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I was at dinner with one of my best friends tonight and she was lamenting that we’re pushing 40 (gasp!) and how now she prefers to savor one really tasty drink rather than down a sixpack and have a lousy hangover the next day.
I laughingly told her she’s become the person she never wanted to be.
I have also become the person that the teenage me would’ve reveled in mocking.
I can’t remember the last time I stayed up past 1 a.m. (If I did I was probably watching TV or reading.)
“Partying” means going to a friends birthday party–and being home by 10.
The above-mentioned dinner took place at 6.
I am straight-laced in terms of drinking, smoking and drugs. And not straight.
My idea of a great time is hanging with my family.
I adore my mom, dad and both my step-parents (this alone would be considered a miracle by then-me).
I walk my dog on Alki Beach instead of cruising the strip.
McDonald’s grosses me out–those fries leave a really funky taste in my mouth.
I think sprouted wheat bread is delicious.
I know one thing then-me wanted for now-me–to be happy. And girl, I wanted to let you know I have that in spades.
I am so grateful I became the person I never wanted to be. How about you?
I resist New Year’s resolutions. I feel like making a list of “I will do’s” on January 1 seems so conformist. My inner rebel says, “No one’s going to tell me when to change!” Yet I usually make major life changes in the winter months—so it seems there is something to this time of year being a time of change, commitment and renewal.
If you’re a resolution rebel but still find yourself thinking about what you really want in ’09, here are some tips to take you beyond the same ol’ tired resolutions:
1. Think about the feeling, not the thing.
Don’t worry, I haven’t taken a left turn into woo-woo land. Why do we want anything? To lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, get a new job, find love? Because we think those things will cause us to feel a certain way. Instead of focusing on the thing, skip the middleman and focus on how you want to feel.
Say you want to feel happy, healthy, excited or inspired. You don’t have to wait until you lose 20 lbs to feel inspired and excited—you can find ways to feel inspired and excited RIGHT NOW.
When you feel inspired and excited (or however you want to feel), it’s much easier to stay motivated to reach your goal. And, you’ll have more fun in the process. Because the secret is that trite saying, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.” is true.
2. Be real.
I will run 3 miles every day! I will wake up at 5 a.m. every day and meditate! I will never eat nachos again!
These might be great goals for someone who’s a dedicated runner, a Zen Buddhist priest or is lactose intolerant. But if the longest distance you’ve run is from the couch to the fridge, you can’t sit still for 5 minutes, or nachos are your favorite joy food, then you need to get real.
Unrealistic resolutions don’t serve you and are a set-up for failure. Then, when you fail, you have more evidence for your crappy belief systems about how you can’t stick to anything, lack commitment, are lazy, etc…
Start with ridiculously easy goals. The more scared/resistant you are to the change, the more ridiculously easy your goal should be.
For instance, if your first impulse is to resolve to run 3 miles every day, cut that in half. That would be 1.5 miles every day. Ask yourself if that would be ridiculously easy. No? Then cut in half again. Say to 1.5 miles 4 days a week. Keep cutting it in half until you say to yourself, “That’s ridiculous, there’s no reason I couldn’t do that.” In this case, you might get down to walking .25 miles 3 days a week. Start there. You can always build up from your ridiculously easy starting point. Now you have a completely do-able goal rather than a demotivating overly ambitious goal.
Now some of you type-A’s are saying, “That’s for weenies, you should just go for it!” If you get out there and you feel like running for 3 miles—GO FOR IT! But if you only go .25 miles, you’ll still have accomplished your goal and will feel motivated to continue. See?
3. Don’t should on yourself.
[Ed. note: I love bringing back these 90’s self-help sayings!]
Many people make resolutions based on what they “should” do. I should make more money, I should join the PTA, I should go to the gym more, whatever.
If you find yourself making a resolution with the word “should” in it, I suggest you seriously re-examine it. Do you really want to do this? Is this resolution based on what other people/society think you should do? Understand your motivation—go back to Tip 1 and find the feeling this resolution creates. If it’s a negative feeling (dread, guilt, anger) dump it.
4. Try a one-word resolution.
Singer-songwriter and coach Christine Kane has a brilliant twist on resolutions. I love it! You simply choose one word (it’s fun to hold yourself to just one) to act as a theme/guiding principle for the coming year.
Mine is GO. (Ooooh, makes me all excited and motivated. Perfect.)
GO is for movement, momentum, forward, fast, energy, diving in, saying yes, hair-blowing-back-wind-in-my-face fun ride.
What’s yours? Comment below and say your word loud and proud.
Many of my clients say things like this to me:
“I’m going to wait until my hectic life calms down to start weight loss coaching.”
“Once I’m at my natural weight, I’ll be happy.”
“I’ll just dive in, do all this personal work, and then my life will be perfect.”
(A personal favorite lie of mine).
“If I can just get all the laundry done, I’ll be less anxious.”
Sorry to be the one to break the news to you (actually I’m excited to be the one to break the news):
You will never have it all together. It will never all be done. It will never be perfect.
How do you feel when you ponder the above statements?
I feel excited, relieved, and peaceful.
For me, it’s a HUGE RELIEF to know that life will never be perfect. I can stop waiting for some future “then” where all the stars will align and I’ll be happy.
It’s really about being calm in the chaos. Choosing not to overeat when you feel sad, lonely or anxious. Doing the personal work because it helps you stay here in the present moment, not for some future promise of a perfect life. Starting to move toward your natural weight right now because there’s never a better time.
It’s about choosing happiness when you’re a hot mess—undone laundry, love handles, chaotic life and all.
I had a profound experience a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you. I attended Brooke Castillo and Koelle Simpson’s How to be Heard workshop. Basking in the warm Phoenix sun and spending time with close friends would’ve been enough of a treat, but I got so much more than that.
