The very first thing you have to ask yourself when trying to change something about yourself is, “why do I want to change”? If you’re doing it for extrinsic validation, i.e. to look sexy, to appear smart, to become the perfect mom/dad stereotype, to make others notice how hot I am, or simply because this is how society is programming me to believe I should appear, etc. etc. yadda yadda… it’s pretty certain the change won’t be long term and you’ll find yourself back to the same place at the end of 2015 where you’ll be pondering 2016’s goals, and here we go, it’s Groundhog Day all over again.
The only reason a person should want to change is because their current situation or behavior is stopping them from growing in a direction they’re being called to grow in. You are “here” and life, in its awesome mysterious way, wants you to move “there”. We are always, as long as we’re breathing, being called to grow and to move forward, individually and collectively. For example, weight seems to be the #1 thing people want to change about themselves (me too). Ask yourself, why do I want to be 10, 15, 50 lbs. lighter? If your motivation is for something or someone other than your own well-being, it’s very likely that eventually at some point, you’ll fail. You may lose the weight, but you won’t keep it off. Why is that? Because we’re not created (evolved) to live OUR lives to be pleasing to OTHERS expectations/approvals and deep down inside in that ego-free subconscious realm, we know it. We know that we have to be wholly pleasing to ourselves. Shakespeare had it right when he said, “to thine own self be true”. Lie to the world if you must, but dammit don’t lie to yourself. (actually, as the quote goes on, in essence, if you’re true to yourself, it follows suite that you’ll be truthful to others as well). So before you think about changing, ask yourself if you really need to change or all those magazine covers just lying to you (me); If you realize change is necessary, but only based on what this unwanted behavior or condition is or isn’t providing, then ask yourself how will the change help you to grow. Myself, personally, I have goals in triathlon that I know I could meet with a lot less wear and tear on my body if I were 25-30 lbs. lighter. I currently weigh 165 lbs. and that would put me around 135-140lbs., a very healthy weight range for my height. I know in that weight range, I can accomplish my goals in triathlon and I will not do nearly the amount of damage to my joints with less weight. I’m not negating the bonus factor of increased speed, but that is not my primary motivator; a strong healthy body into old age is what I focus on as I’m approaching my 50’s.
Now, once you’ve asked the “whys” and truthfully answered them, hopefully you can find reasons for your own self rather than others expectations and continue with the work it’ll take to change. Which brings us to the next most important thing regarding resolutions or goals and that is that we have to accept that real change takes time. Don’t rush it, it’s January 1st and you’ll have a whole year to set the course and reach the goal. This, too, has been a downfall for my own changes. I want it and I want it NOW, and I work my ass off for it, but guess what? You guessed it. It doesn’t last. I’ve changed my physical form by a super aggressive short term disciplined behavior but I haven’t permanently changed the habits that created the problem to begin with. I’m learning. I’m human. I’m Bill Murray. It’s better to take baby steps consistently than to dive in like a bat out of hell. Whatever goals you’re setting, break them down a bit further, now even smaller and then gradually build up to the end result. In essence, you’re building on a solid foundation that won’t crumple The growth will begin, the paradigm shift will take place and once that movement happens, you will not regress. The better/healthier habit is formed and it will be natural behavior rather than work. That is true growth. Now go kick some major ass this year. For your healthy you.
Swim, Bike, Run, Live, Love and Breath ~ Vicky