I’ve never kept a New Year’s Resolution in my life. Really, in August, do you ever stop to think about some idea you came up with eight or nine months ago? Nope. Not me, anyways.
So this year, instead of making a promise that I’m not going to keep, I thought about all the things I want to cultivate in my life; things that feed my soul, make me feel more alive, things that get me out of bed in the morning, and keep me healthy and happy.
Try this exercise: Sit quietly with your notebook in a place you feel safe and comfortable. Picture your ideal life. How would you spend your leisure time?
How can you start doing that now? Build these activities into your life, just like you would new tasks for work, or household chores. Share your dreams with your friends, and ask them to join in. Doing what you love to do can be as important as doing what you have to do.
-Art is important to me! Being creative helps me feel more self-expressed, and gives my brain a break from problem solving. I built writing into my morning routine; after I get up and do my stretches, I sit down with a pen and just write. I also set up an art date every week with my roommate, when we pull out our old magazines, and make collages and small paintings for three hours together.
-Playful movement is also important to me. It makes me more confident in my body, and keeps me healthy. If I were to make a resolution around this, I would say “I am going to get 30 minutes of heart pounding exercise every day!” Saying that is great, but working into my life in a sustainable way will make it stick. I already ride my bike to work on most days, and go to yoga three or four times a week. What can I do to get moving on days when it’s too icy to bike, or I’m too busy for yoga? I can call a friend and ask if they can meet for a walk, or I can look up my favorite music video and spend half an hour trying to learn the dance moves. Around four o’clock, I look up from my desk and think “Oh man! How am I going to move around today?” It gets me going.
-Healthy cooking is important to me, and so is sharing food with people I love. I looked at the calendar for the next couple months, and marked down five or six nights that I could have small dinner parties. Nothing fancy, just an opportunity for me to try out some new recipes and see some friends. I think about who I would love to see, and send out invites. Having these dinners in the future encourages me to go grocery shopping and learn new recipes frequently, which keeps me having fun in the kitchen.
Do you see the common thread? Pick something you love, make it a priority. Include your loved ones in your plans. Figure out the groundwork that needs to be done, i.e. buy a few new tubes of paint, renew your yoga membership, and make a regular grocery list. Set yourself up to love your life. That’s way more inspiring that resolving to lose fifteen pounds. The secret is, if you’re loving your life, you’ll probably lose the weight without trying.
(P.S. My name is Lily Calfee! I am a Wellness Counselor in Boulder, Colorado. I teach women how to think and eat healthier to be their most radiant selves. My clients come to me overweight, stressed out and depressed, and transform their lives to experience energy, joy and self love. Learn more at IdealNourishment.com and read more blog entries here.)