Resolve to live a happy, healthy life.
And all the people said: Resolve to live a happy, healthy life? Rachel, are you seriously still talking about resolutions? Because we’re so over it!
Rachel: Let me explain…
First, we don’t have to call them resolutions. Resolutions are like cilantro – some people can’t get enough, and some people think they taste like soap.
Okay, so that analogy didn’t play out the way it did in my head but the point is, I get it, resolutions aren’t for everyone. But do you know what is?
Living a happy, healthy life.
Interested? Here’s how…
You see, we roll up on January like we own the joint. We’re going to conquer this quest and that bad habit and go on a diet and start exercising and stop bingeing Netflix. But it’s all a lie.
Sometimes we NEED Netflix so why would do that to ourselves?
We draw up these elaborate plans (resolutions) that paint a portrait of ourselves living a happy, healthy life.
And all the people said: Hold on, Rachel, don’t you tell us to strive for that all the time?
Rachel: Okay, fair question. I can answer that…
We want you to show up as the best version of yourself as often as possible. As a result, we hope that looks like you, living your very best, happy, healthy life as often as possible!
So, ask yourself whether you’re painting a realistic picture. We fear that what you’re actually doing is painting yourself into a corner by attempting to create the perfect you.
Let’s take an honest look at it…
The version of you who always watches her carbs, works out every single day, maintains a healthy work-life balance, gets 8 hours of sleep every night, has a clean house, makes gourmet meals, does crafts with her kids, has a booming social life, volunteers at a homeless shelter, always remembers to send a card for special occasions, meditates twice a day, doesn’t experience mood swings (or adult acne) and has a spirited sex life is actually a (baker’s) dozen different versions of you who NEVER show up on the same day.
So, stop asking that of yourself!
Instead, do this…
#1. Let go of any sense that the stars might align and that, maybe, just maybe, you could be all 12 of those people at once for any length of time.
You can’t. You’re not a unicorn. You’re a mom and that’s way cooler.
Plus, merely attempting to be that person causes tremendous stress and that’s bad for your body, your mind, your adult acne and your soul. I can’t prove the part about your soul, but there’s plenty of research that says chronic stress leads to nothing good!
Give yourself grace and choose happiness by striving for progress, not perfection. Set realistic expectations and take manageable steps to achieve them. Right-size to bite-sized!
#2. Think small when it comes to fitness goals.
Do you know what my two favorite forms of exercise are currently? Longs walks and planks. Do you know why?
I like long walks for five reasons:
1) They’re not hard for me. (I mean, I’ve been walking since I was 8 months old).
2) I get to decide when and how far to go. (I’m on my time!)
3) I get fresh air in the beauty of nature (which is important to me).
4) They’re free (except for the shoe money – good walking shoes are important to me).
5) I can do it with friends, family or all by myself (all three of which bring me joy).
I like planks because after two minutes I feel like I could probably handle the Marines. Okay, I don’t really think that. My nephew recently completed Marines training and I know I couldn’t handle it. BUT, planks kick my butt in two minutes and I’ve got time for that.
That’s my example but the message is the same no matter what form of exercise you choose.
If your goal is to start moving, don’t go out and attempt to sprint a marathon. Go for a walk. And commit to doing it on a regular basis by adding it to your daily routine. Be specific! Consider a practice that suits you and your life. Then, take the time to acknowledge the what, where, when, how and why you’re going to move your body.
And remember, if the person you’re showing up as today is the one with the clean house, you go ahead and pat yourself on the back because you just burned some serious calories mopping those floors!
#3. Take control of your relationship with food.
Relationships with food are complicated.
If you’re ready to make a change, don’t try to break up with food overnight. That’s the equivalent of a post-it note break-up. It’s sloppy, guilt-laden, is prone to ugly-crying and typically results in a rebound relationship. Ugh, I shudder at the memories…
Pull it together! You are in charge in this relationship! You must decide whether it is serving you!
How do you know if food is serving you? Oh, you know, alright! Eating should not result in guilt or remorse, and you should never feel disgusting in the act.
Consider these strategies
- Quality over quantity. If you put garbage in, you’re going to feel like garbage – especially if it’s too much garbage! Avoid fads and eat real food!
- Fuel over fun. Food fuels your energy and moms need energy, so eat for fuel! Reserve any fun eating for special occasions and even then remember the old saying, “all things in moderation.” Having only one bite of that birthday cake might just satisfy your craving! Go to the party with that awareness and self-control.
- Timing over temptation. Eating should be premeditated. Come up with a plan and follow it. You could approach it weekly or daily but the key is to write it down (or capture it digitally) so that you stick to the plan! When you decide ahead of time what and when you’re going to eat, you’re more inclined to make good choices and avoid pantry grazing (which can result in diving head-first into a bag of chips or cookies, when the afternoon crunch crave kicks in).
When you start your new relationship with food, finesse it. It’s not a one-night stand! And don’t come on too strong and let it get awkward and creepy! Tell your friends and family about your new budding relationship so they can support and encourage you. Finally, take it one day at a time and remain optimistic that you will fall in love (with your new approach to food) and live happily ever after.
Do it for Future You!
Start thinking about a happy, healthy life in terms of future you and answer these questions for yourself. (Actually write them down):
1) Picture Future You, how does she look and feel? Example: “I look and feel great in my body!”
2) How does Future You think about health and wellness? Example: “I am focused on my health and mindful of my choices.”
3) What does Future You know that current you struggles to overcome? Example: “I thought it would be hard. Turns out, I just need to have reasonable expectations, take manageable steps and give myself grace.”
Get up-close and personal with Future You. Keep her in mind when you don’t feel like moving your body, when you’re on the verge of a questionable food choice or when you’re holding yourself to unreasonable expectations. Ask yourself, what would Future You do to live a happy, healthy life? Remember, she knows you better than anyone and she’s always rooting for you!
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