Happy 2013! And to 2012, good riddance.
(Hello from New Year’s Eve in the Outer Banks.)
I never really got the whole New Year’s resolution thing.
To me, it seems as though we shouldn’t have to rely on just one day a year to re-evaluate what motivates us — to reset our intentions — in the first place. If we can be conscious of our own personal pitfalls — where we sometimes fall short in relation to where we could pick up the slack — then not only would we avoid this reliance on resolutions, but we could stop feeling as though we’re starting from zero at the start of every year.
With New Year’s resolutions, it seems as though we basically give ourselves the option to accept that we’ve been naughty — in the kitchen, in the gym, wherever — and then turn over a new leaf for the next 365 days and beyond. Yet not long after we sweep aside the confetti and toss the last of the champagne bottles, we realize that holy crap 365 days is a helluva long time. We slack. We quit. We concede and say, maybe next year.
It can become, in the words of Fat Bastard, a truly vicious cycle indeed.
That’s why I stopped setting such steadfast goals for the new year long ago. Instead, I aim to create resolutions that are rooted in things I don’t necessarily associate with happiness. Happiness shouldn’t reside in achievement alone.
Last year I resolved to accessorize more and mix patterns. A year later: mission accomplished. See? Flower shorts and plaid. Bam.
This year, I’ve resolved to stop dressing like I’m homeless (a habit from my days in a startup environment); take pride in my appearance and adopt a more professional day to day look.
In this vein, I also shy away from resolutions that place the spotlight on weight, body, skin, physical fitness levels, pant sizes and the likes. While, when reached, such lofty goals can be an incredible source of value and strength in our lives, when not reached, they can feel almost oppressive and cruel.
As a healthy living blogger who not all that long ago consumed meadows-worth of meat and mocked gym rats and yogis (the irony is surreal), I have set these kinds of goals in the past myself. “I will avoid burgers and french fries.” “I will eat less carbs.” “I will work out every-single-day-twelve-times-a-day.” I will, I will, I will. I get it; extreme feels good in theory. If it didn’t, why would we runners push ourselves to greater distances and speeds? Or wake up at 5am willingly?
Moderation, however, is what feels good — and more importantly, what works — in the long run.
This year, instead of eschewing burgers altogether, vow to incorporate a few new super-ingredients into your diet. Try kale. Try nutritional yeast. Try goji berries. Be creative, and have fun with it. You might even find yourself having so much fun playing chef that, like me, you’ll ultimately wind up forgetting about the burger; and when you do order the double whopper on occasion, it’s not the end of the world.
(From experience, I really can tell you that over time the healthy choices naturally overtake the non-healthy ones. It’s a very organic process, and one I can honestly say I am proud of. On that note, it’s also kind of fun to taste test cupcakes every now and then. Proof from Christmas break below.)
This year, instead of vowing to work your buns off everyday at the gym, try getting into a new form of exercise. Have you tried spinning? (I haven’t yet!) Does yoga pique your interest? How about running? Pilates? Zumba? The amazing part of the fitness world is its endless possibilities. Stop forcing yourself to simply “work out” and instead, experiment with different activities to find something you are truly passionate about. Last year, I got really in to running with friends. Noah included.
(Here we are in North Carolina over New Year’s.)
There are, of course, days when running feels like a chore rather than a passion. It happens; it always happens. We’re only human, and sometimes, our innate need for a lazy day on the couch overwhelms that inner drive that makes us tick and keeps us moving forward.
This year should be about you; after all, you deserve it. Make a list, check it twice, whatever. Just be sure that, when you do create your list of resolutions for 2013, that you think up ways to improve your life in the long run — not just through Valentine’s Day. And remember, it’s not about what you inhibit in your life; it’s about what you add.
- How will you add value to your life in 2013?
- What are your New Year’s resolutions?