The confetti has settled, the champagne flutes are washed, and the new year is starting to feel broken-in already. But that doesn’t change the fact that almost 70% of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions make one that is fitness-related.
So what’s a good fitness resolution, anyway?
We are going to talk allllll about that at our upcoming goal-setting and vision-boarding workshop – SMART goals, accountability, what it takes to succeed, all those good things.
But if you’re not one of the lucky 8 who is attending that workshop-party…which one of these is the best fitness resolution of 2016?
- Lower sugar intake
- Drop bodyfat by 5%
- Be kinder
- Walk for 10 minutes every day
#1 is great – it will make you healthier inside and out.
And #2 isn’t bad, because it improves your performance and your aesthetics.
#4 is a great failsafe: walking 10 minutes a day is an awesome baseline to maintain as your no-matter-what fitness goal.
But #3 is where it’s at.
When you want to poke at your stomach or grab at your “bat wings” or “cut off” the part of your body that’s too big/sore/lumpy…
That body is you.
That body is your home. That body is your starting point and ending point for each day. It’s the vehicle for every experience you have in your lifetime.
It’s not a product. It’s not an obstacle to be overcome. It’s not a set of parts that each need to be perfected.
If you wouldn’t say that thing or pinch/prod/poke at that thing on a small child, don’t do it to yourself, either.
You can be kind and improve yourself at the same time.
Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean to stay in snack-couch-freefall. Being kind to yourself means taking impeccable care of you, inside and out. Sleeping when you’re tired, drinking water when you’re thirsty, nourishing yourself with the things that truly feed your body and soul.
Improving yourself is a natural outcome of caring for yourself. You can be kind to your body and want it to perform better, or know that it would feel better with a little more movement and a little less pizza. You can want to improve your life by wearing different – perhaps tighter and more revealing – clothes that, for you, require you to work out to look a way that feels good to you.
At the end of the day, health and performance are where it’s at.
Motivation doesn’t falter because your muscles fail – it dissipates because your brain gets burnt out from the same fear-based “goals” you set over and over again. Your mind doesn’t want to sit and get yelled at any more than you would…but it does respond well to some positive encouragement.
“Skinny at all costs” = fear-based thinking.
“Healthy and steadily improving” = kindness-based thinking.
“Why don’t I look like him/her” = fear-based thinking.
“I’m working on my [specific goal]” = kindness-based thinking.
“I have to run a x-minute mile” = fear-based thinking.
“I’m training to improve my running speed” = kindness-based thinking.
“This donut is a bad food” = fear-based thinking.
“I am giving myself the best nutrition I can” = kindness-based thinking.
Fear-based thinking is reactionary thinking.
It puts other people in control of your destiny because they’re the ones whose standards you’re striving to reach. The bad news about that, of course, is that those other people don’t really care about your destiny; they’re worried about their own lives and their own successes and failures. (Some of them might not even exist at all, like many of the craftily edited Instagram “fitspo” accounts.)
Fear-based thinking is black and white. You did it perfectly, or it didn’t count at all. That will make you miserable and crazy, and you will quit over and over again because all of your effort and success will be totally devalued by your pursuit – and acceptance – of only “perfection”.
Progress is made up of a lot of grays.
Kindness-based thinking starts from, ends with, and celebrates you. It meets you where you are and takes the first step in your new direction. It’s not black and white; it’s a rainbow of grays that takes into account all of the progress you’re making in different ways.
Change is created from lots of tiny moments of struggle. It arrives mostly in increments and installments. And if you’re not kind to yourself, you might miss the whole thing.
I almost bit my tongue on all of this, because it’s not a 21 day quick-fix, super-deluxe-extreme-weight-loss-workout no-carbs-EVER point of view. It’s not a shouting bootcamp drill sergeant – it’s more like the simple courage that convinces you to get out of bed in the morning because it might be a really great day. But it’s the thinking that’s necessary to succeed long-term in your health and fitness plans.
It’s a lifestyle.
It’s a mindset.
And it’s really, really good for you.