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What your New Year's Resolutions are Really About

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What your New Year's Resolutions are Really About

Val MacDonald

Now that we are a couple of weeks into the new year, let’s talk about resolutions that you may have made.

You may, like many people, have made a resolution to lose weight and get healthy.  How do you get there?  What do you tell yourself?

It may sound something like this; This time will be different. This time I am going to have will-power and get tough with myself. No more laziness. I will go on a juice cleanse and cut out carbs.  I will get up early, go to the gym and kick my butt into shape. No-pain-no-gain!  I have had it with my excuses. I will lose 30 pounds by Valentine's Day.

How many of you have tried this approach already?  How did it work for you? 

In truth 80% of all New Years resolutions fail, because the changes that people expect they need to make are not sustainable. It is very difficult to take on the all-or-nothing-quick-fix approach for any length of time.

I would like to suggest to you a different way of going about reaching your goals.  Instead of using will power and deprivation, I would like to introduce you to a form of self inquiry and intention-setting, that gets the results you are looking for, yet is kinder, gentler and easier to live with.

I would like to have you use your quest for a leaner, healthier body to open the door to inquiry about the way you want to live.  I believe that what each of us is really looking for is a sense of peace and well-being, and that in order to arrive at this sense, we must each ask ourselves “what do I need more of?”, and also “what do I need to let go of?”

If you are, for example, wanting to cook more healthy meals, but you never seem to have the time, you can identify that you need more time available for cooking.  What could you possibly let go of that would free up some time for you?  TV?  Internet?  Facebook?  Many times it is about prioritizing your activities, in order to find time for the things that are important to you now.

Having a goal to lose weight, however much weight that is to you, is not a realistic goal.  Implementing wellness practices into your life at a pace that works for you, is a a realistic goal, that usually (but not always) leads to weight loss.  

Start thinking about how you want to live your life; not once you lose the weight, but right now.  Set an intention for how you want to feel.  Here are some examples of words that can be used to describe how you would like to feel; healthy, alert, confident, energetic, enthusiastic, powerful, strong, fit, calm, clear-headed, and rested.

Use these words or others that resonate with you; write them down.

Now, start to think about habits that you would like to implement that contribute to your health and sense of well-being.  Here are a few examples; buying and preparing my own whole food meals most of the time, staying hydrated throughout the day by having water always close by my work station, eating enough meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid getting overly hungry, getting adequate sleep each night so that I wake up feeling rested, eliminating tension from my body and mind in a way that works for me (exercise, meditation, yoga, hot baths, etc.), participating in exercise that I enjoy doing.

To implement these habits, choose one or two at a time and focus on those.  Give yourself permission to plan and schedule these healthy habits into your life. 

Using the words to describe how you want to feel, create a vision of your healthiest self and then set your intention to implement the healthy habits.

An example of your vision of your healthiest self could be; “I feel energetic, powerful and fulfilled; I am fit, alert and confident.  I am able to go hiking and climb the hills, with grace and ease.”

And an example of setting your intention could be; “I intend to eat nourishing foods that I like and that I can easily digest, that I cook myself, six days of the week.  I intend to walk five times a week for 30 minutes, and to go hiking once a week for 45 minutes to an hour. From this day forward I commit to taking good care of my body, implementing healthy habits so my body can thrive.”

Set your intention to make your health a priority.  Let go of what no longer serves you, and make room for the things that do.  Have a willingness to treat yourself the way you would treat a child; with compassion, kindness and encouragement.  Allow no room for scolding or self criticism. Stop holding yourself to standards that are unrealistic.  Allow your body weight to settle naturally, while you continue to honour and care for it.

When you start implementing a few of these healthy habits for even just a week, you will start to feel better.  You will make the connection between the efforts you are making, with the way you are feeling, and you will continue to make the effort.