23 September 2019

Eat the doughnut – a holistic guide to New Year’s resolutions

| Rachel Moore
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RiotACT - New Year 2017

On New Year’s Eve last week, Suzanne Kiraly shared how she’s approaching life and goal setting through a different lens for 2017. Today, Rachel Moore explains why she won’t be making New Year’s resolutions – she’ll be stepping towards the doughnut instead.

New Year’s resolutions are a farce.

What exactly does the word resolution mean in this context? Pick something we don’t like or want to change and make a resolution to fix this life problem in the next 12 months. Permanently (no pressure, hey). Resolutions are seemingly designed to make us feel bad about ourselves.

As we all look back over the last twelve months we easily forget the magnificent things achieved and focus on negatives. What are we not doing ‘right’ in our lives, what do we need to ‘fix’. Perhaps this is because we forget to focus on what’s really important. You, food, friends, family and health. If the things you want change about your life target any of these areas, ensure this is done with positivity and praise. This is a gentle solution rather than fostering self-loathing, self-hate, jealously and soul wrenching shame.

So….STEP TOWARDS THE DOUGHNUT! Life is for living! If you want to have a delicious sugar coated doughnut filled with jam, do it! Perhaps don’t have ten. Then Maccas. Then five bottles of wine. Then a kebab. Then bacon and eggs for breakfast. Or if you do… enjoy it! Here are five tips on setting good intentions for the next 12 months.

Call your goals intentions, not resolutions

Terminology is important. In this context a resolution is identifying things we are unhappy with and attempting to ‘fix’ them over a twelve month period. Most are unlikely to achieve their goals for a variety of reasons, but all relating to the intentions behind the goal.

Are we not setting ourselves up to fail immediately by calling it a resolution? Something we MUST finish? By focusing on how much weight we want to lose / put on, we start with a negative. Why not change the focus to something positive. Like “I am so excited to start working towards being healthy.”

Setting good intentions fosters self-love and self-care. Instead of magnifying negativity, allow yourself to acknowledge you’re not perfect. No one is. You might actually fail, so what? What is the worst that could happen? Did you learn something? Then is it really a fail? Stop being so hard on yourself! By setting good intentions and changing your mindset this year is bound to be different.

I think Neil Gaiman said it best “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something”.

Stop obsessing over your body and set realistic goals

Ohhhhhh….. You say you want to look like a chiselled Adonis God or Goddess? You know that Adonis, in all contexts, is a myth? Ask any person who carries a six pack (not of the bottled variety) two simple questions. How long did it take to get a six pack and how much maintenance per week does it take? Answer – a really long time and multiple sessions per day, per week to maintain it!

For crying out loud people! You are more than your physical exterior! Yes, it is really important to keep healthy but if you spend all day being miserable what kind of life are you building?

Thinking all day how much you don’t want to go to the gym, going to the gym, hating it, thinking all night about how you don’t want to go tomorrow. Then you don’t go the next day and feel super awful and self-shaming for not going. Gosh it’s exhausting just writing about it! Stop the cycle!

What is exercise? Most really good fitness coaches will tell you it’s a 20% – 80% mindset. Be good with food and exercise for 80% of the time. The other 20% remember you’re human and enjoy yourself.

If you like the gym, magnificent, well done. If you don’t, there are so many options or activities that can keep you fit. Such as fire twirling, dancing, burlesque, cricket, tennis, running, pole dancing, powerlifting, parkour, Tai Chi, Qigong, horse riding, weights, fencing… whatever you desire!

There are so many options for you to treat your body with the respect it deserves whilst having fun and enjoying it at the same time. Can’t really go wrong if you find something that fits you and you’re moving that beautiful body of yours and feeling strong.

Choose health professionals that have your best interest at heart

Book yourself an appointment with a good GP to talk about your holistic health options. Just like our shoes, our health options all have different sizes. We might buy the same size and type shoe as someone else, but we all use our shoes differently. Do we need to put orthotics in? Want to change the lace colour? Do we only like to use the shoes at work? Do the shoes hurt our feet? Or are they a Goldilocks fit and we never want to take them off again?

Your GP might make recommendations about diet, personal trainers, meditation, mindfulness or nutrition specialists. Always check qualifications and constantly ask yourself what feels right for you. Health is precious and should be cherished. Not something that causes continual stress and fear.

Get over yourself!

If you continuously compare yourself to other people, you’re going to be miserable. Officially coined “Grass is Greener Syndrome” in my Christmas article, our society appears to be facing an epidemic of jealousy! Not just the plain old variety but passive aggressive jealousy, making it extra awkward. Looking over our neighbour’s fence to gaze upon all the things we don’t have in our yards.

We have all encountered this. Your friends smiling through clenched teeth uttering false congratulations as you tell them about your promotion, engagement or pregnancy. Or maybe you’re the dreaded frenemy? Waiting to quickly whip out your word dagger and attempt to take away from their amazing achievement with a few nasty quips.

Hey! Guess what! You only get one crack at this whole life thing. So why waste any more time looking around at everyone else. So what if they have a life that seems really different to yours? If you spend all your time hating on your life and wishing it was different, you will never feel satisfied and will be an old stone sitting at the bottom of the life hill covered in moss.

Celebrate and be grateful!

Alongside your list of New Year’s Intentions, make sure you write a list of things you’re grateful for. All too often we let the focus be on what we don’t have. Rather than be grateful for our own beautiful and unique lives. We need to celebrate ourselves and be grateful for what we have, this can help us all through any darker period. Remember to treat people around you exactly how you would like to be treated.

Helen Keller reflected on this idea and captures the sentiment of gratitude perfectly “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart”.

Were you the magical unicorn that actually achieved all your 2016 resolutions? We would love to hear what they were. Do you have any New Year Intentions for 2017? We would love to know what they are, comment below!

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Elias Hallaj (aka CBRFoodie)12:00 am 03 Jan 17

I’ve never taken New Years Resolutions seriously but I do like the idea of having some intentions. Goal-setting works if you’re serious about the goal.

Also, mmmmmm … donuts.

Someone once told me that the only way to achieve a goal is to be so excited about it that you don’t even want to waste another second doing something that would prevent it (i.e.: you want to lose weight so bad that eating that custard-filled cronut holds no appeal whatsoever). I loved that, so I totally agree – New Years Resolutions are a waste of time.

If you really want to achieve something, you won’t even wait till next Monday to start let alone a new year!

Suzanne Kiraly4:01 pm 02 Jan 17

Thanks for this – excellent article, Rachel. I love the Neil Gaiman and Helen Keller quotes – so apt. I think I am definitely taking your advice to take a cup of “grateful” this year, to revel in the mistakes I will no doubt be making, and finally, to make sure that I celebrate each and every day.

Rebecca Vassarotti3:42 pm 02 Jan 17

These are some great tips Rachel. I think renaming resolutions to intentions is a great idea – language is important. While I can understand ‘people need to get over themselves’, we also need to remember the industries that are set up to make people feel bad about themselves and make money in resulting pursuit of a better body, less wrinkles and the like. Its not surprising that people can buy into the myths. Sometimes its about being gentle on ourselves and as you say remembering all the things to be grateful of in our lives.

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