It’s no secret that every time the New Year rolls around, some of the most written-down or thought-of resolutions are to get fit, eat healthily, work out more and so on. There’s excitement in the air because the shift from December to January creates a “blank slate.” It’s an opportunity for a completely fresh start to be the person you want to become.
While I still write down my resolutions each year, I still have certain issues with the idea of goals or resolutions specifically held for the New Year. It’s a motivational factor, definitely. But in my opinion, there is so much pressure put on them, that one mistake leads to a downfall. The motivation depletes because you have failed your resolution, and now it only makes sense to wait until next year to make a real change in your life.
This exact scenario is something I have specifically struggled with when it came to health and fitness. I tend to be an “all-in” type of person and go through periods of extreme motivation to eat “healthy” and work out every day, and periods of doing the exact opposite. It isn’t an issue of disliking foods that are nutritious or even working out. In fact, I love the feeling that healthy eating and exercising gives me.
After I stopped playing sports in high school, health and wellness was something I always attributed to looking a certain way, rather than feeling good. It was about chasing a lean figure and toned abs rather than having a nutritious, strong body from within. Therein lies the reason why this resolution failed so many times. Though I was still a healthy person and liked to take care of myself, a long break from the gym or a few “cheat meals” had me feeling stuck and waiting for the next resurgence of motivation.
The issue was always my mindset, and this year I decided to change that.
I wrote down not just what I wanted to achieve, but mini-steps on how to achieve it. The more you break it down, the more attainable it can get. Additionally, instead of looking at the world of fitness and health from an all-in perspective, I was able to see this resolution for what it really was: the desire for a balanced lifestyle of providing my body with the nutrition and exercise it needed to thrive, and the attempt to separate it from the physical aspect.
I’m a human and I love chocolate or pizza or whatever the stereotypical “bad for you” foods may be. But this change in my mindset has made it so much easier to eat something like this and not feel gutted about how it might be ruining my progress. As I said, it’s all about balance. As I learn to listen to eat more intuitively to what I want to eat and how I feel, the pressure of having to be this perfect image of health fell away.
In my first two weeks of this semester, I’ve been working out most days and eating what makes me feel good, whether it be an impulsive order from Insomnia Cookies after a long school day or a green protein smoothie. The important takeaway I’ve learned is understanding moderation in the foods I eat and the way I choose to exercise. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing resolution. Living that way isn’t sustainable for me and I’m so happy that I’m finally figuring out what is.