Refining Resolutions

Enthusiasm for New Year’s resolutions begins to wane around the second week of January. I’d say that’s pretty normal, especially if the goals you’ve chosen aren’t authentically yours. It’s easy to be swayed by external so-called authority figures who proclaim to know what’s best. Yet I’m here to remind us all, myself included, that we are each our own authorities.

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Perhaps your resolutions could be tweaked slightly, rather than tossed out completely. I find it helps to know my “why”, the underlying motivation that causes me to seek change. Oftentimes resolutions are strategies to achieve a why, but there are likely other avenues that could help you reach your destination. There’s no shame in changing course when you realize you’re on the wrong path!

It’s common for people to choose goals related to health this time of year. In spiritual circles, I hear people talking about going vegan and eating more kale. True confession: I’m a carnivore. Yup. I eat meat. Red meat. My body feels better when I do. I’d prefer to be a vegan, frankly, as the cost of grass-fed beef is outrageous. I’d fit in better, I suppose, if I went along with the crowd, but it wouldn’t actually serve my health. I do want to minimize my impact on the environment, so I’m committing to experiment with the minimum quantity my body needs.

Same with dairy. Holy moly, do I love cheese! Yet I’m not interested in supporting the cruel practices of factory farming, so I’m going with small family farm products, switching to goat cheese more, and replacing half and half with homemade hemp or nut milk. If I began the year pretending to be vegan, I’d be ready to throw in the towel about now. I’m glad I’ve learned to listen to the expert on me: me.

Another confession: I don’t like kale. There, I said it! And I have zero interest in eating salad in the winter. No thank you. So, I can just skip those trendy resolutions and opt to eat a variety of organic, locally grown seasonal vegetables, roasted or made into fabulous stew. I’ve thrown out enough slimy kale and wilty lettuce over the years to know that it’s just not going to happen. That doesn’t mean I can’t improve my eating habits; I just need to do it my own way.

I might not like kale, but I truly loathe the gym. Ugh. Voluntarily immersing myself in an atmosphere of suffering is just not my idea of good health. Plus, I can’t turn off my knowledge of body mechanics and it distresses me to see people doing things that are likely to cause injury. Nope, not for me. I’ve recently sworn off vinyasa yoga, which is the primary style offered in my area. It’s just too fast for me. Teachers always say to go at your own pace, but they don’t mean four times as slow as the tempo they’ve set- it disrupts the flow for the whole class.

So, while I’m aware that I do need to move my body more, the most common tactics are not a good fit for me. Luckily the woods are nearby and full of steep hills. My rebounder is even closer and a great choice for intense exercise that minimizes the jarring of mature joints. I know that the stretches I benefit the most from are those that I resist because they’re uncomfortable. Yet I am grown up enough to fit them into a rotation. I don’t want to avoid things that are truly beneficial (there are LOTS of substitutes for kale, just saying…) just because I don’t enjoy them. It’s been no hardship to stick to my plan because I feel so much better already. Imagine a resolution that isn’t a constant struggle!

Here are some other aspirations I’m working towards that aren’t very popular in our consumer culture as there’s no profit to be made. In fact, these actions are nearly revolutionary as they buck the system that is always driving us to do more, work harder, and buy all the newest gizmos. I do love being a rebel, but want to make sure each decision is truly aligned with my values. Going against authority figures just for the sake of doing so is still a decision based on external factors. Feel free to borrow any of these ideas or share some of your own in the comments.

Rest more

Love and accept myself exactly as I am

Minimize screen time, including the habitual checking of my phone

Minimize multi-tasking

Maximize joy

Listen to my gut

Say no to requests that activate a sense of dread

Waste less/ make less waste

I’m wishing you a very happy 2022, and hope you find your “why”!

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