Impossible resolutions to stop making

I love goal setting and creating positive intentions. Rather than do this January 1, I do this on new moons, new weeks and occasional Tuesdays for good measures. But not all goals are created equal. If the premise behind your goal is negative and self-damaging, the work put in will also be negative and self-damaging. Some goals people regularly set are impossible to achieve. The following are three Id like to suggest never to make again.

1. Fix your body with diet and exercise

You cant fix your body because there isnt anything wrong with it. You have a good body. Yes, you. Even if its overweight, underweight, wrinkly, saggy, young, old or any other variables you can think of. And it is highly likely that it is within your power to make some physical changes to it. Its possible that with thoughtful, healthful eating and beginning or making adjustments to your exercise routine you could become stronger or leaner or whatever you desire. For the record, I am not opposed to fitness goals or even simply physique goals. The trouble is in the thinking that there is something wrongwith your body, that it needs fixing. This thought process begins with self-depreciation and nothing positive grows from hate. If every time you set out for a run or pick up a fork you do so with a mindset that something is wrong with you, not only will you miss out on the joy you could be gaining from your choices, but you will quit your plan. Eventually you will tire of your own bullying and the same mindset that got you on your kick to make changes will sabotage your efforts. There is nothing wrong with you. The sooner you approach your body with love and respect, the more likely you are to meet any goals you have thereafter.

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2. Get the fitness model look.

You see the ads for protein powder. The ladies with all the abs and glutes for days. This isnt about that body type or if its okay to look like that. For the record, I admire the heck out of those women. One does not wake up looking like that on accident.Im not going to debate if this is an ideal body type. I actually dont believe in such a thing.That kind of physique takes time, dedication, an impeccable and specific diet and the kind of training most wouldnt dream of actually making a part of their lives. Therein lies the point. You cant just want to look like a figure model. You have to want to live like one. And while I am not suggesting that this is an impossible goal, it is a much different one than achieving a look so when you drink your margarita on a beach your abs will look amazing. You will likely have to literally change everything about how you live your life. This, I think, is best left to folks who love living that way. At the end of the day, whether or not you decide to go for this goal or not, you have to be signing up for the work, the restrictions and the time involved, not just the cute photos. I am not someone who would choose that lifestyle. I sometimes daydream about getting into body building in retirement after my daughter is grown. But right now my life includes a lot of treats, many variables in my schedule and really I enjoy more freedoms in all of my behaviors than would be allowed. That part though, is personal and for you to decide. But it is a choice about how you will live, not what your photos will look like.

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3. Make other people like you.

Of all the lessons Ive learned in my life, this has to be my favorite one. When I was 13 years old I found myself in what felt like a terribly difficult situation. I really needed to be cool. But I had friends whos idea of cool differed. So everything I chose to wear, listen to and favor in any way was chosen with careful consideration of accommodating everyone. This took a lot of effort, as you can imagine. And I was completely miserable. I remember sitting at home listening to a Cypress Hill cd (both my friends into rock and hip hop approved) that I didnt like all that much thinking, this is a ridiculous way to choose anything. So I made the rational choice to continue working at being liked like it was a full time job for several more years. What I eventually discovered were the following truths:

  • Being liked by everyone is not a thing. Some people spend their lives not liking anyone, ever. Some folks you just arent suited for. You cannot possibly be liked by everyone. Its not a thing.
  • Its miserable trying. Not working to gain the approval of all humans is not the same as being an asshole to everyone. Both do you zero good and require a lot of energy.
  • People who spend a lot of time criticizing others are not happy with themselves. So changing yourself would never please them, you were never the problem to begin with.

Give up on this one all together and make you like you. Indulge in what makes you happy. Wear what makes you smile. Behave in the strange way that feels like home to you. Were all a little (or a lot) strange. Were all a little broken. We arent all going to be best friends and have everything in common, but the more we embrace ourselves the less well need to give or receive so much feedback. Well be busy being enjoying the things we actually enjoy, behaving in the way that makes us shine and living a full life of our own design. Doesnt that sound like more fun then beige washing your entire life for fear of criticism?

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What I suggest instead:

Spend time figuring out what brings you joy. Let that be the goal. Try new things. Exercise in new ways. Experiment with what foods make you feel glorious. Seek a life that suits you so perfectly that you wouldnt dream of wasting a moment of it critiquing others choices or asking their approval of your own. When you live in this way you wont have to worry so much about the shape of your body parts or who likes you. The right people will leave, the best ones will show up. Your body will settle into a beautiful shape that fits a life you enjoy when you set out to move and eat in a way that feels good (and take the time to experiment and figure out what that is for you).

Set out to be your best self. Be patient and loving with yourself as you begin to move away from anything that doesnt serve you anymore or keeps you from the best of you. Cultivate the courage to show up as you and enjoy letting the rest fall into place. Better to find that you are a little weird than to keep being beige to suit others.



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