This Year I Will..

Photo by  elegantspirit .

Photo by elegantspirit.

...Go beyond resolutions and make real, lasting changes,

Give it my all but only for the right reasons,

Keep them for as long as they make me happy.

It’s that time of the year again to reflect and of course to get those new resolutions out of the old year’s closet. Year-end comes around and suddenly we’re drenched in motivation (although some may call it despair) and ready to make it happen this time. And for some reason, the resolution-making craze never happens mid-year, it’s always at the turn of the year almost as if entering a new year got us through this magical portal and into a place in time where everything becomes possible – being a better person, taking care of our bodies, making more money and all of that good stuff. It's almost as if all we have to do is make our New Year wishes and dive into the next year for them to come true. Wouldn't that be just wonderful? Now back to reality, what have we done so far besides feasting since Thanksgiving? If you are human like the rest of us, you probably have been slowly straying away more and more from your last year’s resolutions – or at least some, maybe one of them. Hey, who’s perfect? 

All that aside, I love this time of the year. I do because I believe that we can really benefit from the motivational energy that permeates the air during this time. And why not fill up on some of that? I like to think that it’s good to be open to grab whatever the universe puts out there for you and use it. Now, sure you can make this a time of guilt and despair, ruminating on what didn’t or could’ve happened. If that’s you, snap out of it! It’s a time to be thankful for what did happen and also to reflect on how meaningfully (or not at all) we have been living and how we can make it all better. I find it empowering!

Background by     Aristocrats-hat

Background by  Aristocrats-hat

I’ve grown to love it all – the falling back, the coming back, and advancing it further than never before. And only to fall back again and start all over.

I am learning from one resolution

I was able to keep: staying fit

 

As I was thinking about what I want for my next year, I caught myself reflecting on those resolutions that I did turn into change. And I realized that I’ve been able to keep this special one up because I actually love the process of doing it. I breathe it, I live it, and it makes me happy. There isn’t a finish line and there are always steps back and leaps forward. And I’ve grown to love it all – the falling back, the coming back and the advancing it further than never before only to fall back again and start all over. It’s a journey, and I know why I pursue it and why it matters. I started slowly and progressed as it felt good, and I invited friends to join me for their own goals and reasons. It became a part of me, and I made it my lifestyle and recently my profession.

I like to believe that the ability to create change lies in how we perceive those changes and how we relate to them. I noticed that changing my perception always helps me shape the world to make it what I want it to be.

 

Challenge your mind to see change as the good thing that it is

Welcome change and start now, not later

Enjoy it all  pain, pleasure and results will come

Know What you want for your life, not just the next year

 

First things first: know what you wish for

Ask yourself what would make your life that much more enjoyable every other day, not just at the end once you finally get there to the end-goal. What is it that will make a difference now, tomorrow and later?

I once asked myself this question, and it came to me in bits and pieces until I could put it all together and make sense of it. When I was younger, my relationship with my body, although not bad, wasn't necessarily ideal as one might imagine. As a Brazilian, being skinny was never a blessing – curves, thick thighs and tiny little waists is the ideal where I come from. In time, I found the answer to that question and what would really make all the difference on how I see and feel about my body. And it wasn’t the Brazilian ideal shape to be pursued through heavily loaded leg presses, daily squats and a good dose of lost hope. How would I achieve a thin waist and thick everything else if I wasn't born that way?! No, please none of that! There is no sense in working for a goal that may never happen or that does not depend entirely on you. 

What would really fulfill me then, now and later is having a body that is strong enough to take me through any activity I choose to perform, a body that will age more forgivingly, a body I can call home and feel good in. The rest (looking good and maybe even thicker thighs) would come. The thicker thighs never really happened, but in truth it never really mattered. What's important is that everything else did. And the effort I put in to keep it up feels good every time because the more I put in, the more I gain.

 

Enjoy the changes that lead to your life-long goals 

In my personal attempts at anything, If I don’t learn to enjoy it for what it is before I dive in, it becomes a fight, and by the time my birthday comes in April I am already exhausted (and a year older). So, the best thing I learned is to make the change happen in your mind first and allow the body to follow. 

