Let me ask you something…
What kind of a 2016 are you trying to create? And is it making you feel good?
Maybe you’re dreaming of 2016 being the year you finally lose those 10lbs, run 10k or kick a particularly bad habit. By summer, you’re going to be this shining, luminous, goddess of a person that has everything together at last. People will notice the change in you and constantly comment on your newfound beauty, wit and general fabulousness… 🙂
So you start your deprivation-style diet. You begin every day by standing on the dreaded scale. You take yourself off to that bootcamp, sweating through the freezing cold, rain and militant orders. You feverishly count points and calories as if they were your new Rules For Life. And you turn down social engagements because there’ll be too much food and drink temptation.
But, of course, you eventually crack. After weeks (days?!) of this deprivation and austerity, you find yourself eating All.The.Things. Someone offers you a slice of pizza and you dig in hungrily, polishing off five pieces while washing them down with half a bottle of wine.
Why oh why does it always go like this? Why can’t you just keep it together and manage on ‘ladylike’ rations, a la celebrities and Victoria’s Secret models?!
I’ve been there 🙂
Setting Yourself Up to Fail
But what if you’re breaking your resolutions because you had set yourself up to fail all along?
Because the intentions we set at the start of the year can be powerful…or they can keep us trapped in the same old unfulfilling cycles.
It all comes down to your WHY.
Buddhist teachers will tell you that WHAT we do is much less important than WHY we do it. So the intention behind why you are doing anything will dictate the consequences.
If your motivation doesn’t come from a place of love, compassion, joy or kindness, then it will never turn out for the good.
Does it make you feel good to be hungry all the time? Did you really, truly ever enjoy the gym? Do you love sitting down with a salad when it is freezing outside or would you prefer something warming and cosy?
Because if what you’re doing is based around a desperate need to control your ‘unacceptable’ body or habits, rather than a desire to treat yourself better, then it will never succeed. You see, none of us responds well to disapproval or punishment.
What is True for You?
The reason your new healthy resolutions don’t stick is because they were never in line with what is true for you. When we push ourselves to do what we believe we should do, but don’t deep down want to do, it never works out.
Also, trying to change our habits because we believe there is something very wrong with us leads to misery. Because there’s a reason we have put on weight, lost our fitness, smoke or drink too much.
And unless that reason is addressed and healed, chastising and depriving ourselves only leads to more stress. And more unhealthy habits to cope with the stress!
I guarantee you that if you do not love who you are now, then you won’t be happy when you lose two dress sizes, give up smoking, get a flat stomach. You might look like a different person on the outside, but you won’t have changed on the inside.
My Story: The Chicken or the Egg?
When I was in my early 20’s, I was a dress size 16. I fantasised about being thinner, but it was never going to happen when some of my main hobbies were eating good food and drinking copious amounts of alcohol! Although I didn’t look like a cover girl, I was full of energy and giddy with happiness about my life.
Then in my mid-20’s, my parents split up and my family went through the worst kind of upheaval I could imagine. The shock of it all led me to get very sick. And I lost so much weight that I was finally the slim size I had wished I was all those years previously.
Except that now I was miserable. I continuously got compliments on how well I looked, but not many people knew that inside I was struggling with anxiety and panic attacks and terrible health problems. It took me many years to regain a sense of calm, to find ways to manage my health and to feel at ease and happy with myself again.
Now I eat well, look after myself and maintain a healthy weight, not through deprivation and strict rules, but by going easy on myself, listening to my body and looking after my needs. And I feel a million times better.
So does happiness come from changing yourself on the outside….or from changing yourself on the inside?
Will weight loss and fitness make you feel better about yourself…or will feeling better about yourself lead to weight loss and fitness?!
What’s the point in losing weight and getting fit, if we still don’t know how to actually feel good this year?
What Do You Really Want?
So isn’t it possible that you have it all about face? Rather than punishing and controlling yourself in order to feel good about yourself, why not get to feeling good about yourself first…then everything else will follow?
