Happy New Year to everyone! This is the time where we traditionally flagellate ourselves and decide that THIS IS THE YEAR that we will make drastic change. Generally speaking, these changes are never that easy. It may the “the year” that you get organized, or never let gluten/dairy/sugar/meat/alcohol/prepackaged foods (or any combination thereof, this is California after all) cross your lips again. You may decide you will run x miles everyday, stop watching television, give up Facebook, or go on a strict budget. Perhaps you will even be the kind of soul that is going to create a housecleaning schedule, and if so, good for you. I wish I were so motivated.
However, these changes often come out of a feeling of backlash, with a large dose of self-criticism. It often comes from a sense that last year, I was BAD, and this year, I will be GOOD.
My message in my classes the last couple of weeks has been this: how can you be kinder to yourself? If you are thinking in the context of being “bad” or “good”, how can you reframe that in a kind way? Change is positive, but change that comes out a root feeling of self-loathing is counter-productive, and probably will be hard to stick to. Examine the root of your personal resolution, and explore it. If you find that you are being hard on yourself, think of changing the root thought.
A perfect example of this premise is weight loss. Everyone wants to lose weight, and hardly anyone ever keeps it off, making the perfect recyclable resolution. Examine it. Is it to be sexier? To be healthier? To live longer? So your bones don’t ache? So you will like yourself more? So other people will like you? Now, take this thinking a little further. How can you address the root desire? Is it an attainable goal? Let’s just say that you want to do it to be healthier. What does that mean? To be able to run? To exercise? To have a better resting heart rate? To lower blood pressure? To lower your BMI (which is an inaccurate barometer of health)? Can you address any of these needs directly, without blanketing it into a big order? Believe it, you can become healthier without focusing on pounds. Weight is one indicator of health, but it is an incomplete picture. Think about what you are after, and know it. If you choose to embark on a diet, go for it. All I suggest is that you know why. And then, if you find that you can address it directly, do.
Apply this thinking to any of your resolutions, whether they are financial, spiritual, organizational or physical. Then, you can institute change with your eyes wide open and a clear goal, caring for yourself.
A resolution that I think we can all get behind, and should is this: Move your body joyously every single day, whatever that looks like for you. Swimming, yoga, weightlifting, jazzercise, stationary bike, dancing, whatever…find something, and do it. And exercise makes pretty much everything come true, from confidence and self-worth to a “sexier” heart rate.
If you’d like to give yoga a whirl, I’m teaching Mondays 9:30 am and 7 pm, upstairs at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose. Email me if you have any questions, and I am also available for private and small group sessions. Come tonight!