For the past few years I’ve debated the necessity and impact of ‘new year’s resolutions’. I think we can all agree that the ‘new year new me’ rhetoric is outdated and not all that useful
- as Matt Haig so wonderfully puts it ‘head towards yourself not away.
Because whilst I’m over here promoting unconditional self-love as the absolute foundation for happiness and success, where does ‘completely reinventing yourself’ for the new year fit into it?
BUT, there is an undeniable shift of energy at the beginning of a new year
And harnessing that renewed hope, optimism and sense of opportunity, to take a fresh step towards the highest, happiest, healthiest version of you (in each given moment because this will constantly change) is something I am definitely on board with.
As long as it’s approached in this way - and not with the old ‘new year new me’ nonsense: 1. Because that rarely lasts and 2. Because it implies the binary idea that the ‘old you’ is useless, broken, rubbish while the ‘new you’ is a perfectly polished upgrade - which isn’t how humans work and is certainly not a good mindset to begin at.
So where should we begin?
Here are my 3 fail-proof steps to approaching your new year health & fitness goals. (I’m serious, with this method you CANNOT fail)...
Start with LOVE!
As I just said, I truly believe that self-love is the foundation for E V E R Y good habit we create in life. Now while Instagram might have you think that self-love is learning to adore your cellulite or your crooked nose to the point where you believe you’re perfect, this couldn’t be more superficial or simplistic. Authentic self love is the act of accepting ALL you are right now and simultaneously committing to striving to be the best & truly happiest you can be - not because of societal pressures - but because you KNOW that is what you are worthy of.
With this as a solid foundation, you become aligned with your goals and gain the sense of self-worth, self-belief and drive to move towards them WITHOUT roadblocks like guilt, shame or self-doubt getting in the way.
People that feel good ABOUT themselves, do good things FOR themselves. It’s that simple. So while these two ideas become a cycle of positivity, it HAS to start from that feeling.
Think marathon not sprint!
The binary type ‘reinvent yourself’ thinking gives the impression that you are able to flick a switch, wave a magic wand or follow a 30 day diet plan and become ‘fit and healthy’, but that’s not the case! You are an ever-changing, ever-evolving, growing human being… and LIFE HAPPENS! Life doesn’t stick to a rigid set of rules when it dishes out our fate so giving yourself rigid rules to live by (x amounts of calories, x amounts of workouts, no more x type of food) isn’t going to work. And with this binary thinking, when you inevitably give up on the rules because they’re tough and boring, a) you brand yourself a failure and b) you likely swing back COMPLETELY the other way - because ‘what’s the point? you’ve already failed’.
It’s a marathon not a sprint. In the grand scheme of life, not working out for a week, a day a month IS NOT going to have a whole lot of impact. What will have a whole lot of impact is consistent habits that are enjoyable, sustainable & built from love that become the default - even when you’ve had a bloody weird year (hey 2020) and your usual routine has gone out the window. So focus on those, building them up slowly from the ground up! Sure it sounds less impressive than a ‘10 day transformation’ but do you want to be healthy for 10 days or do you want to be healthy for life??
Which brings me smoothly on to my final point:
LIFE IS FOR LIVINGGGGG!!
Seriously, when you’re 89 and you’re looking back. ARE you going to celebrate that size x dress you fitted back into perfectly, or all the kale smoothies you downed even though they tasted rank. Or are you going to celebrate the memories you created, the achievements you made, the moments you ENJOYED?! Of COURSE, being fit & healthy can aid our enjoyment of life by bringing us energy, vitality and confidence. BUT the second it starts sucking the fun out of meal times, workouts, social situations because myfitnesspal leaves NO room for freedom and spontaneity, it’s time to say nooo thank you.
Being truly healthy DOES NOT REQUIRE you to give up your freedom. It simply requires you to be aligned with what your mind, body and soul need, and with enough self-worth to want to nourish them accordingly.
Which brings us right back to self love!
You see?! It’s not complicated. It’s not fancy. And it doesn’t need ‘hacking’ with an app, detox or regime. Your new year health & fitness goals need to be approached gently, with compassion and consideration for what you actually want from life.