Against expert advice that says New Year’s resolutions should be specific and actionable, this year I’m going with big sweeping concepts.
That’s because lately I’ve been in a big, sweeping concept sort of mood.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my health.
Over the last few years I’ve been really focused on my fitness. I’ve been “getting in shape”, “eating clean”, “working out”, “training”. All well and good, and these concepts resonated for a while.
But am I healthy? This question has been nagging me. What does “being healthy” even mean? I’m not ill or overweight. I’m fit. But sometimes – a lot of times – I don’t feel like I’m there.
Because it’s fun and sexy, let’s quote the World Health Organization.
The WHO says health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. I perused around their website a bit. Nowhere did they say anything about “getting a six pack” or “taking two minutes off your triathlon time”. Weird.
My personal health narrative is changing. “Being in shape” is no longer enough. The body aesthetic is no longer meaningful. Performance goals are less important. I’m seeking a bigger sense of health. A feeling of health. I’m learning, slowly, there are so many pieces of the puzzle. And they all matter immensely.
So this year I’m going deeper. Yet at the same time I’m lightening up. My goal for the year is to maximize the following:
Nourishment. This is a big one for me. It’s weird. I’ve been eating my whole life, yet some days I feel still don’t know how to eat. I’ve tried a lot of theories and plans, and I have seen “results”. But looking back, I find I swing between restriction and overindulgence, awareness and lack of awareness, caring and not caring. I have yet to find a simple way to eat that optimizes how well I feel and then live it consistently.
So this year I’m going to do some personal experimentation, some bio-hacking if you will. I’m going to pay close attention to hunger, levels of energy, cravings. No more white-knuckling and praying for willpower. Do I have food intolerances? What do I need more of? How do I reduce toxins and stuff that isn’t even really food? Does what and how I eat reflect my core values?
Bottom line: I want to learn how to nourish myself, not just eat. And I want to support my kids and husband in their sense of nourishment.
Rest. This is another big one. Anyone else out there exhausted? Like all the time? For me, this means physical rest as well as mental. Sleeping more and sleeping better. Unplugging more. Not “doing stuff” all the time. Stopping the chase. For me, it is about recognizing there is a point in the day where there is simply nothing more do be had. At that point, I will train myself to stop. I will turn off my mind. And I will rest.
Connection. I am blessed with great friends. Some live near, some live far. But here’s the thing. I rarely see them. I get that everyone is busy. We’re all working, raising kids, taking care of homes and businesses, and such. We’re all running around like crazy. But this year I’m going to book more time with my friends. Regular time. What’s-going-on-with-you time. Let-me-see-the-whites-of-your-eyes-time. More dinners together. More fitness stuff together. More little trips. This may be the year I personally initiate the renaissance of the potluck. My world needs more potlucks.
Presence. I have a habit – as I think many do – of looking down the line. What’s going on this afternoon? Next week? What’s for dinner? What’s next on the list? Oooh, that (new idea, food, place, whatever) sounds good. How do I solve this uncomfortable problem? I spend more time in the future than the present.
I want to improve my ability to see, feel, and appreciate what is right here, right now. In a sense, it’s tied back to the rest concept. There is enough right now. No more is required. And I can handle whatever is right in front of me. It’s all ok; in fact, it’s all wondrously perfect. This doesn’t mean giving up or settling. For me, it means appreciation and acceptance while moving consciously with the flow of life.
Movement. I feel like I kind of have this down in a way that is working for me. I love to move everyday. I like to run. Bike. Jump. Swim. Lift, push and pull heavy things. I like to sweat, and to feel strong and nimble. I’m going to keep doing what I do. But I’m going to ease up. I’m learning that more and longer is not better. You cannot outsmart your body, and it will ultimately shout back when you push it too hard. I’m going to play with the movement I love. And I’m going to walk more. And stretch.
Joy. I’m grateful to know this feeling – those rare but sparkling moments of aligned perfection. But I’ve noticed it hasn’t been coming around as much lately. I hope my old friend joy will show up more as I work on all of the above. For me, joy comes with laughter, levity, authenticity, connection, compassion, and creativity. This year I’m going for maximum joy-buzz. Yo.
So there you have my new years resolutions. Nourishment. Rest. Connection. Presence. Movement. Joy. And the maximization thereof. All totally high level. For now, all completely unactionable.
I’m not sure what form this will all take. But I believe progress in these areas will show up on the body. And in the mind and soul. I’m hoping it will foster a deeper sense of health.
Big, fat, deep, joyful health. Yeah, that sounds good.
Happy new year!