We are rightly encouraged to “accept who we are” and “be comfortable in our own skin.” This is true. But at the same time, we should all be open to changing and improving. We are all a work in progress. So yes, if we are overweight, we can love who we are but at the same time, strive to love ourselves more by losing weight. If we are still smoking or using snuff, let’s love ourselves and those around us even more by quitting. If our diet consists of fast foods and sodas – let’s change it. If our idea of exercise is to move our fork from our plate to our mouth – that’s a problem.
And let’s not forget about our minds, attitudes and emotions. Let’s do a check-up from the neck-up. If we have a tendency to look at the glass as half empty, let’s change the mindset to thinking the glass half full. Control of our mind is the key to addressing our attitudes and emotions, as well as our weight, bad habits, diet and exercise.
Napoleon Hill, an American self-help author, is best known for his book Think and Grow Rich which is among the 10 bestselling self-help books of all time. Two of my favorite quotes from him are “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve” and “If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”
If you decide you want a ‘new you’ for the New Year, what do you want the ‘New You’ to look like, feel like or think like?
Do you want to be healthier, slimmer, more joyful or all of the above? Choose your goals and set a plan in motion to achieve those goals.
It can take up to 2 years to form a new habit. Be ready for all sorts of roadblocks, setbacks and diversions along the way. Stress, situational influences, self-indulgence or simply having a bad week can seem to throw you off your goal. But the only factor that can truly throw you off your goal is YOU. Those other obstacles just throw you off your PLAN. Keep going until the behaviors that keep you on your goal become your new habits.
Prepare yourself throughout December for your January launch. Get a commitment from your family and friends to either support you or join you in your ‘New You’ plan. Whatever your goal, having motivation within yourself and encouragement in your immediate circle can get you on track and keep you there.
Perhaps your goal is to eat healthier and lose weight at the same time. Know not only how much food to eat but what kinds of food to eat. Substitute fresh vegetables for fries and chips. Substitute fresh fruits for candy. Substitute water for sodas. Understand how certain foods or ingredients can make losing weight easier or more difficult. Choose food that is natural and organic, not food that is processed and filled with chemicals. Check out supplements and homeopathics to make the journey easier, because they can address your triggers. Some people overeat because of cravings, some because they have the blues, some because they are stressed or nervous.
Exercise is not only a stress reliever, but can also help in weight reduction. Implementing a regular exercise program helps both your mind and body. And it doesn’t have to cost you a thing. Daily walks, sit-ups, crunches, jumping jacks or skipping rope all help get the circulation going, burn calories and make you feel better. Start slow and build. The idea is for it to be enjoyable and not a punishment. If you want the discipline or comradery of others, join an exercise facility or enlist family or friends to join you.
If you choose to quit smoking – do your research. Certain foods can decrease your nicotine cravings; you will want to stock up on them. Investigate supplements, acupuncture, hypnosis and homeopathics that can address your cravings, the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and detoxification of your body. Go for that daily walk (without your pack of cigarettes) when you get that craving feeling and the craving will pass by the time your walk is finished. You will have gotten a ‘natural’ high.
Whatever goal you choose to tackle in order to create the ‘New You’, prepare yourself. Set your goal; educate yourself – read and google with discernment; design your plan; enlist support from family and friends; and implement the plan. And most important – don’t give up! If you slip and fall, don’t just scratch it. Start again, and if you need to – start yet again. Eventually you will win.
We can love ourselves without loving the fact that we are overweight. We can love ourselves in spite of practicing poor health habits. But, we can also demonstrate love to ourselves by working on changing ourselves. Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher said “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”