I haven’t set a New Year’s resolution in years because I’ve learned that overwhelming myself with a lofty goal simply doesn’t feel productive. I’ve got enough on my plate. Don’t we all? Plus, I am constantly resetting throughout the year. Enough of the drama around this one day. It’s only a day. There are many. Instead, I use the New Year as a touch point for reflection and I approach this with as little stress as possible. The start of the new year is a great time to re-group and take note of the things that are going well, the lessons you have learned along the way and its a good time to assess the areas in which you may like to focus your intentions. I try to avoid terminology like “improve”, “change” or “failure” because these types of words do not lend themselves to compassionate, positive progress. We are all doing the best that we can and that is enough. You are enough. I am enough. And within this space of self-acceptance we can still offer ourselves the opportunity to grow in a loving way. Here are my top five intentions for the New Year. Some are carry-overs from last year as I am still working on them. I may be for years to come and that is okay. Any progress is positive as perfection will never exist. Set backs are reality so expect them and compassionately continue along your path.
- Be still. I know, we often commiserate over the pressures of committing to a lengthy meditation practice and, if I’m honest, that still falls into the lofty goal category for me. With that being said, I recently realized that I am avoiding the silence even though my soul is begging me for it. Ash and I took a mini-vacation to St. Kitts about a week ago. I was really excited to have a truly relaxing vacation. I (and we) needed it. The thing is, it was really hard for me to relax even when I had the space to. For the first few days I filled my time with reading and eating and talking and whatever busyness I could find to fill in the hours. At the same time I was feeling anxious. I was also avoiding my heart which was begging me to just sit in silence. I was actively avoiding my heart and the silence. Finally, a day or two in, I had to literally force myself to just sit. To be still an silent. Oh my, it felt so good. My heart, soul and body were saying THANK YOU. I cried. That tends to happen when I allow myself to be still and silent. (read more) It’s a good thing. There was a lot of old stuff that I needed to release and I am by no means free of it. Work pressure, mom pressure, my chronic illness journey. All of that emotion, it starts to overflow. So, I am going to strive to find more time for stillness and silence this year. I am learning that I may be addicted to the noise so it won’t be easy but I know it will be worth it.
2. Trust my heart. Throughout my wellness journey (aka my spar with chronic Lyme which has morphed into my journey to be well, less busy and more present) the most important lesson I have learned is to trust my intuition. You see, we have the answers if we allow ourselves to hear them. My heart was begging me to be still and quiet but I tried to drown out my intuitive voice with noise. There is so much noise. Seriously. Until recently my decisions were made from a long list of shoulds. This has been a really hard habit to unlearn. Then there have been all of the doctors sharing their often contradictory opinions. Oh, and my reckless, anxious brain loves chiming in. There is work noise and family noise. You get it. There can be ALOT of noise. We all have it. It takes some serious effort to quiet all of that noise so you can truly hear your heart. The thing is, when I do, I am able to advocate for myself in a really clear way. I have found that I know what I need and which resources will be the most beneficial to me. My heart and intuition have led me down a path that is allowing me to heal. It’s a very personal path and it is different for each and every one of us. That is why we have to trust ourselves. We alone have the answers. I will aim to listen and trust myself more.
3. Eat more vegetables. This may be the one and only nutrition intention you need and I use it daily. Vegetables are one of, if not THE most nourishing food available to us. Packed with disease fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals, fiber and more, we can all stand to eat vegetables. Plus, when you create a vegetable-rich plate of food you will naturally crowd out some of the less nourishing foods without depriving yourself. Aim to eat a vegetables at every meal. Fill half your plate with a salad. Make a big stir-fry or pan of roasted veggies at the beginning of the week. Heck, you can even defrost a bag of frozen vegetables and store them in the fridge. They’re cooked and ready to go. What could be easier than that? Pack cut veggies for snacks. Just eat more vegetables. I love that this intention is about adding something to your plate versus taking something away. Try it.
4. Harness Gratitude. I am all about choosing joy but it takes practice and effort. My gratitude practice has carried me through my recent journey and I know, first hand that it’s not easy. Especially when you feel like you have hit rock bottom. But the thing is, we can find gratitude in the most difficult of situations. If we are alive, there is always something to be grateful for. I am looking forward to to opening my gratitude jar on New Year’s Day (read more). It is a palpable reminder of all of the good that exists in my life. Even when things feel hard and let me tell you, this year felt hard. Really hard. But, here I am – feeling grateful as well as hopeful. I am not out of the weeds but we may never be and that is okay too. I plan to continue to harness gratitude in the New Year and for the rest of my days. As for the blog, look out for more inspiration around food gratitude in the upcoming year. Food gratitude (read more) has truly shifted my relationship with food in such a positive way and I am eager to help you harness this too.
5. Be Less. This is a big one for me. You see, I have been overextended and over-scheduled since I was about 7 years old when I had multiple gymnastics practices a week that only ramped up as I got older. Busy and capable are all that I have ever known. Once my gymnastics career ended, I sunk all of my self-worth into being successful and capable. I have pushed my body to it’s limits proving to everyone that I can do it all. I don’t need help. I am scrappy. I’ll do it. These traits used to make me feel proud. I wasn’t weak. Not me. I used to feel proud when people asked me, “when do you sleep?” Then I got sick. My body was screaming at me to stop. It still is. These are hard habits to break. Here I am, three years later, more well than I was but not near 100%. I thought I was doing less. I am doing less. But it’s still too much. The other day a client said this to me: “This is who you are. You will always be busy.” I almost ran out of her house in tears. I almost yelled at her (or myself), “No, this is not who I want to be.” I don’t want to be busy and capable and able to do everything. I just want to be enough. I want to be well. I want balance. I want to nurture my soul and my heart and my family. So, this year is about being less. Less noise, less lists, less work, less sickness, less anxiety.
And that will make room for health, silence, love, joy, gratitude, friends, family and of course, more vegetables. I hope you will join me.