So, in my last post, I talked a little bit about behavioral change, neural pathways and New Year's resolutions (yawn- haha). I think one of the important points that I was trying to make is that change can be difficult. However, it is not impossible or too difficult to attempt! I am all for change and love when people become inspired to grow and change in any way- that is one reason I do what I do! I think it is important though to be educated about the process of change as it helps to make sense of why some changes can be more difficult to make than others (which goes back to neural pathways, the brain and emotions).
I am going to rewind for a minute and talk strictly about New Year's resolutions and the pervasive nature/themes of New Year resolutions. If you were to take an inventory of the last few days, or even the last week, how many articles, commercials, conversations or facebook statuses have you noticed or observed that have had to do with weight loss, calories, fitness regimes, detox diets, plans for getting in shape, etc... ? I know that I have seen and encountered countless. I think often times New Year's resolutions are synonymous with weight loss and fitness goals. Out of curiosity, I googled New Year's resolutions to see what would come up, and about.com's top ten list of the most common resolutions popped up first in my search. Up to this point, I had never heard of about.com, but I am a sucker for lists and couldn't pass up finding out what made their top ten. Here it is:
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- Fit in fitness
- Tame the bulge
- Quit smoking
- Enjoy life more
- Quit drinking
- Get out of debt
- Learn something new
- Help others
- Get organized
It didn't surprise me at all that two of the top ten resolutions involved fitness or weight (as it reflects the values and messages that our society and media hold), but what did surprise me was that helping others, learning something new and enjoying life more were all on the bottom half of the list. There is certainly value in being healthy, and I think health should be a priority. If this means that in order to be healthy, you need to gain a few pounds, or lose a few pounds, then I encourage you to pursue health. But it is important to view health not solely as a physical thing- our health is more than just a physical measure. It also includes our mental health, our spiritual health and our emotional health. I think before we make any resolutions, or goals for ourselves, we may need to step back to see if these goals are consistent with our values and who we want to be before we move forward with them!
Maybe one thing that you can do instead of making a list of New Year's resolutions is to think about the kind of person that you want to be in 2010. Take a close look at what is influencing and shaping you as a person. Is it friends? Is it the media? Is it God? Is it family? It might be helpful to consider the sources of influence in your life, and decide if they are positive and helpful in becoming the person that you were made to be! I heard someone wise say that whether we know it or not, we all worship something based on how we live our lives and what we give our time, our attention, and our thoughts to. For some of us, there are great obstacles and challenges to overcome in order to be the person that we want to be, but there is hope in pursuing a life that is filled with meaning, intention and purpose. I would encourage you, as I encourage myself as well, to examine the kind of person that you want to be, the character traits and qualities that you want to exhibit, the experiences you want to have, and the life you want to live- and move forward in a direction that is consistent with those things.