Hey. Can I tell you as secret?
Right now there are health & wellness professionals debating about YOUR New Year's Resolutions.
I know that because I have done that.
Why we're talking about you behind your back
As health support professionals we are constantly assessing whether or not we should support resolutions that are often hastily made and poorly planned. Which isn't to say all resolutions are poorly planned! But a quick Google search will tell you that 80% of resolutions fail by February. Ouch. So do we, as coaches and trainers, encourage this roll of the dice? Or do we direct you in an alternative (and less fun) direction - like the cold hard truth of how long habits and lifestyle changes actually take? (Hint: it takes longer than February.)
There are some really clever coaches out there and some phenomenal concepts for obtaining "buy-in." Now listen, this sounds all markety and maybe a little sleazy but let me be VERY clear - these gimmicks and conversations going on in the background are meant to serve YOU. No one worth a darn is trying to trick you or steal your money. We want to distract you from how sucky the first few months of major change really is. So we do challenges, and incentivize and sometimes we even quit in order to reset after burnout because we realize WE care more about your health than you do (that's another post I'm working on, stay tuned for that peek behind the curtain).
So the debate rages on. How doth we best serve thee?
But here's where I have a fun idea! How about a middle ground? Something a little bit resolution and a little bit rock-n-roll?
The internet is bursting with ideas for vision boards and other such decoupaged dreaming. But did you know that some studies indicate that these can stunt your growth and become reminders of our inability to control every detail of our lives? Interesting article here.
Likewise, the quick-fixes, diets, and secret supplements will make your head spin. They also make some of us just sick at the appalling misinformation or unnecessary sleight of hand. This erodes the trust we have in our own understanding of our bodies and the motives of any health or wellness professional (particularly when the solution requires some uncomfortable lifestyle modifications, like sweating regularly...on purpose).
What if you and I experimented with something different? How about we adopt a focus for our new year? And I don't mean broccoli (though I do recommend!).
How I found focus
In 2019 I adopted the phrase "do it anyway." Instead of being paralyzed into indecision by all the variables I had no control over, I committed to doing it anyway. I would go for it. I would see what happened. I would open myself up to the potential to crash and burn.
And I did. I did "do it anyway" and I did crash and burn. I learned some amazing things! Some of which I didn't expect. Actually all of it was unexpected because I had no idea what would happen. I experimented with numerous things; business practices, parenting methods, social interactions, volunteer work, RV'ing, etc. It was thrilling and hard. It was incredibly uncomfortable and illuminating. I learned my limits. And best of all, I learned what was most important to me.
But now I'm staring down the barrel of a new year and I feel an itch to seek a new challenge. I don't have a phrase that's truly speaking to me right now in the same way that "do it anyway" did so I got the idea to distill my dearest wish for 2020 down into a word. A focus for a new year.
This isn't rocket science
This isn't a new idea! Everywhere you look you see people choosing clothing, jewelry, art, etc., in order to exemplify their intentionality. To remind themselves what they're working toward. To exhibit to others what they're about. Instead of a vision board to show where you'll end up, a focus word or phrase is all about what you'll do. It's action. And action is my favorite.
(Second to planning. I like to make lists and then check things off the lists. It's probably a psychosis but whatever...)
This year I intend to put the lessons I learned from last year into action. That action will be discernment. I will be picky about what (and who) I make room for in my life. I will be slower to speak and more cautious of the words I choose. I'll be a more discerning steward of our resources. More intentional in my relationships with my teenagers and husband. I'll continue to grow in understanding and acceptance of myself and my strengths and weaknesses and stop being embarrassed about it (I'm a weirdo, and that is actually completely fine!).
Discernment seems so perfect to me in the year 2020 because of the idea of 20/20 vision and hindsight being 20/20. We know where we've been, now let's use it to focus and act intentionally in 2020.
I'd love it if you'd join me in growing in discernment this year. Or if something seems more appropriate to you I'd love to hear about that too!
Whatever you decide to do with 2020; a resolution, or a vision board, or a focus, I wish you a phenomenal year. I am so encouraged and just plain warm and fuzzy at all the fantastic things you are capable of. And if you get to March and need reminding of how completely wonderful you are - I'll be here, offering perspective and making it weird, but always encouraging you to find wellness and fulfillment - to find equilibrium - in your life.