Last year, I made a New Year's resolution that actually changed my life and that is why I'm here to tell you, you are welcome to have a resolution in January if you would like.
I know this is crazy, because the internet tells you you can't sustain them. It tells you you're setting yourself up for failure and includes MATH and STATISTICS. It tells you that you'll never complete your goal and then go into a shame spiral and never be able to make another goal again—and there are many exclamations in the sentences of doom!
But here's the thing; if you acknowledge that any change of habit you make will be difficult and that you might likely fail a couple of times, you're already learning how to have grace for real change. Keep in mind, once you have a resolution, Aunt Carol drinking her eighth Pepsi that day will tell you you're doing it wrong, or she doesn't ever make them because she fails the next day. The opinion pieces we often call "news" will tell you it's ok to stay the same, to never even try, and that you're actually kind of dumb for making a resolution in this day and age. ‘Why don't you try sometime in the spring?’ As if there's some magic in not making a goal that starts January 1.
My Life-Changing Resolution
Well today, I'm handing out permission slips to leave skepticism behind and have a resolution if you are serious about making a change. Last year, on a journey to figure out my own health, I embarked on Whole30. Three weeks in, I was still having the same symptoms as before—which was strange. I had completely shifted my eating habits and it was freaking difficult!
But, instead of giving up, I leaned in further. I hadn't come all this way for nothing. I researched, I took food sensitivity tests—I love everlywell—from a couple of online companies to know exactly what my body hated, and when I got my results, I and dove into a lectin-free diet.
Miracle of miracles, my life changed. It’s not for everyone; my husband can eat a trashcan and feel fine, but I found a way to eat that my body thrived in. It took more than I thought I had in me, a couple of scraped knees along the way, money, time, effort—real effort. And no one was going to make it happen for me but me. Once I figured this out, I stopped relying on others to tell me if my resolution was good. It wasn’t their resolution or their responsibility.
Try, Try + Try
The point is, if I would have listened to others, or the very LOUD internet, I would have never tried. Why are people so afraid of failure? Is the person that made a resolution to go on a walk every day but missed two days a week better off than the person that sat around and remained inactive? YES, they are better off. I would even say, it's not a failure, it's a journey of ups and downs and a lot of grace. It's a journey of learning to keep a promise to yourself and sometimes falling down, figuring it out, rallying friends to cheer you on, not tear you down. It's one of getting back up and saying, "I'm worth another try. And another. And another." Until you've made a new habit.
If you want to make a change this year, please have at it. January 1 is a great day to start. SO is January 2 or 3 or 4! Who cares. You're in charge of your life. You are your best advocate for living the life you want, not Aunt Carol or Uncle Internet.
6 Tips for Lasting Change
1. Buy the Book/Cookbook
Yes you can go on Pinterest or Google what you need, but if you're anything like me, you end up watching cat videos for 30 minutes. A book or cookbook on the kind of lifestyle change you aspire to make is a good investment in non-distracted planning. When the book arrives, I keep it by my bedside to remind me to read through or find the recipes I like and mark them with a post-it, instead of mindless facebook scrolling or watching another episode of The Office. Plan for your success before you start!
2. Put the Good Stuff in Front of Your Face
I follow GOBS of people on the same journey as me. A hashtag will send you on a magical journey of like-minded souls. When you pick up your phone to scroll, there will be many people in front of your face trying to make a change or encouraging you along the way with new recipes, workouts, ideas, inspirational posts and fresh ideas. Start making friends out there by leaving comments of encouragement or asking questions. You are never alone in your journey for change!
3. Tell One Person About the Change You're Making + Ask Them to Join You
When we do #dryjanuary, I ask some of my neighbors to join me. I ask some of my family to join me. I may ask the checkout lady at Target to join me ... heck, the more the merrier! That means I won't be the only one trying to make a change at the next event or party. It's a big deal to have this kind of accountability with each other, albeit a little vulnerable to ask. Making a big change will take more vulnerability than you think. I promise you, it is worth it.
4. Journal Your Journey
Speaking of accountability, if you're on Facebook or Instagram a lot, consider journaling your journey each day and posting, instead of just consuming from others. Contribution is fun and motivating! I let my friends know what i'm doing ahead of time, and it helps me to remember to show up for myself ... and maybe to inspire others. Your journey to change is always bigger than yourself. And I think it has to be. You never know who is being encouraged to make better choices because of what you're doing. It might not be this month, but maybe it will be the next month or the next for them. How fun to be a part of someone else's big or small change for the better.
5. Use a Grocery Delivery App
If you’re making dietary changes, use a grocery app and have groceries delivered. I like this because you only buy exactly what you need, and there are no temptations at every aisle. The Shipt app is my favorite ever.. you pick your store, your time frame, and someone else does all the hard work for you. It’s like having a personal assistant stocking your fridge for success! Plus it’s a huge time saver.
6. Embrace Failure
Remember that grace to yourself isn't a free pass to do whatever you want; it actually allows you to be kind to yourself as you change and grow. Failure is normal; it is nothing to be afraid of. My failures often point me in the right direction more than my wins! When I mess up, I get to reflect on why I made that choice. Was I tired? Was I in a bad environment? Did I have no preparation for that moment? These are amazing learning points to make tomorrow much better.
I hope for you that this year is for you to do the thing, make the change, and start really living your life. I am cheering on those of us who are trying on January 1 or frankly, anytime. You are so valuable and the world needs your best, more than ever it seems.
In this time of deep cynicism, we desperately need to see you try even when people say not to. There’s room at the table for everyone to give it a go ... and I guess in the spirit of the holidays, Aunt Carol is welcome too—Pepsi and all.