Resolutions That Work

I love New Year’s Resolutions. I love the feeling of having a fresh start, and taking stock, and planning for improvement. I think it’s very healthy to look at your life, and make goals about how you’d like to grow. The worst feeling I’ve had in my experience is stagnation, and New Year’s Resolutions can be a great way to make sure you’re still moving forward.

The problem with Resolutions is that they often focus on fear and self-loathing. People tend to pick the thing they hate most about themselves and resolve to change it -- and frequently this takes the form of trying to change their bodies.

Why doesn’t it work? You may feel strongly that you want to lose weight and that your life will be better if you’re thin. But here’s the thing: you’re still the same person on January 1 that you were on December 31, and you still have the same insecurities, limiting beliefs, and emotional struggles.

(I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that dieting has a 95% failure rate and actually causes weight gain over time, but that’s for another blog post…)

Nothing happens overnight that will suddenly make it possible for you to fix the problems in your life. You have a limited supply of will-power, and the excitement and motivation of a resolution quickly wears off as you realize you’re still the same person living the same life with the same challenges and fears.

You can’t fix the symptoms until you find the source of the problem, and I’m willing to bet that dissatisfaction with your body is caused by some form of insecurity, fear, and anxiety about life.

You may need to look no further than your own experience to see that trying to lose weight doesn’t do anything except keep you busy for a while. It gives you a temporary sense of productivity and action, but the source of your problems remains untouched.

You may be asking yourself, “Well, then what am I supposed to do? I AM unhappy with my body!”

Start seeing your feelings about your body as a symptom of your problems rather than the cause of them.

Just let that idea germinate inside you for a while and see what comes up. If your body isn’t the problem, what is? If trying to change your body won’t help, then what will? Why do you use food for comfort? Why can’t you accept your natural shape? Why do you think life will be better if you change the way you look?

Most importantly, ask yourself how you want to feel this time next year. Do you want to have just survived another holiday season feeling insecure, obsessing about food, and worrying about what people think of you? Or do you want to enjoy authentic happiness, feel peaceful and calm, and engage deeply with your loved ones? Do you want to groan every time you pass a mirror, or do you want to feel confident, happy, and know you’re living your best life?

At every moment, you have the ability to make a different choice about how you are living your life. You don’t have to wait until January 1 to decide that you’re ready to respect yourself and live life to the fullest.

During this season of diet-talk and resolutions, choose your goals thoughtfully. Aim for authentic peace and happiness, rather than temporary control (and imminent failure). It’s absolutely true that diets don’t work, but they also completely miss the point.

Where are you going to be in a year? How happy will you be? What kind of life do you want to be living? Think big, and get started.


Done With Dieting

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