How about a “New You Revolution?”
That’s right. Not a New Year’s resolution, but a “New You Revolution.”
How many times on January 1st have you resolved not to do this or that, and by March, you’re back to doing what you’ve done all of the previous year? That new vegan diet is forfeited for a tasty piece of cheese. Gym membership, unused and a huge waste of money. Sugar, once again added to the sugar-free diet. And that savings account is suddenly converted to a spending account. We’ve all been there at some point. Year after year, many of us usher in a new year with the best of intentions, but not much changes.
Here’s the thing. Change is not in a date on the calendar. Change is in you. What if instead of going completely cold turkey with what you plan to give up, or striving to take over the world in a mere matter of months, you commit to making realistic sustainable life changes. Here are my tips on how you can trade in those New Year resolutions for a “New You Revolution” in five areas of your life.
Last year, I decided to begin to do something about the weight that I gained during and post-pregnancy. I had no set plan other than to get off of the couch and move. That’s when I began to walk once a week. Eventually, once a week turned into twice, which turned into three times. Walking was then interspersed with running. And then there was yoga. I had dabbled with it before, but once I became more physically active and incorporated it into my fitness regimen, my body began to crave it. I went from fooling around with it here and there to practicing it weekly. And guess what? I have seen results. I am stronger, leaner, and feel so much better. Had I not taken steps to become more fit in my own time and in my own way, I would have never discovered this practice that I now cannot imagine my life without. Make your physical fitness bigger than a new year resolution. Make it a welcomed addition to your life.
So here’s a hard truth I had to accept. No amount of exercise will take weight off and change your body unless you alter your diet. When I committed to getting myself moving more, I believed that I could still eat pretty much whatever I wanted, and that exercise would neutralize any harmful effects of my food intake. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Let me just put it out there. I love food. And the worst kind for weight management at that. I love pasta, bread, rice, cookies, pastries, and ice cream. But the sad truth is that those food do not like me–at all. So, I no longer eat white rice or white pasta except on the extremely rare occasion. I have substituted both for brown rice and whole wheat pasta. The last time I ate ice cream was about a half year ago while indulging in the cravings of a pregnant friend. And I have drastically reduced my overall intake of sugar. Ultimately, I want to be sugar-free. That is a vey lofty goal for me, so since the summer, I have taken baby steps in that direction. Healthier eating does not have to be about total deprivation, just alteration.
The more money you have, the more financial goals you can set. That’s just the reality. But does that mean that you should set no goals if you have limited resources or are nowhere near where you would like to be financially? Absolutely not. Any financial goal that is set and kept will bring you closer to your overall financial objectives. Consistently paying to clear a credit card balance (and not adding to existing debt), saving even $25 more per pay period, or spending less on entertainment or Starbucks (guilty) will gradually improve your financial condition. Do not let where you are not, hold you back from moving towards where you want to be. Start somewhere.
I have had my share of tough times. Some of them I have even written about in posts on this very blog. People who were once in my life no longer are. Some circumstances that I thought would never change have completely changed. As Langston Hughes wrote in one of my favorite poems, “life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” And many times, at my own doing. But it was in the depths of my trials and tribulations that I sought and drew closer to God. It is my faith that has enabled me to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward even when I cannot see where I am headed. No matter your religious beliefs, develop your spirituality. In this ever changing world, it truly is our only shelter in the storm.
I purposely saved this doozy for last. We tend to make our relationships far more complicated than need be. Now let’s be clear. When I say relationships, I mean mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, friend, or whoever. And boy was I the queen of complication. I held on to people who did not want to be held, had little to no boundaries for the people in my life, and straight up devalued or allowed myself to be devalued. But those days are long gone. After years of working on and getting myself together, I have gone from being the queen of complicated to the queen of cut off. If I think of a person and my heart does not smile, trust and believe that person is not in my life. That is my litmus test. I have learned, and usually the hard way, that the state of my life is a direct reflection of the people who are in it. The messier the people, the messier my life. The more loving, positive, and peaceful the people, the more delightful is my life. Your life is not an amusement park for people to run amock in. Standards and boundaries must be set. People who truly love and care for you will pour into your life as you do theirs. And if anyone chips away at your joy and peace of mind, free them. Forgive them for not being the person you wished them to be, get your Elsa on, and let it go.
Good luck with your New You Revolution! Wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016.