
- Team up for the accountability
- Set check-in dates on your calendar to gauge your progress
- Spend time with people who are living the life you want to live and ask them how they got there
- When you have a failure, allow yourself to be disappointed, but don’t let it completely stop you from moving forward
- If you need a mental health day, take it. Start again the next morning
- Decide that a New Year’s Resolution is a gift you give yourself to make some part of your life better and that you deserve it
Written reminders, check-ins, and updates can help you to continue on your path of self-care and can be a way to keep those New Year’s resolutions. Click on the images below to learn more.
"Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start."
"In our perfect ways. In the ways we are beautiful. In the ways we are human. We are here. Happy New Year’s. Let’s make it ours."
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
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