Diets and punishing exercise don’t work because they’re not real change. They’re forced change. Your beliefs about yourself and your life are not behind them…so you abandon healthy living like a hot coal as soon as you can! You never really wanted to change.
And starving and denial is a horrible, joyless way to live.
What is it that you really want – deep down?
Is it the ‘perfect’ body – or is it the confidence and self-acceptance that you believe will come with it?
Is it a flat stomach – or is it feeling attractive and beautiful to yourself and your partner (or potential partner)?
Is it weight loss – or is it the feeling that your life is under your control?
Don’t Wait on the Weight
Whatever you do, please don’t wait on the weight!
It’s time to feel the way you want right now. Because when you feel better, you take care of yourself and you eat better and look better. I promise you it’s not the other way around!
Our actions need to be in alignment with our beliefs and our feelings if they are to stick. When you love and honour yourself first and look after your own needs, you naturally eat good healthy food…because what else would you do when you feel so good?!
It’s the intention behind the diet change that gets the long-term results.
So How To Actually Feel Good This Year?
This New Year, let’s set some goals for ourselves which are loving and not punishing.
How can you love what you have now? How can you make a path of peaceful, loving change? How can you see that you actually have everything you need right now? How can you live the life you want now, rather than in the future when everything is perfect?
Let’s get the self-love in place first….then the change will follow much more easily.
January – The Month of Nourishment?
Although society is telling us we need to get those resolutions into action and go, go, go right now…how about we just slow down instead? January is actually not a month for action. It’s a month for hibernation and going within.
Just as everything in nature is asleep, so too should we be resting and cocooning. How about you just let yourself be?
That doesn’t mean you never change anything. Just not for now. When you are nourished, you will bring in changes easily – from a place of wholeness, self-acceptance and self-love.
Let’s put in place the foundations this month so that come the Spring we can all awaken and get going with blossoming too.
So feed yourself this January! Fill yourself up with all you need to feel good about yourself. In this way, food will cease to be the way you fill the void.
Ways to Nourish Yourself this Month
Ask yourself where you might need some extra nourishment right now in order to fill yourself up:
Connection: Do you need to spend more time connecting with your other half? Book in a couple of date nights or just turn off the tv some evenings and have a proper conversation. Or maybe it’s friends you need to see more of. There’s nothing so nourishing as time spent with girlfriends, having a good catch-up – do you need to book in a date?
Movement: If you’re feeling stiff and low in energy, you may be secretly craving some more movement. But ditch anything that doesn’t feel nourishing to your body and mind – instead try walking, yoga or dance. Yin or Restorative Yoga is particularly good for this time of year, as it’s slow and gentle and helps you rest and revive.
Feed Your Mind: Read some great books and watch some inspiring movies
Get Cosy: It’s cold and miserable outside! Cheer up by snuggling in front of a roaring fire with soft blankets and warm drinks. Get in the mood with this inspiration
Get Out: But sometimes winter mornings are crisp and beautiful. If you can, wrap up warm and get outside for a walk or cycle – maybe as part of your commute? It will fill you full of the joys!
Sleep – Winter is for rest. All of nature is resting and still right now. And this is what is being asked of us. Go to bed early and enjoy even more sleep than you are used to. Whatever you do, stop setting your alarm too early in the morning for painful exercise you will never stick to!
Feed Your Body: Eat warm, nourishing food and use lots of warming herbs and spices. Check out some recipes here for inspiration
Feed Your Soul: Instead of plotting your goals for the New Year, I recommend first finding your ‘word of the year’ by trying Susannah Conway’s easy course. This one word (it can be a feeling or a theme) will inform all your goals and decisions for 2016 and it is personal just to you. My word this year is ‘openness’. Last year it was ‘courage’.
So tell me, have you made New Year’s resolutions….and how how are they going so far? Will you be making any changes now or soldiering on nonetheless? Have you ever tried using a ‘word of the year’?
***NOTE: If you would like support with nourishing yourself this month, or help with making healthy changes, all reiki or nutrition coaching sessions with me are half price for the New Year!! Book your session today and get well on your way to a whole new you….***