New Year’s Day is a blink away. And with it, the resolutions, and the bittersweet potion of hope and doom.
I spent seventy eight million New Year’s Eves thinking this would be the year I would lose weight, that I would change my life forever and that this time, well this time would be it. I prayed that for the very first time in my life I would find a healthy weight. And though that one time I did follow through to lose 135lbs didn’t begin neatly on the first of the new year, the resolve to change can happen this year for you. Because even if you’ve tried and stopped and fallen and gotten back up and then thrown in the towel a hundred times over, one of those attempts will stick. Trust me, one of these times will be your time.
It’s not about a specific diet, not a plan, not quitting everything that tastes delightful cold turkey. It’s just listening to your body and your heart. Doing all the things you know you should be doing- like moving it for thirty minutes a day or eating vegetables with dinner- and letting that momentum drive you onward and upward to your goal. There are small changes that make a world of difference. But the real work starts upstairs in your mind. Put pen to paper, get unbearably honest with yourself, and write down two lists: what you want out of your life and yourself and what obstacles are in your way to living that life. Spend time with those lists; look them over; analyze the columns. Use adjectives for how you want to feel- energetic, positive, and productive. Think about the things you could add to your life, or the things you could do, to make those adjectives the way you feel everyday. I did this.
I made lists and wrote a letter to myself. I exposed every nook and cranny of doubt and fear and anger and resistance and hope. And then I made one final list. But this one contained the small steps and additions that would allow me to move into those optimistic adjectives I’d written. The list stated things like, ‘walk for 10 minutes in the morning before starting the day, walk for 10 minutes after dinner, take the stairs, make half of my dinner plate filled with vegetables, add an apple everyday, drink 5 glasses of water, ask Kate if she wants to meet for a walk in the afternoon, take a pause each night before bed when I’m really craving not one, but four packs of Ring Dings and ask myself why I’m dying for them, switch to whole grains.’ They were manageable. I could do these things.
Think about it, we make ‘To Do’ lists all the time of things we need to accomplish outside of ourselves. Why not make one for your mind and body? I can’t tell you how much this helped me. Because even if you think you know all about your goals, your obstacles, your wishes and desires for your life, you really see more when it’s inked on paper. Lots of times we have big ideas floating around in our heads and we think they’re formulated and supported without question, but when you really force yourself to articulate those things- to assemble them into coherent facts and figures- you see so much more. Some of them aren’t true and you realize you’ve been toting around a duffle bag of false information for the last five years. Some of them allow you to read more deeply into who you are and how you’re hurting.
Whatever you want this year- to lose weight, to find a more fulfilling job, financial stability, stronger friendships- know that they’re not unattainable. Having a big, beautiful picture of the future in the clouds of your head is unbelievably helpful, but live each and every day as a unique experience. Be in the present moment, always. This will help to make the days and weeks more manageable. You won’t feel as overwhelmed.
Ask yourself- Can I do it today? Just today? And you’ll find, you can.
Here are my favorite posts that I’ve written about weight loss and maintenance in the past year. If anything, they might just help to give you a sense of shared experience- that someone gets what you’re going through. Maybe you’ll feel hopeful. I want that to be true because I wish you the best for 2011. The very very best.