This is time of year when many of us think about resolving to make changes in our lives. What if we shift the way we think about change. Typical resolutions like, “I’m going to quit smoking, I’m going to lose weight, I’m going to exercise more, or I’m going to eat better” are secretly admissions of past years sins. By naming specific activities we are narrowing our life’s focus to a few ‘bad behaviors.’ Why not focus on what we really want out of life, and then make sure our choices are in line with that path. Let’s challenge ourselves to think about our upcoming resolutions as the creation of new opportunity, not as a rejection of a current lifestyle. Resolutions should be approached from a perspective of embracing a New Year with new possibilities, recognizing all that the previous year has given us, and welcoming in more.
We all probably had the advice, growing up, to create a 5 or 10 year plan for family and career, but what about how we want our lives to feel. How do we want to feel in that job? How do we want to feel with our family? Its one thing to set a goal and create a picture of what our life will look like. It’s another to plan how we want to experience that picture. If we achieve our goals of having a family but neglect our own health on the way, how will our family be affected by that? If we end up with the dream job but at the detriment of our wellbeing how productive can we truly be? What does your longevity in that career look like? This process is not necessarily about striving to create balance; it’s about making sure all the building blocks are in place for true success.
Moving forward doesn’t mean leaving the past behind
Moving forward doesn’t mean leaving the past behind. Before we move forward we have to acknowledge our present and our past. Behavior change means that the choices we’ve been making aren’t working for us anymore, and not everything has a place in the direction we see ourselves going.
Growing up I was 280lbs and I wish knew that being overweight didn’t make me bad or lazy, but, rather. it meant the choices I was making didn’t allow me to really experience all that life had to offer. After all, isn’t that really what we mean when we say we want to make a change? It means we want more out of life. Yet we seem to think that lifestyle change means cutting things out.
That’s the best part about change, it means more! When it comes to activity and nutrition it means we get to do more and eat more! Who doesn’t love that? Making a healthy change means there are more opportunities open to us. Life stops throwing up obstacles that we interpret as walls. We begin to feel empowered to overcome things rather than accepting defeat before trying. With nutrition, as an example, we get to eat different things and add more into our diet, not lose things. Some things we used to eat might not be as big a part of our diet as they used to be, but think of all the new options dietary change brings!
Making Change Permanent
Something needs to change. We aren’t sure what it is, but something isn’t working for us anymore. Maybe it’s weight, maybe its getting some blood work that doc is unhappy with. Or, maybe we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. Regardless of what the surface motivating factor is we’re ready to move forward in a different direction rather than just forward on the same path that doesn’t seem to get us to a happy place.
A surface motivating factor is the easiest thing to point to as a motivator to want to make a change. Typically it’s a common response we’ve heard million times to the question “why do you want to make a change”. The answer we give tends to be the simplest way to avoid delving any deeper into what brought us to a point of wanting something different. Surface motivation is just word association. I say healthy, you say weight loss, I say exercise, you say healthy, I say activity you say more energy. Making lifestyle change permanent means anchoring that surface motivation in something truly engrained in our value systems. The goal is to use these next few weeks and months to explore what it is that makes becoming healthier so important to us.
What do the words healthy, exercise, activity, energy, weight loss really mean to YOU? What does healthy mean to you? How do you define healthy? When do you know you’re healthy? Most of us have never thought about that. We just know we don’t really eat that well and aren’t consistently active so therefore we aren’t healthy. When we dive deeper into what health means to us, we find that it becomes about an increased sense of self-worth, a knowledge that we’re being more productive, or simply that we’re finally doing something for ourselves we knew we should have been doing all along. Being healthy becomes about our ability to truly be present for our own lives and the lives of those around us. The real question is what being healthy really gives us in our lives. The answer to that is the magic of lifestyle change.
The What is More Important than the When and How
When we decide on “what” it is that so profoundly grounds us to a goal, the “when” or the “how” we make that change become less important. We come into a gym, or start a diet with a goal of weight-loss but find ourselves constantly derailed from that goal, not because we lack willpower, or time, or knowledge, but because we didn’t take a moment to discover what was really important about making a change. If we are just losing weight because we’re supposed to and without a higher purpose, the odds of success are significantly lower. As an example, when we embark on a lifestyle change because we see our children growing older and want to be the Mom or Dad that inspires them to push themselves, to ask more of themselves, or to just take care of themselves, we will have a far higher chance at success. Focusing on being more for those around you is very important, but lets not forget one of the most important reasons for lifestyle change – YOU want more for yourself.
Self-care is the process and the goal.
Our lives don’t follow direct paths. When we find ourselves diverted from our original course it’s important to remember why we started the journey in the first place. Lifestyle change is about Self-care. Self-care can’t begin with negativity or a rejection of who we are at the moment. It has to be about embracing ourselves and an acknowledgment that we are capable of more. Not better. More. Being MORE active, eating MORE with more nutritional balance, educating ourselves MORE about our bodies, asking MORE out of life.
Labeling the journey as Self-Care is as important as deciding on the goal. The only reason for lifestyle change is to take an opportunity to care for ourselves more. This may translate into our ability to care for others, to feel stronger, to have more energy, to look at life with more openness, or it may just make us feel better about ourselves. Regardless, making a resolution in this upcoming year is saying “I am ready to practice more Self-Care.”
Was this Article Helpful?
If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons below. You will also find other great articles at “Personal and Professional Development“.
"My own path began with a weight loss of over 135lbs. That gradual transformation gives me the unique perspective of someone who has experienced both the anxieties and successes of trying to achieve something seemingly beyond them. I then took what I learned from that experience with weight-loss to other personal fitness goals. In the gym I have developed from a novice into a seasoned professional trainer. Athletically I have gone from a cycling enthusiast to a true race rider; from a runner to an event participant and coach; from a swimmer to a leader in large-scale multi-sport events. My focus and speciality is providing results while helping individuals and groups to achieve a higher level of proper body mechanics. I am lucky to be one of the first to provide Certified Foundation Training in Santa Barbara. I have taken the first steps on many fitness journeys and have the experience to help you on your own, regardless of the goal.
As a Personal Trainer, I am able to use a combination of personal experience, knowledge, and passion to truly help others on their roads to health and wellness. I hope my own struggles and achievements will allow others recognize that fitness, exercise, and nutrition can be an enjoyable part of everyone's lives."
Latest posts by Sean Yeager-Diamond
- Looking toward the New Year - November 21, 2014