I know it’s the end of the year (heck, it’s the end of a decade!) and I know that you are likely feeling pressure to get on with it – the diet, the detox, the redo, your big ambitious goals for the New Year. It is almost impossible to escape social media and all the choices to renew, reset and regroup. Before you do anything though, I hope you take a second to read this.
Actually, go make yourself a cup of tea, get in a comfy chair by the fire and settle in. There’s no rush.
I know how you feel. This time of year is full of high pressure to look back, evaluate where we’ve been and what is going to get fixed in the next 12 months. Even though I spent years doing this to myself, and have learned how to ease more into another post holiday season, I still can’t help it. Be it my career, getting my home in order or my weight, I think we are all conditioned to use December as a hard stop on what we’ve been doing, with January as the impetus for change.
But what an odd time of year to feel like we need to take quick action. It’s winter after all – cold, dark, drizzly, snowy. My brain is conditioned to start beating myself into submission and my body just wants to rest, contemplate and plan. My best work and biggest personal changes have always occurred in April, the spring, with all its light and warmth.
Nonetheless, here we are and I am sure you are getting inundated with diet specials and exercise discounts. I don’t want you having another year of unreasonable resolutions that lead down the path to frustration. Here’s a few things to think about before you jump into diet abyss.
Focus On The Goodness. What is good in your life right now? For me, I just had the best couple of weeks with my kids home, cooking for them and just being with them. They are all healthy and in a good place. I really made a point to be mindful about my holiday eating and did not beat myself up for having a dessert on Thanksgiving, or any other holiday for that matter. Go into the New Year feeling positive, we have so much to feel grateful for and it helps to know that we are starting the time from a place of abundance rather than lack.
Get Refocused On Your Why. The holidays remind me of the Disney story Cinderella. Cinderella is at the ball, when suddenly the clock strikes midnight and there she goes, back to her rags. At the end of the holidays we are sort of left the same way. We’ve been in a whirlwind of parties, celebrations, togetherness, family – and we now might be left with extra weight, exhaustion, a freezer full of extra holiday cookies and a grey, dark day. Do not start a diet out of reaction and the disbelief of what just happened. Rather, visit what I call your “why”. Take a moment to really feel this. Why do you want to lose weight? In order to be successful, your why has to have deep feeling behind it. Tap in.
Are You Ready? Making changes, setting goals and executing them takes a certain mindset. Half in means half out. If losing weight or addressing a health issue is on your list, you need some skills. Learning how to eat well and be well is like learning how to ride a bike, and I promise you, there is not a single book or website that can teach you that. It has to come from you. Rather than jumping in and failing from lack of experience, this might just be the time to evaluate what you need for success. Maybe it is series of cooking classes or a session or two of nutrition coaching. Think about what help you need before you start.
Have Compassion For Yourself. We can be our own worst critics, can’t we?I know I used to be. January was the time to “get it together” after all the damage done in December. I could look in the mirror for hours, wondering how I had gained that five pounds around my stomach. This harsh criticism never worked. Wherever you are in your life have the kindness to give yourself a gentle break. We are all doing our best in the stage of life we are in and at the same time filled with pressure to look or be a certain way. Did you eat too much on Christmas? It’s okay. Start again.
Ease In and Set Small Goals. So you’re ready to make changes, have a new year, even a new decade. You have a world of possibilities. Slow down, take a deep breath, exhale. There is time. Honor the season of rest and contemplation, give yourself the space to plan and set goals. Set yourself up for success this year and enjoy the journey. Rather than “I have to lose 20 pounds” you might want to up your game in the kitchen and learn some new recipes to wow your family. Seeking more friends and community might be another fun goal. Sign up for a workshop or event at the Kitchen.
2020 is your year! How do you want to make it different? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.