I've been thinking about you guys a lot and the New Year's pressure to reinvent oneself. Wouldn't you agree that there's an annual expectation to come up with grandiose goals that will catapult you into the next year with laser precision while leaving a trail of ashes behind you?
[Insert visual of self riding a unicorn with bow and arrow in arms and trail of fire behind you]
Think about the conversations that happen around this time. Maybe you're reading blogs or having convos at brunch with your girlfriends about what the best New Year's resolutions are:
You get it, right? The list is endless and is usually coming from the mindset of "When I achieve this goal, I will be happy."
Now think back on recent years and what your NY resolutions may have been. Can you remember them? Did you achieve the ones you've set out? If you have, fantastic! Though, if you haven't, and you find that with each new year comes a new (or maybe repeating) set of resolutions that go unfulfilled then maybe it's time to approach growth and personal development from a different angle...
I'm personally not one for resolutions. I like to focus more on tangible tools, thought processes and habits throughout the year that I can focus on daily to ensure that I'm consistently moving in a more healthful and positive direction in my life.
It's more about changing my thoughts surrounding an issue. It's about monitoring my reactions, negative tendencies and then taking the time to lovingly reroute my thoughts so that I'm focused
in a more positive direction.
For example, in my 20s I was a fitness competitor. I went pro at the age of 24 and continued to compete for a couple of years after that. My drive to be in the gym and work super hard was
rooted in self-judgement.
I detested my body when I looked in the mirror.
I wanted someone else's body. A tall, thin, muscular body that showed muscle striations 24/7 and was the envy of any woman who looked my way.
I was stuck in an unhealthy mindset that led to anxiety, depression and an unhappy relationship with my then partner.
The thought that I had every day was "I need to go to the gym more often, workout harder, eat more restrictively and then I'll be happy."
How wrong was I.
The work that I should have been doing (and do now) is to focus on the negative thought patterns. The self-hate, the self-judgement. Why it was there, where it came from and what I could do about it to relieve myself from constant self-abuse.
Something more along the lines of "I need to get my thoughts in check. Cultivate more positive, self-loving and self-accepting ways in order to be happy. I need to workout because it makes me feel good not because I define myself by my body."
That is the conversation that needed to happen in order for me to feel beautiful and happy. It's hard work, and a constant focus. Even today as I workout at the gym I look in the mirror and old tendencies creep back in...
Why aren't you leaner?
Why do your legs look like that?
Why aren't you lifting heavier?
And then I catch myself.
I take the time to acknowledge my tendency and pattern and without judgement, I lovingly remind myself of who I am and why I'm working out.
I work out to balance my hormones.
To relieve stress.
To detoxify my body.
To have more energy.
To avoid illness when I'm older.
To get fresh blood and oxygen to my brain and organs.
I am incredible the way I am. If there are changes I need to make to support my health I will make them without anxiety and self-judgment behind them but rather, from a place of responsibility to my well-being and self-love.
If you have a goal to save more money and stop irresponsible spending habits, look at what thoughts or emotions you're experiencing when you feel compelled to spend all of your money.
If you have a goal to change your eating habits, look at what emotions come up just before you indulge in something that might be harming you. It's the deeper work that will yield long-term change and positive results.
I recently listened to a podcast with Pema Chödrön and Oprah who touched on this in such a powerful way. They spoke about How to deal with difficult times. I would argue that when setting resolutions you're focusing on something that's difficult for you, then you decide on a goal that you believe will make that difficulty go away - would you agree?
What if it isn't about overcoming something that's difficult for you?
What if it's about failing over and over and becoming better and better at it each time?
What is it isn't about reinventing yourself, or setting huge goals that scare you before you even begin trying?
What if each time you failed you did so with more grace, more self compassion and less disappointment when it wasn't perfect?
What if you just focused on failing better?
I believe we have a lot to learn from others who have experienced deep pain, disappointment and failure in their lives and have found new ways to operate so that they can live a life that is filled with self-love, inner peace and fulfillment (this is explained in amazing detail in Oprah's podcast).
Isn' that what we're striving for? To have more inner peace? Why else would we be so hard on ourselves to figure it all out and nail it?
This 2018 I invite you to fail. Fail often and fail better.
I know you can do it.
RHN + Founder of The IBS Academy
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