Happy New Year!
I’ve been feeling the pressure of making a New Year’s Resolution or resolutions and I’ve realised that for me they just don’t work. Does this sound familiar? Year after year I make a different version of the same resolution (Always weight and fitness related) and year after year I start off OK, I’m talking a few weeks here, and then I fall off the wagon and THEN I beat myself up! Does this sound familiar? I’m generally more motivated by a carrot than a stick which means when I put pressure on myself and come from a place of pushing or forcing myself it just doesn’t do it for me. Now, I’m not saying people shouldn’t make them or set goals or give up what’s not good for them. All I’m saying is maybe we should consider a different approach if the traditional one isn’t working.
I’ve recently been attending Yin yoga classes. The premise of them is that you hold a pose for a prolonged period and soften or surrender into it. Gradually your body stretches out and it becomes a little less painful. It’s actually a ‘feminine’ way of practice, alluding to all that is soft and passive. The growth is gradual, like a flower opening. For me it’s a lovely antidote to the constant striving and hustle of life, the masculine way if you like! This concept of surrendering instead of striving has been an evolving theme for me in my life. Yes, we must try and push but also we must BE. We must allow, we must bloom in our own time and not before. When I allow myself to be and surrender I surprise myself. When I accept instead of resisting against myself I am able to make changes. When I come from a place of self- love instead of self -loathing the experience is a far more rewarding one.
So back to those resolutions. Have you made the same one year after year? Perhaps the classic – I will lose a stone, I will give up smoking, I will get a new job. Sometimes this approach works and our sheer grit and determination to change what we don’t want wins out. Sometimes it doesn’t and when it doesn’t it’s time for something new. I spoke to my Mum about this recently and she is doing ‘nearly dry January’ She’s not drinking as much as over the Christmas period but isn’t going to the extreme either as that’s when things start to come unstuck and then the blowout happens. I loved this and have chosen to adopt the same principle. My view is January is the most horrible of months, we’re cold, tired, broke and unhealthy and to put pressure on ourselves to undertake massive overhauls is just, well, depressing!
I invite you to think differently. Instead of having a SMART goal e.g. “I will lose a stone by my holiday in June’” think about how you want to feel? Think about what you’d do if you really loved yourself? Would it be beasting yourself at the gym for 2 weeks before quitting and eating even more or would it be being a bit kind to yourself, finding an activity you enjoy and starting to eat food that nourishes you rather than food that makes you feel crap and bloated? Be realistic (I said realistic, not defeatist) what has worked in the past and what hasn’t? That old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result isn’t a cliché for no reason!
So, reassess your goals and perhaps reframe them. Ask yourself this question ”If I really loved myself I would…?” What would you do? Commit to YOURSELF, not a single goal. Think about the bigger picture. Make yourself a priority and don’t beat yourself up if you sometimes mess up. Make this a year of doing things differently – working with yourself instead of against yourself. Are you with me?
I’d love to hear your thoughts – please do add your comments below
P.S. If being hard on yourself worked, it would have worked by now