Goals and Resolutions

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. I have always enjoyed simply walking around wherever I may be living, in this case Chicago, admiring the beauitfully arranged christmas lights, observing people thoughtfully buying gifts for loved ones, sharing in some warm cocoa or spiced cider, gathering with friends and family, listening to holiday music, and feeling the "holiday cheer" all around me.

Despite the hustle and bustle this time of year often leads to, it brings me a sense of peace. I find it a very reflective time of year, as the new year is not far ahead. I casually observe where I am, how I am, and all that is in my life, and from there start thinking about those new years resolutions.

This year I started thinking, What resolution did I set last year? The year before? Do I remember any of my new years resolutions?

How often do we set new years resolutions and stick to them? What did you set as your new years resolution last year and did you stick to it? How has it affected your life? As I have asked these questions to people in my life, there seems to be a trend. Either we didn't stick to them very long or we don't even remember what is it we set. I believe this idea of a "New Years Resolution" is an opportunity for each of us to better ourselves and our lives. But to take advantage of this opportunity, it is necessary that we each take some time to reflect, listen to ourselves, and visualize. 

What do you want for 2015? Take time to sit with this and get as detailed as possible. What does this look like? As a fitness professional, I often hear, "I will workout and lose weight." This is actually a GOAL, not a resolution (we will discuss the difference between the two later on in the article). So, what does this goal look like to you? How much would you like to lose? Why do you want to lose it? How will this affect other aspects of your life? So many questions, I know. So I say, start with the WHY. Why do you want to lose weight? Perhaps you want to fit into an old pair of pants. Perhaps you want to feel more energized, or sleep better, or feel more comfortable being on your feet for long periods of time. Whatever it may be, focus on the WHY. Once you know WHY you want what you want, you can then begin to get more detailed and create a clear vision for yourself. For example, "I want to lose weight to feel more energized. I want to lose 15 pounds. Once I lose this 15 pounds I will be able to walk the mile to work in the mornings while sipping my favorite green tea. I will feel motivated to go to that yoga class I heard about every week. I will feel better about myself when I look in the mirror and be able to speak more confidently at work when in front of people." So forth and so on.

One change can affect many aspects of your life. Take the time to visualize how you want it all to look like.

From there, shift to the HOW. HOW will I lose the 10 pounds? How will I be able to keep that off? Now comes the actual RESOLUTION. A resolution is a permanent life change or shift. It is a firm decision to do something. We may make these resolutions to attain a specific goal, but it is something we continue to live by. The goal is the WHAT, the resolution is the HOW. For example, "I will eliminate processed sugars, make time to exercise 5 days a week and get 7-9 hours of sleep every night." That is a lifestyle change, a firm decision. Sure, these changes may, and definitely can, result in the goal of losing 10 pounds, but this resolution is a choice to make a lifestyle change beyond that 10 pounds.

One of my personal new years resolutions is to make time every week to sit quietly with myself and do nothing but breathe and be with myself. My goals in setting this resolution are to be able to be more present when with family and loved ones, to be able to slow down, to be able to keep a clear and focused mind under any circumstance, and to stay connected to myself and my own self worth. Taking time every week to sit quietly is how I will start my process towards reaching each of these goals.

I encourage you to take the time before the new year to reflect, listen to your wants and desires and visualize. Perhaps write this all down somewhere that you can come back to in order to remind yourself of the importance that it has to you. Another option is to share these goals and resolutions with a close friend or family member who can help hold you accountable. If it is important to you, and something you truly want for yourself, find a way to set reminders for yourself.

Do this because you deserve it. Because we all deserve to feel good.

- Joanna


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