They are herd animals that need a strong leadership structure to survive in the wild. Horses couldn’t care less about what you say; they pick up on your energy and what you do with it. There’s no BS’ing your way into leading the horses. Our job was to get a horse to “join up” with us—to earn the right to be its leader.
Have you ever heard the expression, “How you do anything is how you do everything?” My biggest personal bugaboo* is that I can become wracked with self doubt. I worry about being good enough and doing it right. I got to see that play out right in front of me. I may look calm in this picture,
but I am having a self-doubt moment and my nervous energy was fluttering up around my shoulders. This horse was not interested in following me with that fluttery energy.
What I learned is that when I’m busy doubting myself, I can’t connect with others, pick up on their cues or truly be there for them. This horse was giving me all kinds of signs that he was ready to be lead, but I was too busy in my own mind to see them.
Then I remembered who I am. I am not insecure. I am not disconnected. My energy becomes calm and strong, I feel like I’m in my body. I see this horse. It’s time to lead. She’s up for it. Because I’m up for it.
The horses showed me that my true nature is strong, calm, joyful, supportive and assertive. Self doubt does not serve me and blocks me from making my full contribution to the world.
What are you doing that doesn’t serve you? Who would you be if you allowed yourself to be un-limited by your own beliefs?
These kinds of questions are easy to skip over and dismiss as foo-foo–I invite you to take a minute and really think about it. Something cool could happen.
* I didn’t even realize how apt a word “bugaboo” was, check out the definition–“an imaginary object of fear.”
You know when you have that regularly-occurring circumstance that you just know is going to throw you for a loop? Insomnia, overeating, an uncooperative spouse, to name a few examples. You feel the signs coming, you spring awake at 2 a.m., you’re eating past fullness, or your spouse isn’t talking to you again.
These things are very real: overeating, insomnia and marital discord happen. But then, we do what I call the spin-out which only serves to make things worse–for you.
Here’s how the spin-out goes:
Spring awake at 2 a.m.
Think: Oh no! Now I’m never getting back to sleep should I take a sleeping pill maybe I should read I hate it when this happens now I’m going to feel like crap tomorrow why does this always happen to me now I’m not going to sleep for days I should try to relax but I can’t relax this is a curse what is wrong with me I should’ve taken a pill before bed did I drink too much coffee today.
Repeat about 10,000 times until morning.
You may not be able to change the circumstance–but you can certainly stop yourself from making things worse by spinning out. There’s a part of our mind that thinks spinning out on our problems will make them better. It’s our mind’s way of trying to solve the problem, but the focus is on the wrong place. When you spin-out, the focus is on the problem. Expecting it to be bad, asking why it happened and worrying about unknown consequences will keep you awake, eating and angry at your spouse.
Here’s how to stop the spin-out:
1. Stay in the present–don’t project about what’s going to happen in the future. If you think you’re never going to be able to stop overeating or that you and your spouse will never be close again, then that’s what’s most likely to happen. Our minds are very supportive, and when you think thoughts like this, your mind will help you make it happen. Hence the expression, “What you think about, you bring about.”
2. Avoid “Here we go again”–be open to the idea that things could turn out better than they have in the past. After all, you’ve been open to the idea that this will be the worst night/overindulgence/fight, isn’t it just as possible that this time could be different? Which way of thinking makes you feel better? You may think that this is just a form of BS’ing yourself, but you don’t have evidence that it’s going to be worse or better–so why not choose to believe better?
3. Don’t ask why–asking “why me” is going on the road to nowhere and does not yield any useful information.
4. Interrupt the spin-out–the best way to stop the spin-out is to find a very simple better-feeling thought, almost like a mantra that you can repeat to keep the litany of mental BS from kicking in. Some ideas: Just now, What’s the solution?, Relax, I’m ok. Find what works for you.
5. Stop resisting–ok, so you overate, you’re awake, your spouse isn’t talking to you right now. Can you handle it in this moment, without all the spin-out thoughts? The spin-out is a form of resisting what is happening, when you stop resisting, you’re in a better position to see the situation clearly and take care of yourself around it.
6. Ask yourself better questions. The spin-out is about the problem, stop the spin and turn your mind toward solutions with better questions.
Instead of “Why me?” ask, “What can I do to take care of me?”
Instead of “It’s going to be bad.” ask, “What can I do to feel better?”
Instead of “I’m out of control.” ask, “What is within my control?”
I’d love to hear how you stop the spin-out. Feel free to comment and share.
I was running this morning [Ed. note: You have to realize that I have never in my life before uttered this phrase unless it was followed with “from the cops” in my younger and wilder days. I am now a person who runs (or jogs slowly but let’s not mince words).]
Anyway, I was running this morning and half way through I caught myself thinking “If I ran faster, I’ll be done quicker.” I wanted to hurry up and finish the run so I could accomplish that task and be done. Then I realized there were a couple of flaws in this thinking. One, it was highly likely that if I sped up, I would not actually finish the run–I would crap out before my goal of three miles. Interesting. Two, what am I running for? To be done? No. I’m running because I enjoy the feeling of being able to run (believe me, I would *not* be doing it if that were not the case). I like how strong my body feels while I run and that it’s just me and the music. It’s an awesome feeling, I just got some good juju writing about it.
It’s great to have a goal and work toward it; running this morning helped me realize it’s even better to reach a goal when you’ve enjoyed the ride.
Here’s my playlist from this morning:
American Boy — Estelle Feat. Kanye West
Benny and The Jets — Elton John
Calabria 2007 — Enur
Barracuda — Heart
Black Betty — Ram Jam
Black Dog — Led Zepplin (recommended!)
Carry On Wayward Son — Kansas
Crazy On You — Heart
Shambala — Three Dog Night
Sir Duke — Stevie Wonder