Let’s talk about New Year’s Resolutions.
When you create or choose a resolution, you are deciding to resolve something for the next year, to be resolute in your choice, your commitment, and dedication to this new concept you want in your life. To be resolute. I love that word and don’t think we use it enough. I am resolute in my dedication to my health. I am resolute in my determination to make yoga accessible to everyone. What are you resolute in? What do you stand strong in? What are you unwavering in? What do you want to be determined to bring into your next journey around the sun?
A lot of times resolutions are around eating healthier (nothing wrong with that, we know certain foods aren’t good for our bodies!), working out more, and losing weight.
The last two I have some issues with. Why do we want to work out more? What does working out mean? What’s the end goal with going to the gym? Is it because we want to add nourishing movement into our lives? Do we want to help our bodies function at a higher level? Or is it because our culture says that we need to beat ourselves up a few days a week for our life choices? Because we’re not small enough, curvy enough in the right places? Because somehow pounding our bodies on machines makes us dedicated, better humans? Do we have actual goals in place that translate into the world we live in, or do we just want to be able to say we can bench press 200 pounds? Our society, diet culture, and marketing all tell us on a fairly constant basis that we need to be smaller, have more abs, bulging biceps, and big butts. And yet, science shows us that our method of weight loss, beating ourselves up at the gym and ideal body types are unattainable for the vast majority of our population.
Why do we keep trying then?
I don’t know why we try, but I do know it’s not healthy, and I speak from personal experience.
In high school I was anorexic. I starved myself for years, I would live off a packet of peanut butter M&M’s while at school, count calories and try to keep myself energized by eating sugar all day because I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid eating dinner with my family. I would eat as little as possible, read forums online about how to live on less and less food so that I could meet some ideal I had in my head that would make me a better person. Looking back I understand that this was caused by a need to control things when my life felt very out of control (hello hormones), and pressures from society/marketing. Fast forward a few years, and I would go to the gym as much as I could stand to try to mold myself into a ‘better’ being. I needed to be stronger, thinner, smaller. Then I would… do whatever it was. But I never had the energy, I was sick a lot, and didn’t have time to enjoy the things around me, like the new house we had bought, or the friends I was desperately trying to make in a new town. But when I was smaller, it would happen. I’d have friends, we’d go out for a beer, and laugh the night away. (If you know me, you know that would never happen because I hate the taste of beer, but you get the idea!)
I never once in my life met a New Year’s Resolution.
They were unattainable, unhealthy ideals from someone else. A few years ago, Megan Hale introduced me to Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. It changed things for me on so many levels! It invites you to focus on how you want to feel during the year and to take steps to encourage those feelings. This has since become an integral part of my planning for each year. The shift in me, how I viewed the world, was immense. Now I am resolute in how I want to feel during the year. I focus on creating spaces/ways to invite those feelings into my life.
Instead of being healthier, I now focus on feeling energized for example. Healthier isn’t something you can really measure, but I can tell if I have more energy in my day.
What if you shifted your focus to how to improve your life or how you feel in your body for your New Year’s Resolutions? What if you focused on adding movement that makes you feel good, or will help you accomplish a certain task you struggle with on a regular basis?
It doesn’t have to be yoga, maybe you need a gym or workout place that focuses on functional movement? Instead of going on a diet, what if you were resolute in your choices to eat more veggies each day? Or to eat foods that make you feel energized and then explored what those are for you?
There are so many ways to improve ourselves each year, and seeing ads for diets, weight loss ‘tricks’ and the next superfood that will make you lose weight is not only infuriating but harmful. The bombardment of messages around how to make ourselves smaller, thinner, wisps of people are damaging our psyches.
When I stopped trying to fight my body for the way it was, my life became a happier place.
I enjoy food immensely, I move as much as my schedule allows, and I make more time for the things that bring me joy and laughter instead of dedicating hours a week to pounding away at the gym. I have more memories, experiences, and more happiness than ever. As I practice more yoga, my overthinking and overanalyzing has decreased, I am able to just accept things as they happen. I am not saying I’m in love with my body, but I am working to love my body. For me, yoga is a tool to do so. I show my body love by eating lots of veggies and food that is made with love. I show it love my doing yoga, by moving and not just sitting around. I show it love my drinking lots of water and tea, and not drinking things that make me feel icky like caffeine. I show it love by saying thank you.
I would invite you to think about your New Year’s Resolutions in a new way this year.
How can you show your body love? How do you want to feel this year? What are you going to be resolute about for yourself?
If you are interested in using yoga as a way to make those resolutions a reality, reach out! I would love to support you and help you be resolute with yourself!