As I began to think of a topic for this week’s article, I asked one of the wisest people I know what he thought of making New Year’s resolutions. This wise person happens to be my husband, David. I’ve known him for 23 years and so far, he’s never steered me wrong…well not on purpose anyway.
As we were talking about resolutions and their importance in our lives we came to the conclusion that resolutions, when made with sincerity and genuine thoughtfulness, can be kept. How many times have we resolved to do something on a grand scale and proudly announce to everyone we know our intentions, only to let the resolution fall by the wayside and end up feeling like a failure not only to ourselves but to our friends and family? I have resolved to lose weight many times over the years and each year I start off with the biggest and best intentions. Unfortunately, within a few weeks, I find myself losing interest instead of the weight. The guilt I have felt for not keeping my resolutions has taken its toll often times resulting in weight gain, not loss.
So why is it that we feel compelled to make big resolutions? Why can’t we just resolve to do something more attainable? Why do we feel we need to shout to the world that we are going to lose 100 pounds, walk five miles every day, quit eating meat, carbs, sugar or stop drinking soda? Seriously, while all those ideas seem wonderful, can we really attain them? Is it possible? Yes, I believe it’s possible, however, how miserable are we going to be while doing it? Wouldn’t it easier to resolve to do those things by taking it one step at a time?
For the past 20 months I have been involved with a support group that has helped me deal with anxiety, obsessive compulsive behaviors and my food addiction. Yes, you can be addicted to food and I am. I have secretly struggled with this problem for a very long time; I am only now strong enough to admit it. This program has allowed me to learn that I must take things one step at a time. In order for me to lose the weight I want (and need) to lose, I must begin to make small steps toward improving my overall health. Allowing myself time to adjust to eating healthier without the stress of giving up everything I enjoy eating, exercising, etc. has been much easier than in years past, where on January 1st I gave up everything. As part of the large support group, my small group has been focusing on conquering food disorders. As I have trudged through countless hours of reading, journaling, homework, praying and logging my food, I have come to realize that like Rome, my weight gain didn’t happen in a day. I have worked on this for a long time, and it’s going to take time to shed the extra pounds. And, that’s o.k. I have to take each day as it comes and resolve to do the best I can for that day. If I have a less than perfect day, I have to resolve to move on, learn from my mistakes of today and welcome tomorrow with a clean slate, or in my case a clean plate. Since September, I have lost 18 pounds. While the holidays were a bit difficult and I have not lost any weight in almost three weeks, I have maintained the 18 pound loss and am super excited about that.
As David and I shared our ideas on resolutions, one thing became crystal clear to both of us. When we make simple ordinary resolutions, we tend to have extraordinary results. For example, you may decide to resolve to spend an extra five minutes at the dinner table talking with your children each evening. And as a result, you find that your relationship with your children grows stronger. You may decide to eat dinner as a family every night, or several nights a week if you have conflicting schedules. Smiling more, saying please and thank you could be great resolutions. Small gestures can make a big difference in someone’s life and your own. While I cannot recall who it was, I heard a celebrity on TV. the other night saying that her resolution for the New Year was to be present more. When asked what she meant, her reply was that even when she is with her children, husband, friends, family, etc., she’s not always present mentally. She has resolved to be present not only in body but in mind and spirit. She has resolved to pay attention to those around her and to enjoy being in that particular moment. I think that is a grand idea on a very small, attainable scale.
As the New Year rolls in and we all get back into the routine of life, remember that sometimes it’s the little stuff that matters most. We don’t have to make a grand entrance all the time. Sometimes going through the back door quietly unnoticed is all that’s necessary. Whether it’s big steps or baby steps, the main thing is that you are moving forward. Whatever your resolution is this year, I wish you all the best.