Twas the season. We ate and drank and merried our way through the holidays. And perhaps negotiated family or distant childhood friends and neighbors, all of whom had various opinions about where we’re at, who we are, and who we love.
It might have been joyous. It might have been taxing. Maybe it was a bit of both, but really it was probably a lot of both. The holiday season is one of excess in every direction.
Now we’re at January. This winter’s already been a cold one, and when you add the icy chill of those credit card bills that just came in, for a holiday season’s worth of celebration and indulging… Well, anyone at all would be left with a cold and sober sense of purpose, with perhaps a little chaser of guilt.
This would be the time for steely resolution to set in.
Now would be the time for the cool light of day to filter in on those less-than washboard abs, and the slightly browned tree in your living room, and the obvious call becomes: New Year’s Resolutions.
But I’m here, telling you to set down that glass of detoxing lemon water with cayenne, and swap it for a delicious glass whatever strikes your tastebuds as the best thing they’ve encountered.
Sure, it sounds counter-intuitive to continue to ‘indulge’. But there’s one thing that I’m certain of, and that’s that I don’t have regular conversations in July about the life-changing success of my New Year’s resolutions. Do you?
So what I’m proposing now is something a little more revolutionary and life-changing. I say swap resolutions for a simple process of self-care, self-love and feeling good.
Yes, this might seem against everything you believe you ought to be doing now. Surely in the face of weeks of excess, the world needs a trimmer, more in-control and teeth-gritted version of you, you may say. My partner deserves the better version of me these resolutions are aiming for, and only grim determination will get me there!
Trust me, I get it. But I also had to face a handful of things in my own resolutions that just weren’t carrying through into my everyday life. For a start, they never seemed to make it past February.
I mean, can that resolution be so important if it’s one that I have to re-make every single year? If it only stayed in my life for a small handful of weeks? If it didn’t feel important enough to keep up for any other months of the year, why would the ‘self-punishment’ approach to changing my life actually do that, ever? Perhaps what it means is something else is needed, instead.
So how about we try it this way, together: Let’s instead commit to feeling good.
I say have that glass of wine, those mouthfuls of chocolate, guilt be damned! In fact, no guilt required. Eating well includes those things, at every size. Your body is perfect for you if you’re eating all the things that feel good and right for you throughout the day, and fitting right into your skin.
Why not make that first resolution look like paying attention in a caring and healthful way to the ways food nourishes you? Talk to yourself about your food the way a new lover would want to feed you – to make you feel the best ways that you can, inside and out.
This last year I discovered this way that exercise was a thing I needed in my life. And by far the key to that was finding pieces of joy in movement. Out of my life was ‘earning my calories’, and in it was the sheer pleasure of feeling strong, and learning how to rely on my body. Queer yoga classes, roller derby, teaching myself to lift heavy in the gym while watching beautiful men, women and non-binary folk flirt, grunt and stretch beside me. It’s been a constant delight.
And this principle can work for just about any goal and purpose. Be kind to yourself. Nourish yourself. Embrace feeling good. Reach out to loved ones. For this New Year, let’s resolve to make everything better that way.