Oh boy, resolution season again. Each year it sounds worse. Now, conscious change is right up in my wheelhouse but self improvement sponsored by Jenny Craig leaves a sour taste in my mouth. After the ball drops, first commercials froth up our self-loathing and prey on mass confusion about how to eat and exercise. The more out of shape we feel, the more we trust the nearest bikini-clad blowhard as a wellness authority. We’re sold one size fits all diets and workouts as positive change yet these prepackaged resolutions are often:
Generic: When clients use the words “tone,” “sculpt,” and “cleanse” for their fitness goals, they sound like lines from popular eating disorder manuals. Er, um, I mean mainstream “health” magazines.
I get wanting a smokin’ body. Being hot sounds great. But do we all have to look the same? Starving and sweating for a photoshopped ideal often isn’t possible or worth it. We could attempt conformity or unearth our unique style of badass.
Unrealistic: Say you decide to run a marathon for motivation. Months of training could lead you triumphantly across the finish line. Inevitably, you’ll encounter some stumbling blocks like a screaming knee. What then? You could stick to the plan and pound at your meniscus. Or you could figure out what elevates your heart rate and heels your knee. Ditching the orginal destination may orient you toward more fascinating journeys.
Short Term: After the juice fast, what’s for breakfast? Are you prepping the week’s food on Sunday evening? Packing a healthy lunch more often? The quickie solutions don’t address ongoing behaviors. Students have reported “Weight Watchers is the only diet that works so that’s why I keep going back.” Doesn’t sound like it worked if you had kept handing over the credit card. Temporary “results” ensure repeat customers better than long-term health.
The disposable, mass-produced resolutions often don’t fit. So what’s it take? Self determination requires heavy lifting: asking big questions and overcoming lots of resistance. Introspection and imagination may be our most atrophied muscles. Conscious, year-round growth requires an aquarium o’ transformation with these key components:
Clarity: Turning inward moves us forward. We exercise self reflection with questions like, “Why am I in pain? What fires me up? What relaxes me? What makes me feel like a hottie? What connects me to what I love?” An extended commercial break gives us a chance to hear our answers.
Excavating our clarity requires diligence, stamina, and, at least for me, a lot of whining. Even health aficionados with that pristine, flax seed glow suffer through delusions, insecurities, and confusion. (By the way, which is better: golden or brown flax seeds?) Without succumbing to narcissism, we can eventually clear choices and actions.
A Container: As we hone our desires, we need a place to plant those seeds. The class, the training plan, the community, the clothes, the tools: they all create a petri dish for change. The stronger the container, the more charged alchemy it can hold. Intensive yoga trainings, with a skilled teacher and passionate classmates, fast forwarded on my progress.
Consistency: Instead a big push at the beginning of the year, we need fuel to cruise everyday. Like a plant requires light and oxygen, doses of support and inspiration keep us thriving. My teachers, my students, and even my social media propel me.
The word “transformation” sounds like flowery, new age psychobabble but it’s actually hard work.The infomercials sell health & happiness like empty calories but we can hunger for more. Sustaining a relaxed, fit body requires tending our personal aquarium of change. Day after day and year after year.