Yes, 2016 has been a tough year and because of it everyone is anxious to step into 2017. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s a common theme that each year, at the same time, social media posts and comments among friends revolve around wanting to “put the year behind us”.
Every year is challenging, some more than others, so it’s only natural for us to view a “new year” as an opportunity to start over. But when it comes to how we transition into another year, I think we’ve been going about it all wrong.
Hell yeah I want to put a divorce behind me. I want to bury some of the pain and stress from the past. I want the universe to conspire with me as I take on new things this coming season. But most of all, I want to feel settled, at peace, secure, maybe even a little wild-hearted.
But what am I going to do to get there?
We are at that point in the year when the idea of transformation begins to seep into everyone’s mind, thinking about how we will do something different to improve our overall health. It’s that whole, “New Year, New You” push that causes people to vow to make changes.
So the first day of the New Year hits. The gyms are packed, meals are prepped and people are amped up for change. But inevitably, 30-60 days out from the New Year, these “habits” that were meant to last for the long haul begin to slide and the old habits return.
Transformation begins by first understanding where the work needs to happen and then taking small steps, not gigantic leaps, to begin to make a shift.
When we look at closing out a year with a countdown and a promise to ourselves with a solid resolution, it’s easy to see a beginning and an end. Rarely do we focus on what happens in between, and its during the “in between” that the real work takes place.
It’s also the period of time that scares the shit out of all of us.
Because, what if we fail?
The fear of failing, in my humble opinion, is the number one thing that holds us back from making changes. It’s the thing that keeps us focused on superficial improvements, rather than choosing resolutions that are more impactful to us as a whole. It’s when that inner critique within all of us stirs up the limiting beliefs we place on ourselves, and as a result we put the brakes on progress at the expense of our ego.
This is when we begin to make excuses. And, to be blunt, excuses are just the mask we place on fear.
Ahh, yes…I said it. Fear.
Here’s the reality: Any type of transformation in our lives we wish to implement will involve failing multiple times.
Change is messy, incredibly imperfect, and difficult.
When it comes to contemplating change of any sort, whether it’s with diet & exercise, getting out of a toxic relationship or switching careers – it’s a hell of a lot easier to come up with reasons not to do something, than to forge ahead into the unknown.
I personally have failed more times than I can count, and I'm not just talking about little failures. I’m talking big, gigantic, epic falls that some people just don’t bounce back from.
Failure is all in how we perceive it, right?
While I have fallen flat on my face in the filthy mud (sometimes the same damn mud), with each failure I gained more clarity surrounding my own resilience and strength. And the lessons I learned with each messy fall were far more beneficial to me than navigating life perfectly.
And the dirtier I got, the better I was for it.
The irony in this “fear of failure” most of us experience, is that we’ve all failed at one time or another. So, why are we resistant to the possibility of failure?
A lot of it is about the perception.
More of it is about permission. (Permission we give to ourselves.)
All of it is about self-respect.
It starts with finding the courage to go a little deeper and aligning our values with our actions.
What are you holding onto or holding back from, that you can change in the coming year? What is lying underneath all of those superficial resolutions?
When it came to taking back control of my overall health, I had a huge wake-up call when I realized fear was the one thing standing in my way. And while “trust” is one of my top values, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t trust myself to make mistakes, take a risk, or acknowledge what needed to change in my life.
In my attempt to prevent myself from getting knocked down and dirty, I just created a bigger mess.
If you consider the fact that our actions should match our values, what needs to shift for you in this coming year?
It's all in the reframe.
So, here’s the truth:
Addressing our health concerns isn’t just about exercise and food, it’s about understanding what matters to us and giving ourselves permission to make time to give it attention. Change happens when we let go of the fear of failure, and find the courage to pave a new path for ourselves.
Exercise and food are really just two pieces of the pie and when integrating all the different life spheres - work, health, family, other stressors, we can understand all of the factors that are contributing to our overall health (not just what we eat and how we move).
How can we be “all in” with a lifestyle change, if we are hanging on to other things in our life that bring us down?
How can we focus on living a sustainable lifestyle if we don’t trust ourselves to do so?
In a world where it is much easier to have someone tell you what to do for 30-days and see amazing results, the idea of working on a long-term change that isn’t a quick fix isn’t as sexy. And, it’s definitely more work.
But, as harsh as this may sound - these are just excuses.
This year, I’m going to practice more self-care as it pertains to giving myself permission to slow down when necessary. It’s absolutely going to be a challenge for this type-A perfectionist, but I know it will make me more successful in the long run.
Here’s my challenge to you: Instead of announcing the typical “resolutions”, delve a little deeper this year so you can identify what pieces of the pie need a little extra love. Going deep into those areas will allow you to gain clarity and formulate a plan to move them forward into 2017.
Happy New Year!