This is very exciting for me, my very first post on PositiveFitnessProject! I hope you all had a fun filled Christmas and New Year. No doubt over the last few days your Twitter and Facebook feed have been bombarded with all of the usual posts about drastic New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone has great intentions and sharing them is some people’s way of really committing to change. Seeing all of these can be quite overwhelming though, and for some, this time of year can trigger feelings of guilt about the over indulgences and anxiety about the weeks ahead. I hate to admit it (well actually no I don’t, I’m now happy to own it as Oprah would say), but I have felt like this in the past. In Christmases gone by I would feel guilty for over indulging, and really insecure about the consequences. This would coincide with the onset of the New Year and everyone’s lists of resolutions, making me feel totally stressed out and anxious. I would over analyse and wreck my head with questions, “I haven’t written my list of resolutions, I’m not ready.” “Should I be doing something new this year?” I should do this, I need to do that. Then there was the regret of things I hadn’t and maybe should have done over the previous year.
Last year I made a resolution that I kept for most of the year and I am so glad I did. I think it’s the first step in achieving any goal. I decided to give myself a break, give up the guilt and take a healthier, less torturous approach, not only to Christmas and New Year, but to life in general. This isn’t the usual step one of “How to achieve your goals” but for me it has been vital. We waste too much time looking back and feeling bad. Sometimes we even sabotage our progress by feeling guilty about things we haven’t done. It is such a waste of precious time.
This year, instead of feeling bad for over indulging over Christmas, I focused more on feeling very feckin’ blessed for all that I have around me, for the people, my home, the love and, of course, the chocolates. I regularly remind myself of this. It might sound very Mother Theresa of me, but I swear it has helped me turn a corner. I am not wasting time thinking “I shouldn’t have” or asking myself “Why did I do that?” We all have the ability to do this, it lies within, believe me. I decided to change my attitude and I think this is really important. Don’t get me wrong, those old feelings are still there and from time to time I really feel them but I am more aware, I know what will happen if I let them take over. I realise that I have a choice; I decide what to do with the thoughts. I can indulge my mind and let the guilt and negativity take over, or I can acknowledge them and replace them with something more positive. This is usually what I do, because for me, those thoughts have done nothing but hold me back. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t always easy and it takes practice but it can work and has done for me.
The next thing I think is integral to achieving a goal or changing a habit is DECIDE. Whatever it is you want from your life, from 2015, even from your day, you must first decide. Decide what it is you actually want. It may sound simplistic but looking internally, finding out what makes you happy is key and is usually overlooked when setting out pursue our dreams. Oftentimes we base our goals on what others are doing or what people expect us to do, which when you really think about it is madness. When I say others, I don’t only mean friends, family, society and the media but I also your other self, the self you’ve created, the person you think you want to be or the one you have created to keep others happy. All too often we set ourselves goals based on others expectations and when we don’t achieve them we wonder why, or even worse we achieve it but can’t enjoy the process or celebrate it fully. Could this be because it wasn’t our true desire? What do you want? Get this clear in your mind. Once you’ve taken time to decide what path you want to follow make a plan according to this, not according to what someone on Instagram is doing or what Twitter says is THE new fad. If you feel forced or pressured into something, you cannot succeed, so what is the point!? This is your time, you aren’t here to prove anything to anyone.
I also think we need to rename “New Year Resolutions”. The phrase stresses me out a bit! From now on it will be “New Intentions”. I prefer the word Intentions, it’s less judgey! Resolutions focuses on past behaviours and solving something, we aren’t problems to be solved. The word Intentions, however, focuses more on possibilities and the future. An intention is positive and hopeful. If we decide what our intentions are, write them down, put them out into the universe, I believe the universe can and will respond.
Let’s also remove the word “Year” because I can promise you that it does not take a year to make a real change in your life. For some people, the thought of 12 long months of hard work or “OOCZMs” (Out Of Comfort Zone Moments) can push them off the wagon before they even get on it. Last year, I found that my intentions changed during the year, life isn’t predictable, thankfully, so we need to be flexible. Instead of looking back at the end of 2014 and seeing a list of “almosts”, I looked back regularly throughout the year, I saw my growth and achievements and was very motivated by these. Similarly, this regular reflection gave me the gentle shove I needed from time to time. That is why I believe writing your intentions down on paper is vital. It’s a great way to feel more committed, it makes thoughts more real, more achievable and with pen and paper in hand it gives you the opportunity to make a solid plan. I find writing my intentions down on paper helps me to focus, plan and get excited about what’s ahead rather than freaking out about it.
Once you are clear on where you want to go then you need to go for it, give it socks! This isn’t always easy though is it? Especially if getting fit is your goal and you hate exercising! Trust me, there is something out there for everyone. Exercise, movement, being active is an innate ability, something we all have, we are born with it. All of us can become fitter, yes even you! It is incredibly important to enjoy the process though, otherwise you will not stick to it and where’s point in that? It will just become another reason for you to feel bad about yourself next January. Enthusiasm breeds success and you can’t be enthusiastic about something you despise. So don’t go back to what you tried last year, try something new, a different path to the one you’ve taken before, or maybe change your attitude to something you’ve done previously, it may be all you need to see lasting change.
One last thing, last year I took a more chilled out approach, I changed my attitude, I worked really hard on my goals and it made for a really great year filled with abundance. It wasn’t all positive but I decided to deal with the knocks in a more positive way and made room for less guilt and worry in my mind. Don’t try to be the very best, do YOUR very best where you are and with you have. Nothing is perfect, we are all works in progress, so commit to doing your very best right here and now and see what happens. Decide to approach this brand new year as an exciting time, an opportunity to reenergise, to set New Intentions and take your life in the direction you’ve always wanted.