Resolutions - On Discarding the Judgement
Happy New Year! Its 2019, and if you're like most people out there, you have a list of one or two or maybe 10 New Year's Resolutions that you are intent on sticking to this year.
You may have resolved to get into shape (finally) or lose 20lbs (again). You may have promised that you're finally going to quit smoking, or eat fewer carbs, or give up sugar.
I just want to start by saying - I hope you succeed. I hope whatever you have resolved to change in 2019 to make it your best year yet, that you find success in your endeavors. If it is something that you think will make your life happier, that you deeply and truly want for yourself, then I wish you all the success in the world.
But I wonder if we could stop for a moment and look at what our resolutions are really all about. All of our most common resolutions (losing weight, working out, dieting, etc) are about ways that we are unhappy with ourselves - with our bodies, in particular. We look at the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to start over, to get what we want out of life, finally, for once. As a mom, I find that I am particularly susceptible to the messages that society throws my way this time of year. "You need a new body!" the commercials seem to say, and because my body doesn't look like the model they are showing me, I believe them.
I am in no way suggesting that it's a bad idea to start a new diet or work out routine right now. But I am suggesting that you stop for a minute and examine your motives for making these resolutions.
I, too, have resolved to increase my weekly exercise regimen from twice (well, honestly, more often once) per week to 4-5 times per week. I've resolved to eat less dairy. And I'd be lying if I said that losing 15lbs would be bad. But here's what I'm doing differently this year. I'm examining WHY I'm resolving to do these things. And I think the motivation behind it is the most important thing. I stopped to examine my WHY because what I don't want to find at the root of my resolutions is a deep need to please others. What I don't want to find when I get to the bottom of things is JUDGEMENT.
Too often, I think we make these resolutions because society tells us we need to. In order to be loved or attractive, in order to be successful or taken seriously, in order to be a good example to our kids, we must fit society's ideas of what those things mean. If society says I'm only attractive if I lose those last 15lbs of baby weight, then by golly I'm going to do it! If society says that to be successful as a chiropractor I need to be uber fit (because how can I hand out health advise if I'm not the picture of health myself), then, come hell or high water, I'm going to Pilates class on Wednesday! If society says that screen time will make my kid dumber, then you better believe my next resolution is to throw my TV out with the garbage. But you know what? Trying to keep up with what society says I need to do does NOT make me a happier person. It only gives me so much anxiety that I'm opening a bottle of wine every night after Lorelai goes to bed and wishing I could go on vacation from now until June.
So this year, I'm doing things differently. I'm resolving NOT to make resolutions unless they serve ME. So my resolution to work out more? Its because I deeply and truly want to be fit enough to enjoy life with a 2 year old who never stops moving. Because I feel better when I move my body regularly - I have fewer aches and pains, I sleep better, and I can keep up with my kiddo. Exercising regularly will help my body to last longer, so that I can continue to enjoy my kiddo until she isn't a kid anymore, until she has kids of her own (hopefully!). And my resolution to cut back on dairy? Its solely because I know I feel yucky when I eat lots of dairy, and I want to stop feeling yucky when I eat food. I want my food to fuel me, to give me energy to live my life in the best way possible, so I can serve my patients and my family better. And I'm not resolving to lose weight, because, if I'm being honest, I don't need the anxiety that comes with worrying about whether or not I'm losing weight. And on a larger scale, I don't want to teach my daughter that weight matters. I want her to see me exercising and eating healthy, and not worrying about the rest of it.
This year, I encourage you to examine the WHY underneath the resolutions. If you have made a resolution that serves society instead of you, I encourage you to discard it. Discard the judgement, and the stress and anxiety that come with that judgement. You're more likely to keep your resolutions when they come from a deep place of personal longing to change, anyway. If you're only resolving to work out because that's what you're supposed to do, you won't succeed. Just ask any gym owner on March 1st how many new members have stuck around.
I would also encourage you to think outside of the box when it comes to making resolutions this year. Instead of making them all about somehow changing your physical appearance, maybe make your intentions more interpersonal. Try resolving to have more patience with your children (or your partner), or to be more present when you're with your family. Maybe you've lost a little of your self and your independence and you need to resolve to cultivate relationships with your girlfriends this year, or to finally start getting that monthly massage and taking care of YOU first. Resolve to have a regular date night with your hubby, or to start volunteering and giving back to the community somehow.
I know the joke is that no one ever keeps their resolutions. I know it's a funny meme that gyms are full on January 1st and empty by March. But your resolutions don't have to fail. You simply have to make sure that they come from a deep need or desire within yourself, and not from influences around you. You can't succeed when you're wanting what someone else wants for you. You can only succeed when you want it yourself.
I wish you the happiest, healthiest, most successful year of your life in 2019. But more than any of that, I wish you a year of getting to know who you are and loving that person more than you've ever known or loved her before. You deserve it.