Could how we do each new year with all our goals, revisions, diets, plans, etc be hurting us more than helping us? Could that life-style actually be harmful?
Many upon many people find themselves in the dreadful cycle of making goals, starting to prepare to do them and getting in that mind set when the new year comes, and then not going through with their plans. All these people are making new diet plans, planning exercise routines, committing to quitting an unhealthy habit, etc. But has anyone ever actually sat and thought, “This year I won’t have any New Year’s resolutions. I will simply try to accept myself as I am in this non- accepting world?” The answer is most likely no. Most people get caught up in changing themselves and forget the beauty of true simplicity and self-acceptance.
That’s it: Simplicity and Self-Acceptance…
The act of accepting oneself is beautiful. When we can learn to stop worrying about the next diet we will try, the next “perfect” exercise routine we will plan, the next bad habit we will try to quit, and so on, the more and more we will be able to truly discover who we really are as a person. We would be able to see who we are according to our personal values and not societies’ values. Not to mention, societies’ values are constantly changing based on current fashion trends and best selling products. So it is much wiser to trust your own values and not other peoples. When you really, and I mean really think about it, do you really want to dedicate your year to things that go by societies’ values and standards and that are constantly changing? Or would you rather dedicate your time to self-exploration, finding your self worth, and bettering your mind and spirit? I know I would much rather choose the second choice!
In an article I read recently in a group James Downs states in Five Alternative New Year Resolutions To Avoid The Self-Improvement Craze that, “a relentless focus on changing ourselves does come with the risk of forgetting the value of acceptance.” Downs makes a great point by saying that when we are constantly focused on getting better we can forget the value of accepting ourselves. Downs goes on to state that, “Whatever resolutions you may make, remember that self-optimistation is not a necessity – nor is it an obligation that determines your value as a human being. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are five alternative resolutions to resist the self-improvement movement.” He goes on to state these five points.
“1) Accept diet and weight are not straightforward choices.”
As James Downs states that he is a survivor of Anorexia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder, he makes the point that controlling eating is not in our hands completely. Our world holds the ability to follow a strict diet and make positive food choices as a “pinnacle of individual virtue.” Where as in reality it is so much more complicated. The ability to be aware of the wider complexities of dieting and weight can help us all live a more balanced life and have a less judgmental approach on our daily choices that influence our bodies.
“2) Exercise to be healthy, not an athlete.”
Exercising, like dieting and weight-loss, is held to a standard that is much higher than it should be really. If you can exercise this much per week or do a workout at this intensity then suddenly your value is higher than those who cannot. That doesn’t sound quite right does it? We should all exercise at our bodies’ pace doing something we can enjoy (or can learn to enjoy). You don’t have to workout every day after work to be good enough or have after-school practice every weekday to be considered “healthy”. Honor your body with accepting where you are athletically and doing what your body personally needs to be healthy.
“3) Regard images of the “ideal” body with distrust.”
For this next one I am going simply copy and paste because James Down said it perfectly.
“Instead of drawing comparisons between your body and that of airbrushed models or professional sportspeople, cultivate compassion and an appreciation for your physicality just as it is. This way, if you do make steps towards adjusting your appearance, it is from a place of fundamentally accepting and caring for your body, rather than disliking and rejecting it. Rejecting body image ideals can help us move away from thinking we “should” look a certain way, and towards a realisation that using appearance as a central measure of self-worth is not compulsory. Part of my recovery from anorexia involved learning to accept my body as inherently valuable whatever it looked like. I’d recommend it.”
“4) Buy things with awareness.”
Downs simply explains how we should again use awareness this coming year when buying. Are we buying because our mood is low or because we want the latest trend or newest electronic? It’s just something to consider to be mindful of your purchases.
Meditation is the act of finding yourself and learning to love what you find in the beautiful, imperfect process. Meditation can be 5 minutes of deep breathing; it doesn’t have to be the stereotypical yoga mat, dim lights, candles and “finding your inner self”. Practicing mindfulness and mediation can be a great way to renew your mind and spirit while also reducing stress. That being said, maybe you should try it out. Who knows, you may really like it.
So, that being said, go into this new year with awareness, self-compassion, and mindfulness.
I wish you all the greatest of years to come. May 2018 be filled with overcoming trials, discovering yourself deeper than ever while loving every piece, and tons of time with loved ones and also making new loved-ones and so much more. I pray for strength, compassion for yourself and others, and love, hope, and joy for each and every one of you, as well as myself. Happy New Years Eve lovely people!