I repeat: this is not a new year resolution post. This is not a change-everything-about-yourself-today post. So, if today marks the start of a completely new you that no longer eats bread, no longer yells at the kids for yelling at each other, and is now a day 1 dedicated CrossFit enthusiast, this post is not for you.
This is a post about a new way of change. A new way to evolve and a new way of acceptance.
You see, over the last…well, let’s just say over my lifetime, I’ve become a drastically different person a few times over. But, it didn’t happen after one late December night of gel pen journaling.
My changes took time, failure, resurrection, and commitment.
They happened over years, not days. They happened by learning who I truly am, seeing honestly where I want to be, and making directional changes to close the gap. I found that I don’t actually care about washboard abs. I’ve never used that as a way to measure the worth of friends or family, so I learned to not use it as a way to measure my own worth. But it took time (years), and it took a whole lot of self-talks. Health is important to me, so my personal health goals may include regular gym time and intuitive eating, but my goal is not to look a certain way or accomplish some life-changing feat in a short amount of time.
Of course, I am human and fall victim to the social pressures we all do. A cookie-baking mother, an actual yoga-loving pant wearer and I may even envision a Kim Kardashian waist from time to time. But all of these are just that: social pressures. When I envision myself reflecting on 60 years of life, none of these are factors. My waist doesn’t matter; my health does. My baking skills are irrelevant; I just think about the time with my family. And only 3% of the population actually practices yoga despite 90% of women wearing the pants, so I don’t even give space to that.
Every January 1st, society pushes us to inflict more pressure on ourselves. To sit down and conjure up a handful of internal repairs that we must write down, share with our friends, and tend to immediately with no reserve, spending money and time.
Feeling a little soft around the waist after a year in hiding from the Biological Goblin of 2020? You need to run out and buy $500 of cold weather running gear because you, Becky, will complete a marathon this year. So now you have committed every thought and spare moment to keep up with your resolution. Forget that it makes you feel terrible when you can’t stick to your running schedule because you were already maxed out on time. Unless you are truly a runner at heart or truly have fitness as one of your passions, you’re likely to fail. Am I saying you can’t go from couch potato to marathon runner? No, I’m not. I’m saying that it may take months or even years of training, changes in habits, conditioning, and commitment. So a half-hearted marathon goal from someone who loathes running (I am “someone”) on December 31st, is set to fail 90% of the time.
What I’m saying is: Don’t do it to yourself.
I’ve managed to break a multi-generational cycle of extremely low education, intense poverty, alcoholism, and sexual abuse. I’ve gone from a high school gym flunkee to a three deployment United State Sailor who couldn’t even run a gym lap before training for Bootcamp. From a high schooler sleeping in her car outside a family member’s house to owning multiple homes.
I’ve dropped a technical career and picked up Motherhood and numerous other jobs, passions, and pursuits. I’ve unapologetically said goodbye to bad friendships, relationships, and family members. And I’ve broken up with parts of myself that were not welcome in the life I am manifesting.
None of these things happened from a new year resolution.