I’ve always felt an inner conflict in making “new years resolutions.” There’s a part of me that wants real change – excited for possibilities and ready to embark on a new journey! And a piece of me that’s resistant to setting myself up for the inner critic to come online and judge ever-so-harshly how I’m failing at actualizing what I really want. But this year, after several conversations around the topic of creating New Year’s resolutions (or intentions), I’ve come to a new understanding.
Here are my tips to create a new relationship with resolutions - or any attempt to make a change:
1. Start with acceptance.
So often I want to make a change from a place of hating what is. That might look like my habit of procrastination, carrying extra weight than I’d like or not exercising as often as feels good. If I’m in a space a HATING what’s happening, I’m resisting the reality of what actually IS. Ever hear the saying “what you resist persists”? I find this to be true, especially in the realm of health. When we are able to make a change from a space of love for ourselves, (aka it’s okay that I have this extra ten pounds, I have been focusing on other things in life), instead of hating that we look a certain way, change is much more likely to stick. We don’t need to start with the assumption that we’re a bad person or failure for being in the place that we’re starting.
2. Allow honest self-assessment.
There are so many ripe opportunities to get to know ourselves more deeply when setting the intention to make a change. Many ways that we might surprise ourselves with With any habit change, we are going to need to let go of the previous habit. If we want to exercise more, perhaps we will be exchanging that time for the habit of watching TV in the evening or extra sleep in the morning. Sometimes we are ready to let go of the old habit, and sometimes we really are not. And there’s no judgment in the readiness, but an honest answer to the question of “am I ready to let go?” puts us in a space ready for changes.
3. Ask yourself “What makes me come alive?”
When setting ourselves up for a life of healthy habits, one of the most important questions we can continually ask is “what makes me come alive?” What/where/when do I feel excited for life? What brings me a sense of joy, fulfillment and purpose? Exercise is a great place to look at this question. If we tell ourselves that we must run an hour each day, but we hate running, we are setting ourselves up for a constant inner battle. Why not look at what type of exercise feels good? Maybe dancing (or Zumba) lights up our hearts as well as gives a great workout! Maybe climbing or biking or hiking energizes us on a deep level beyond the physical. Perhaps you’re an individual that thrives in social settings and loves group sports. Maybe there is a group or buddy that can share your passion! Find what feels good to you.
4. Create support and accountability.
Even when we are engaging in habits that help us to feel good, it can be extremely helpful to create a system of accountability. Whether that looks like finding a buddy, an online group, an in-person support group, or hiring a professional for support; create some regular check-in’s to hold yourself accountable to your intention. We all have our own inner saboteur, and it can be extremely powerful to acknowledge this piece of ourselves and strive to move beyond. And when we witness our inner saboteur come online, we can even speak to this and recognize it for what it is. Not that it’s a bad or wrong piece, but that it exists and we don’t have to believe the lies that it feeds us. We are deserving of the life we desire to create, no matter what this saboteur voice tells us. And a group, buddy or professional can be a wonderful way to remind ourselves that we are more powerful than our saboteur. If you'd like to learn more about what I can offer in working together, please feel free to email Meghan@TrueNourishment.org.