Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year’s Resolution Revolution

Rumination. According to Webster’s, it means to go over and over things in our minds. And this time of year, many of us do just that: we reflect on the last year and our perceived failures and lack of accomplishment. We beat up on ourselves with “cheery” New Year’s resolutions like, “I will stop eating junk food and lose 20 pounds,” or “I will stop smoking and start exercising,” or my personal favorite, “I will stop being negative and complaining about everything.” These lofty goals, usually touted along with giving up one of our vices, set us up for failure. It’s not that we can’t do these things. It is that we handle ourselves with iron fists, demanding we give up our favorite foods, our long-held habits, without any room for error or forgiveness.

So, rather than making New Year’s resolutions that may be unattainable, why not try out some New Year’s “revolutions,” instead? What’s the difference, you ask? I’m so glad you did.

1. Want to lose weight? Try out this instead: I will learn to love my body, regardless of my clothes size. Here’s the reality of the equation that a friend of mine who lost a lot of weight discovered: Even if you lost all the weight and looked exactly as you desired, your problems in life, love and work would remain. Your frustration with your least-loved body part would still be there. It’s truly about loving ourselves completely, embracing the imperfections, and valuing who we are as people, that will make us happy. The weight? It will probably come off in time, if you just love yourself up enough. Because when we love our bodies, we want to give them what they need, rather than just eat out of emotional desire or social dictates.

2. Quitting smoking? How about something like this: I will discover what things make me happiest, and do those instead. We smoke because of many different factors. And those that push past tough addictions often do so because they find something else to fill the void that the addiction has been disguising. So instead of putting the focus on “quitting” something, why not turn it into finding something you love? Whether it’s a new hobby – parasailing? Scrapbooking? Building replicas of machinery? Or engaging in more social activity, or joining a dating site, or finding new folks to spend time with via meetup.com. Whatever it is, when we place our attention on positive changes, the old negative ways are much easier to let go of.

3. Looking for a more positive outlook? Add this to your daily self-talk: I acknowledge the good and the bad in life, though I choose to dwell on the positive aspects most of the time. Truth is, while paying attention to only the negative is dangerous, positive thinking can be just as treacherous. Finding a balance, allowing yourself the normal emotional swings that accompany life, while still seeking the silver lining, tends to be healthiest – and most achievable – mindset when it comes to altering our attitude. So go for acceptance, with a side dish of positive thinking.

One of the downsides to New Year’s resolutions is creating ideals that we can never reach. So let’s revolutionize our thinking, go for a more reasonable approach, allowing for human error, balance, and life’s twists and turns. You’ll be able to craft the change you want to see in your life, while drawing happiness and satisfaction to you, as well, by simply tweaking these small elements.

What have been your most successful life changes? What steps did you put in place to get there? How have you revolutionized your thinking?

Live Healthy. Live Smart

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