Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Wishes

If I could have or do anything, anything at all, in the whole wide world, what would I have? What would I do?
  1. Win a multimillion dollar lottery.
  2. Travel around the world.
  3. Pay off my mortgage.
  4. Have my novel, Pitch Dark, become a New York Times Bestseller.
  5. Write five more brilliant novels.
  6. Be totally healthy and completely happy.
  7. Have my family and friends be totally healthy and completely happy.
Well, I might have a shot at one of the above, but the rest…the rest are unlikely to happen. But that's sort of what new years are about. Dreaming of a perfect future, a perfect life. That which will make you happy. What would I do if…? What changes could I make if…? What do I want for my life?

Big questions. Uncertain answers. It seems that everyone and their dog wants to lose weight and get in shape. Sounds good, fitness clubs do a booming business in January but then many seem to stop going and start eating McDonald's and Wendy's again. 

I think the problem is that people are thinking that, "now my life will begin. Now I can make my life perfect." And when that takes too long, they give up on their dreams and goals and think, "well,  maybe someday". 

Someday is now.

You want to change? Really, really, REALLY want to change? Your best bet is to get whatever help you need to make the change you want. Within reason. I mean, somehow I don't think I'm going to grow two inches taller in this lifetime. And I will never weigh what I did when I was fifteen unless I went on a starvation diet. I'll never be a rocket scientist because I'm not interested in doing it.

Be realistic. If you want to lose weight, go visit your doctor to rule out any health problems that may contribute to a weight problem. One to two pounds per week is all you should lose or you will just gain it back and screw up your metabolism to add insult to injury.

If you want to have loads of self-esteem, feel good about who and what you are, do things that will make you feel better about yourself. Take a good, GENTLE look at yourself and don't judge yourself harshly. The world judges you enough already, so you need to be like your very best friend who always supports you and listens to you. Feelings and thoughts are not just things that pop into your head - your feelings and thoughts are a product of your core belief system. Examine your core beliefs and see if they help you or hurt you. 

Learn to set your personal boundaries so that other people don't take advantage of you or abuse you. Stand your ground, remain calm and repeatedly state what you need of the other person. Their problems are not your problems. Don't take on something that is not yours to deal with. This is something I've learned in the past year and it has made an immense difference in how I feel about the world, other people and myself. No, I won't do five people's jobs. No, I can't work ridiculous amounts of overtime. No, I have other plans. No, I don't need to explain myself to you. You are not required to justify your actions to anyone but you, unless you've done something illegal or unethical.

Get out of any destructive relationships, personal or professional, even if you are frightened, because you only hurt yourself and feel worse about yourself. Get counseling if you need it - there are organizations out there who will provide counseling services for a nominal fee, if not free of charge, if you cannot afford it.

Exercise. Not just to tone your body but to tone your mind. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel better mentally and emotionally. And it's always a boost to fit into those jeans you haven't fit into in years.

Take a look at all of you, instead of just parts of you. "Oh, my nose looks like a ski jump. My lips are too thin. My eyes are too big/small. My legs are too short. I have thunder thighs. Oh right, and I have hideous feet." Give yourself a break.  Work with what you have physically, mentally, intellectually and emotionally. You think more about your imperfections than anyone else, so try not to be too self-conscious. Easier said than done, I know.

So this year, I make no New Year's Resolutions. My changes will take longer than one year and are ongoing. Make a commitment to yourself and see what you can accomplish.


Tim said...

A really good New Year post, Brooke, with plenty of optimism balanced by a recognition of helping one's chances of succeeding.

All the best for making the kind of progress you want on your list.

Linda Bergen said...

A very realistic and sensible, yet optimistic and constructive take on life and goals. I enjoyed this piece very much. Linda Bergen