January is the month where we make new declarations of how our life will be different – and so much better. I will start that new diet, meditate daily, be more patient with my kids, lose 15 pounds, find a new job, etc. The list goes on, right?
The first Monday in January we enter with zeal and a committed resolve to get the life we want. But if you’re anything like me, somewhere around Tuesday afternoon, it has already faded and the new year stretches out in front of you like a death sentence. “Only 360 days left”, you gloomily think.
This year make it different. As you set your resolutions and daily patterns for how to achieve them, filter it through these 3 questions:
- Am I being kind to myself?
- Is this a simple, sustainable and enjoyable way to live?
- Am I moving forward in the right direction?
Let me share how this has played out for me as I enter the new year.
Am I being kind to myself?
I have to start with this question always. Why? Because I tend to try and do things in an ‘overachiever’ manner that only sets me up to fail. (I’m going to lose 10 pounds by Friday and go to the gym everyday making sure I burn at least 1000 calories.) Ok, I know a bit exaggerated, but you know that feeling you get where you’re just so disgusted with yourself that you set these ridiculous goals? This comes from shame-thinking. “You have been messing up so badly and way over-enjoying holiday eats that you better pull yourself together. Look at that scale! You should be ashamed of yourself!!” Ouch. We would never talk to anyone else this way, would we?
I’m entering my 5th decade this year, and I know this shame-based thinking NEVER works. Plus, I’m just flat out weary by it. It may get results for a brief time, but you’re miserable and making everyone else around you miserable. This is not how I want to achieve results.
It’s time for a kinder dialogue.
Dare to believe with me—that kindness will help you
move forward into the person you want to be
and the life you want to live.
For instance, as you step on the scale, try this: “Wow Sweetie! You really had fun this past month, didn’t you? Worth every bite, huh? Ok, now it’s time to deal with this. But don’t worry, I’m here with you. I’ll make sure to help you in a way that feels kind.”
And to make it even kinder, invite people to join you in this. I have beautiful people in my life who stand courageously and gently with me as I work to set Kind Resolutions (I’m going to lose 10 pounds in 3 months and enjoy how I do it—both in my exercising and my eating).
See how this simple mindset can set the tone for how you treat yourself all year long?
This is how we want to grow. Caring for ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. It’s the whole self that needs attention as we step into new ways of living. This is the kinder way.
Is this a simple, sustainable and enjoyable way to live?
As I thought about what I needed for my Kind Resolution, I knew I wanted to eat more plant-based foods. I enjoyed not only how they made me feel but the taste as well. To keep it sustainable, I committed to 6 weeks. And to keep it simple, I had foods prepared that I enjoyed ahead of time that I could reach for throughout the day. To keep it enjoyable, I am doing it with two of my favorite people, my niece and sister, and we take pictures of our foods and send our inspirations to each other.
(Tip: I am using Joel Fuhrman’s plan, Eat to Live because of its simplicity and how it makes sense to me.)
At the heart level, I knew I wanted to implement some kind self-talk. So, I’m starting the day with 5-20 minutes of meditation.
(Tips: I find that the One Minute Pause app and ideas from the book The Love Code have been just the right fit.)
And exercise needed to be enjoyable, but effective and efficient. I decided that 3 days of intense interval training for 20 minutes and 3 days of walking and weights worked for my life and schedule. But getting to the gym wasn’t the best fit because I don’t have the time to get there and back, and I don’t really enjoy it. So, I do most of my exercising around the home and neighborhood as I listen to my favorite podcasts and inspirational songs. Going to gym only when I want a change of venue or to join a friend.
(Tips: I like podcasts from Ransomed Heart and I have playlists titled with my word for the year. My 2019 Courage Playlist makes me feel SuperHuman as I work out! And I love the simplicity and focus of the 7 Minute Workout as I complete 3 cycles. Planet Fitness has an inexpensive monthly membership rate that doesn’t make me feel guilty when I don’t use it regularly.)
Am I moving forward in the right direction?
I tend to assess a little farther out. If I assess too much in the moment, it turns hypercritical. This is not kind. So, looking back over the week or month is a better rhythm to see if things are moving in the right direction. It helps me make the necessary tweaks in my daily practices to achieve the goals I want.
Lastly to remind myself that I’m not alone and have to figure it all out by myself, I invite God into my Kind Resolutions with a simple prayer like: