I mentioned recently in my Assorted Oat Shortbreads post that I’ve been contemplating the idea of New Year’s “resolutions,” and how instead of making explicit goals for 2013, that I would like to choose a handful of feelings I’d like to experience more and more (and more) in the new year. Here’s why.
There is something that feels disconnected from the bigger picture, from myself, when I choose specific resolutions like “I will drink a green smoothie everyday,” or “I am going to go running every morning.” Those statements and goals feel like tasks. Cold obligations. Where’s the joy in those statements? Give it two weeks and I’m resentful and potentially beating myself up if I didn’t do them. There’s no feeling or emotion in them, and we all know that nothing motivates more than feeling something in your whole being—to your core.
But if I were to say, “I want my body to feel fit, clean and strong all year long,” there are many things I can do to achieve those feelings. Eliciting on the reg also leaves room for improvisation—for life’s curveballs, for new ideas to be added to the routine, to keep it fresh. Catalysts for awesome feelings are what you want more of.
This practice will also help YU connect more—to listen to signals and symptoms that your body is always giving you (that you may have become used to, and sadly, ignore).
Too often, we just don’t listen to our bodies. If you have a headache, stop and think about why. Not enough sleep? Are you allergic to something you ate? Too much partying? Not enough water today? You can drink enough green smoothies to sink a ship, but if you aren’t taking care of your overall well-being by truly listening, you’re only going about half as far as you can on the wellness train.
Disconnection is one of the biggest obstacles to optimal health, yet we don’t realize this because we don’t slow down enough to see—emails, tv, jobs, kids, activities. We do too much, too fast, too often. The western culture of moremoremore is making us sick.
So, let’s not add more to the pile with obligatory resolutions that (around week four) will ultimately make us feel badly about ourselves. Let’s connect not only with each other, but with ourselves in 2013. Let’s try a new approach—focusing on feeling our best, understanding what gets us there and doing those things. If it feels good to say “no” to more projects, buck up and start saying “no.” If it feels freeing to only check email a few times a week, set up an auto message that tells folks the deal and why (who knows, they may take your lead). And let’s help others achieve what makes them feel their best. Everyone wins that way. Everyone connects that way.
And instead of saying what YU don’t want to feel. Let’s say what we do want to feel. I want to feel calm, or I want to feel free. It’s a little of that positive attracts positive thing you hear so much about these days. Can’t hurt, right?
I’ve been trying out this “feeling as the goal” approach this past year and I have learned so much—mainly, old habits die so hard (ha). Stay with me though, this is a good thing…
Anyone who knows me, knows that I can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. Project after project. And I’m one of those people that loves to do everything—but hey, I find the most joy when I’m creating. While I have friends who marvel at this supposed “gift,” the past few years, I have noticed that it is taking its toll. Bigtime. And while I have my diet on lock-down, I have yet to get my stress level under control.
Last year, I found out that I have severe adrenal fatigue (and what’s sad is that many Americans do). But those who know me well, also know that when I set my mind to something (like getting well), I do it 110%. Part of my problem, as well, I guess. Adrenal fatigue was a humbling diagnosis, and I knew that I had to go out of my comfort zone to make the changes I needed to. But where to start?
Well, in the short-term, I needed to sleep. I cannot tell YU what a major difference getting my butt in bed by 10pm every night has made. I was the textbook night owl, who did her best work from the hours of 10pm-2am (unfortunately, for years). Sound familiar?
Now, long-term adjustments were where I really needed to rethink things—where I really have squirmed around, uncomfortably knowing what I have to do, but not quite sure how to get there.
For years, I have been juggling a design career and trying to build YumUniverse, all the while saying that I wanted things to be “…simpler. I want to feel calm. I need balance…” without making the major moves to attain those feelings. And what I love about life is that sometimes the wrong choices (see working all night long, trying to do it all) bring us to the right places (new approaches and new chapters). Adrenal fatigue kicked my butt in gear to finally go for it. Because I have no choice.
I love my Chicago. Me and my kitties moved here with enough money to pay for two month’s rent, and a 3-day-a-week-one-month-freelance-gig, and the bravery paid off. The last 16 years have been full of adventure, my share of frozen eyelashes and inspiring friends who I consider dear family now (pause—grateful moment). Chicago is a big part of my identity. It’s my home. But life changes, as we all know. Instead of live music five nights a week, I love to listen to those same bands on my iPod, digging in the rich earth of my garden and breathing fresh air instead of cigarette smoke.
Instead of painting for a gallery show, or sewing steampunk-inspired costumes for a fashion show, I find ultimate joy by baking kale into beet cupcakes and making quiches out of cashews. Instead of doing a hoop performance in front of 60,000 peeps at Soldier Field (ah, the old days), I like to have a handful of friends over for a lovely picnic-style tea party.
Oh, Chicago—there’s something amazing to get into every second of the day. But until I can police myself a bit more on the stress-tip, I have to opt out for a while.
Some of YU may know that my sweetheart and I got a little place in West Virginia last year to split time between the country and Chi. It was to try on the simple life in a way that wouldn’t induce complete panic for this city slicker (I am owning the patheticness of that statement). While this year has had it’s share of mini meltdowns (I did better than I thought), the guiding light for me has been this simple question: what makes me feel “simple, calm and balanced”?
And right now, if I’m honest, it’s… gulp… the country. There. I said it. My spirit needs more nature. Less activities. Fresh air. Walks along the Potomac River…
… hikes in the mountains. Daily walks to the tiny post office with my love. Intimate yoga classes (that, sorry Chicago, are the most challenging I’ve ever had). And more focus on what brings me my greatest joy, which is building and sharing on YumUniverse. Which is really YU—my plant-based fam.
So, this year, I will continue to listen to my “spirit” more. I will use my guiding themes of “simple, calm and balanced” to help me set themes and make important decisions, like making my new main “home” hub this adorable historic town in West Virginia, this spring (yep, I’m moving). I will continue to reorganize my life and shed the projects that keep me from focusing on what I love to do most. The people in my life, including myself, hopefully won’t have to hear how busy I am as much. I don’t want to be part of this nations’s glorification of “busy” anymore. Yay!
Happiest New Year to YU. And thank you 2012 for the lessons, and hellooo 2013—let’s do this.
I’ve made it official by sharing with YU what I aim to do this year.
Now, I want to know, what feelings do YU want to experience more of in 2013, and what changes do you think may unfold if you follow that theme?
Comment below, I’d love to hear from YU.