I used to put a ton of importance on the whole “new year, new you” idea. And in many ways, it is very important to recognize that it is the end of one year and the start of a new one, but in all reality, it’s just another 24 hour day in a year.
The clock will strike midnight, and you’ll be the same person, in the same place you are. There’s no magic power that suddenly makes everything easier, or makes goals closer in reach.
This is one of those times when the magic is totally rooted in your individual perspective. Which, I think, is even better because that means that every week, everyday, and every little decision throughout the day is an opportunity to be the best you, or to make those good choices that you see yourself making this year.
Deciding to Be the Best You, Not a New You
You see, when it comes to things like developing a healthier lifestyle or nurturing yourself, I’m not a big fan of anything that makes you feel like you’re in a box, on some sort of time limit, or living under restrictions, or not being genuine with yourself.
I really hate the idea of a “diet” or “plan” that you’re supposed to be on for a certain amount of time – and then you’re done.
I don’t like that mindset for several reasons. First of all, thinking this way suggests that whatever you did before was a fail. And it suggests that whenever you’re “done” or “completed” that you then won and were successful.
Any sort of standard that makes you feel like a failure at one point and a winner the next won’t help your mindset in the long run.
Changing Our Perspective on Health
I believe if we looked at health in terms of lifestyle versus “plan” or “diet”, we would all be a lot better off. I do appreciate that for some people, diets or plans can be a good reset button for them, and can just help them get started on the right track. But health and wellness is something that should be a top priority for our entire lives.
That’s awesome if you can complete a month of whole 30, or a week long juice cleanse, but it’s far more important for me to spend time and energy figuring out what can be sustained for a lifetime.
How can you be active everyday and not start skipping days? How can you enjoy food everyday that nourishes your body and makes you feel amazing?
Of course, I’m about as far as you can get from any sort of authority in health or nutrition. Like many of you, I’m always juggling work and life, trying to do the best I can.
The fact of the matter is, there’s so many health issues that we have no control over. It could be genetics, or it could just be the luck of the draw.
It’s SO important that we all take control over the aspects of our health that we can. This will look different for everyone, but it needs to be in our minds and hearts every single day.
It’s All About the Baby Steps, Not Huge Transformations
For example, when I graduated from college, like many people, I was at the most unhealthy state my body had ever been in. Rather than dwelling on what I had done wrong, I took baby steps that made a big difference over time.
For me, this was as simple as walking. I started walking everyday. It was leisurely, and I would zone out to music or podcasts for as long as I could. Then, I picked up my pace a bit. Then, I added in light hand weights. All the while, it was still just walking and a chance for me to zone out and relax.
It’s been a slow and steady process, kind of like building blocks. But I’ve realized why this has worked so well for me – there was never an ending time. There was never a number or weight I was trying to get to.
I’m simply on my own journey and trying to learn and get better every step of the way. And that’s just kind of life, right? We’re never done or completed. There’s always new things to try, tweak, or improve upon. It shouldn’t be intimidating, it should be exciting and liberating.
Although I do value my health and nutrition immensely, of course there’s cheat days. Of course there are days when I’m not my best.
But with that, there’s always a new day following right behind it. I don’t have to wait for a new year, or sign up for someone else’s program to get back on track. I can just start with my very next meal, or the very next morning, or just go for a walk.
To anyone reading this, know that YOU are the best advocate for your body and life. Be thankful so every ounce of energy, movement, and breath you have. Health is something to be grateful for and to nurture.