Resist the temptation to go head-on into the DO’s & DON’TS - this year, I am going stop or to start [fill in resolution]. Have you noticed that what you can't do tends to be what you suddenly really, really want to do and what you have to do is never that thing you just can’t wait to get to? So look for the changes that you want to make and remind yourself that you actually like and welcome them. So, instead of darn, I have to wake up early tomorrow and workout. Start thinking, I really want to wake up early and workout tomorrow. We are always looking for instant gratification (does snoozing ring a bell?), so think about how good you will feel during and after the session and how exciting it is that you have the opportunity to make it happen. Before you see, your mantra will be I can’t miss it! And soon enough you will make an effort to make your schedule work around it. 

 

Find the reasons that will keep you inspired all year-round

Remember why your resolution really matters

Be kind to yourself and find commitment to the reason behind the changes you decide to make. Know and remember why you chose them and why it feels good to keep them going.  A good beginning is to find something deeper and more meaningful than driving an expansive car or fitting into a determined dress size. That won’t last long after you get into that dress or that car. How do you keep the dress size if the goal was just getting there? Find the reason behind it all – beyond the dress, beyond the car – that really matters to you and why it matters. 

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It starts now, not later

Wake up as if it was already happening

Believe and make it true. Change is never the most comfortable thing, so if you start getting that antsy feeling, try pretending that this has been the way you’ve been running the show. Nothing changed and there is nothing to be afraid of. Onward you go!

Don’t set a deadline

Make it a life-long journey

If you don’t enjoy the ride, then it’s likely you will want to get off on the next stop. I see life very much as I see Pilates. There is no end to an exercise. There is only living through an exercise and making it more enjoyable, freer, more connected, deeper and more fluid every time. And to me, that’s life and that’s how achieving goals or resolutions should be – about the journey, the doing and living of it.  I believe that it’s all about finding pleasure in our daily doings, getting closer to feeling and being our optimal selves. And if midway you realize that the process doesn’t make you happy, reconnect to that meaningful reason and why that change really matters to you. 

 

Delight in realistic and sustainable lifestyle adaptations

Make it all happen

Once you know what you want, become aware of what it takes to live toward that goal, and then gradually make the changes you know you can enjoy – or maybe learn to enjoy? Start with the easy ones so that you stay motivated. Remember to be kind to yourself and pat yourself in the back every time you go a step further (even if no one else is doing it). Make these changes a normal part of your life, as if nothing changed, as effortless as you can make their introduction and as enjoyable as you can make their practice. Maybe in the first month you can fit in one workout per week and maybe in the next month you will amp it to twice per week because you are in love with it and you are willing to make it a part of your life. Find what works for you at the pace that works for you long-term. Make it matter. Think sustainability.

Acclimate and keep going

I had a great indoor cycling instructor who would take us to a really high incline grade and then tell us, It is going to start feeling really uncomfortable. Pause. Now, begin to acclimate; we're staying here for a while. Heavy gear can be really fun until you have to stick with it for a long period of time. Once it starts getting really uncomfortable, the first thing your body wants to do is stop, and that is exactly when I would start to think What, is here crazy? There is no way! But once you actually give it a try (mainly because he would give you no other option) you actually start to acclimate and the challenge becomes home. And it feels darn good when it does! I started taking that into my outdoor cycling and last time we biked up a mountain, I was the one getting to the top before my Crossfit-crazy husband. He took pauses while I acclimated. I started taking that onto my life goals, and guess what, I just have to keep saying it (acclimate, acclimate, acclimate…) until it happens.

Back to New Year resolutions, once you know the changes you are willing to make and commit to, as the year rolls in and it gets harder, acclimate.  

Get friends in on it

Once you get really good at staying motivated, spread the love! Keep your friends on track as they help you stay on and forward. Of course, you don’t have to take it as far as I did and make a living out of it, but choose that one that matters most to you and make it a hobby. Then make it your friends’ hobby, too.  :)

 

What do you do to make it happen?

Share your experience in the comments below and let us all take something good from it and hopefully throw something good back at you.

 

Questions, comments,  opinions?

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