New year means new opportunities and new challenges—perhaps the most challenging of all are the promises we make to ourselves. I’m not alone in the ability to spend more time and effort making excuses for why I can’t keep my promises than I spend implementing positive steps toward my potential. Fortunately, I also know that connecting to my inner guidance is the formula for success in any change I want to make and that truly tapping into the magic inside requires me be honest with myself and to live fully in the now.
Watching the countdown to the new year, I ate warm almond butter-filled figs all the while promising myself to eat less nut butter in 2018. I made other resolutions that I knew were easier to formulate than to follow through with.
Whether it’s food or other lifestyle changes I’m seeking, I know that acknowledging my desires, my excuses and the motive behind each is the key to success. The honest dialogue that ensues is then capable of producing a plethora of plans and mountains of motivation so I can enjoy my now while my goals for the future unfold around me.
One of the most popular resolutions, “Start working out,” is one I didn’t need to make because I’m already active in the gym, hiking and yoga, but several people have voiced their desire to make the transition from sedentary to active lifestyles. When I ask them how they will incorporate a workout into their day, they name the gym they want to join, but haven’t visited. They say they need new workout clothes first and haven’t a clue when they will actually be able to get there each day. They are set up for failure before the first sweat bead pops out.
Activating a new routine requires activating the vision. This means you pull the stretch pants on to make sure they fit, and if they don’t you make buying new ones as important as a gallon of milk. It means you fill the water bottle and charge the Ipod if that’s what you need to get going. If you’re hitting the gym right from work, you pack your tennis shoes and headbands in that sporty new bag that you bought thinking it would inspire you—and it just might—if you really want inspired that is.
My kids are grown so I don’t have the time constraints younger parents do, but many gyms and yoga studios offer daycare during group fitness. If you’re a caregiver or have a demanding career, you may find that treadmill looming overhead looks as intimidating as the windmills Don Quixote mistook for giants.
In this figurative fight, retreat means you lose life force, not fat. The fight is more internal than external and once you accept that, you may find you are tougher than you gave yourself credit for. You may see the giant enemy transform right before your eyes into an energy producing windmill that spurs you on your quest.
Resolutions involve more than losing weight and getting healthier. Treadmillls aren’t everyone’s best friend and promises require more than words. They require action—action stimulated by passion.
And yes, you do have passion. You are born with it.
It gets buried beneath guilt. It gets crushed beneath put-downs, insults and disappointments. Your passion gets lost like the figure beneath the excess layers you create, both inside and outside of your bones.
You can choose to lock the door to the urges bubbling beneath your surface. You can tell yourself you don’t really need to see the coast of that exotic country you’ve always wanted to visit or create that masterpiece job you’ve always wanted. You can squash your dreams flatter than a flapjack. You can soak in a bath of self-pity until you melt into the nothingness you came from.
Or you can activate the passion inside and employ the warrior waiting to be unleashed. You can unbridle the stallion that wants to run wild and you can explore the world where fences don’t exist and unicorns do.
My wish for you is that whether you watched the ball fall in New York or fell into bed before you turned into a pumpkin, you made time to evaluate how you want to spend not only the new year, but the rest of your life—that you learn more about you and let yourself breath in the new—now.
Michele Zirkle is a native of Meigs County, author of “Rain No Evil” and host of Life Speaks on AIR radio. Access more at soundcloud.com\lifespeaks.