It’s the beginning of a New Year, and resolutions are flying fast and thick. Are you looking hopefully at a new year and all its promise with the same old you staring back in the mirror? Does this make you want to just go back to bed and pull the covers over your head? You’re not alone. Might I humbly suggest something a little different this time around? Why not try a New Year’s Revolution—acceptance and curiosity. If we can focus on acceptance and curiosity, we can change anything. Accept where you are and get really curious about what you want to change and why.
I used to think if you want to change the things you don’t like about yourself, you need to buckle down and focus only on your new goal with unwavering determination, moving ever forward with a relentless pursuit of thinner thighs, rock hard abs or a bikini body by summer. It turns out I was way wrong. You don’t need an iron will, you need acceptance and curiosity.
If you truly want to change something about yourself, the first step is to accept that very thing you want to change. It’s kind of like going on a long trip with many difficult twists and turns; how do you reach your destination without a current location to plug into your GPS? You must acknowledge where you are, accepting all the things that you don’t want to face in the mirror, and do it with kindness. This is the only way to make lasting change, and unless it’s gonna’ last, why bother?
How many times have you lost and gained the same 5, 10 or 20 pounds? It’s okay; it happens to all of us. I’m just suggesting that you try a different path this time. Make this the year you succeed at lasting health and wellness. Okay smarty pants, how does that work? Is there a 10 step plan with menus and shopping lists for lasting wellness? Not really. What I can promise is that radical kindness and acceptance of your mind, body, and spirit, as it is right now, is the only starting point for lasting growth. And the next step is radical curiosity.
What do you want to change, and why? Unless you get really curious about what you want, and why, you’re just going through the motions of change. It won’t stick without the “why”. Sit down with a pencil and paper and write at the top,
“What do I really want to change, and why?”
If the answers you come up with are externally motivated (something someone else told you is necessary), draw a line through them and ask again.
For me, I want to add more strength training to my week, as my doctor told me that bone density is rather important in my advancing years. But that’s not a good enough reason. As I did this exercise, the answer that felt right in my gut is, “I want to add strength training to my day, because I want to feel stronger.” Last year was all about energy, so I cleaned up my diet, trying different foods and paying close attention to how they affected my energy. I kept asking, “I wonder if this will work better?” Radical curiosity transformed my energy. This year is about strength.
I want to change the way my body feels, because when my body is strong my mind and spirit follow. So, I’m teaching a new Body-Safe Bootcamp twice a week. It’s a Bootcamp built around challenging exercises that are safe for your body, because my new strength training program doesn’t include a trip to the doctor. As I surround myself with people having fun while building their strength, I want to do the same thing. I accept that I’m not so fond of strength training (because I’ve had so many injuries in past strength training classes), but I can start somewhere and move forward with curiosity and kindness.
This is the first step in our New Year’s Revolution, and we are spending the next weeks looking ourselves in the mirror and asking, “What do I really want to change, and why?” When I identify the things I want to change, then I accept where I am with kindness. A steady diet of kindness is the only one that brings everlasting wellness, and I want that for all of us in this, and every, year.