When I was out shopping last week, I bought scales. I’ve never owned scales and only ever witnessed the psychological games they play with people’s minds, yet I went ahead with the purchase anyway. In the same week I cleared out the sweet and snack cupboard and made plans to get back into exercise in a serious way, despite some serious sleep deprivation because of my 6 month old baby. Was I just doing the typical January thing, because that’s what I normally do at this time of year? Then why did it feel odd and a little out of date. Was I following an old pattern or just doing what I thought was right? Then it struck me that the reason why it might have felt odd was because I hadn’t really given my body a say in the matter. If you truly listen to your body’s wisdom then you be surprised about what you might hear.
With time your body changes and therefore the way you look after your body ought to really change with it. I sometimes think back to the days where I trained many clients, trained myself and taught a number of exercise classes. I had the energy to spend for 10 people, was able to survive very happily on a few hours sleep if I needed to and I would put myself through many regimes of some sort. But that was before huge life changes such as having children and also many years ago.
If I truly listen to the wisdom of my body then exercise and healthy eating is no less important than before, but somehow my body seems to say “go easy with me”. Instead of going at it hard and making a workout or eating strategy a punishment, my body seems to say “let’s work together”. It is no longer just about being able to fit into certain clothes, it is about investing into my health and taking great care. For that reason other aspects of keeping fit have become more important such as yoga, stretching in general and meditation. I take great care to not become a victim of stress and to turn my back to negative influences. Instead of lean meals, I take great pleasure in making wholesome, healthy and nourishing meals for my family. Listening to my body’s wisdom also implies having a conscious mind and having a good balance between the two.
If you were to take a couple of minutes and took time to listen to the wisdom of your body, what would you end up doing differently? What would you change immediately and what would you change over time? It is a cliché to say that you only have one body and most do not appreciate it fully until things go wrong, but sadly that does hold a lot of truth in it. Use the power of the mind to go inside and connect to the parts of your body mentally that may need some care, almost as a kind of “checking in” exercise. It is all too easy to be based in our worrying brains day in day out, yet you can tap into your body’s wisdom if you want to and do what is good for you.
I asked many people over the Christmas break if they had any particular New Year’s resolutions, but most people said that they don’t believe in them. In fact most sounded utterly turned off by the idea of making some plans for January, convinced they would drop any commitment by February at the latest. So, are New Year’s Resolutions a good idea or do they just add unnecessary stress and pressure to the gloomy month of January?
If you look up resolutions in the dictionary then the first meaning is “finding a solution to a problem” and the second one “a decision to do something or behave in a certain manner”. After the festive season -with the benefit of a clean slate in the New Year-, I guess that time of year does lend itself well to making some resolute plans. I found that most people have strong doubts with regards to their own tenacity and determination, so the very reason for not making plans is because they do not trust themselves to see it through. So when people say to me “I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions”, they really mean “I don’t believe I will stick to it and see it through”.
We often count our failures and keep a long list of when we have let ourselves down. In addition we re-live those moments over and over when we account those stories to other people. After time it becomes a way of life. No doubt there are plenty of times when you haven’t let yourself down and success was the end result, yet often people let the negative weigh much heavier on the scales of experience.
So, New Year’s resolution or not? Should you –out of fear of disappointment- just slide into the year and see where it gets you? Treat 2013 as just another year, another bleak January and wait for spring to come? Research and experience teaches us that having an intention and a purpose ultimately allows you to achieve so much more. There is this innate quality in people that thrives when having a goal to aim for. And then there is the question of being able to measure progress, something that the 21st century attitude is so keen on. By not having a target, you will never know whether you actually came anywhere near…
Of course my coaching head says to set some New Year’s resolutions, to go about your life with intend and re-set the goals along the way. Being behind the steering wheel is ultimately the place to be if you want to go places. Maybe you will surprise yourself this year, as you boldly step over the fear of letting yourself down. If your goal is important enough to you, then you won’t. But simultaneously you can’t control everything in life. Occasionally you need to stop the car and assess the scenery, the roads and signs along it. Somewhere in between lies the happy medium. You can live your life in any way you see fit, you can determine how 2013 will evolve for you, but at the same time read those all important omens that guide you along the way. The difference between those who live a successful life and those who do not, is only what they see and how they translate it to themselves. Successful people have an open mind to see opportunities and operate from a base-point that things will turn out well. Now there’s a philosophy worth living by.