I love visuals. A picture can cut through all the words and deliver a message straight through to our consciousness. An image can clarify, warn or encourage. It can stick in your head and maybe even change how you look at yourself and your goals.
January’s resolutions are perhaps a distant memory. Maybe you’ve hit your target and lost a hundred pounds or run your first marathon. Amazing! Or you’ve achieved your modest goal of shedding a pound or two a week or walking in your neighborhood for twenty minutes.
Or maybe not. There’s a good chance that whatever you’ve not done or whatever has taken longer than you planned will cause you to feel discouraged. You step on the scale and wonder, if you were meant to keep your resolutions, then why stick Valentine’s Day in there before you’ve even had a chance to hit your stride.
As spring approaches, guilt may have to set in. Most of us begin the resolution process with resolve. This dedication gets tested many times before tax day. We go to the Farmers’ Market to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables and end up with a bag of Kettle-corn. It has roughage. Right? We go to the gym for three days, and then work gets busy. Overtime and we are too exhausted to even considering a workout. Isn’t sleep important too? There’s never enough of that.
This winter you’ve had the flu, or your kids have. You had a party or two you had to attend. After all you have social obligations. Of course there was food there and you stayed too late and missed another workout. Or you were on a roll, and then your shoulder started hurting, so you couldn’t swim. Or you had that long-avoided foot surgery. Well, at least while you convalesced you spent a few minutes a day practicing your relaxation breathing, meditation and mindfulness.
You didn’t? Instead you spent hours on Facebook and Twitter? Just yesterday, when you’d been good for two whole days, you walked by a doughnut shop and an apple fritter called out to you.
The time that has passed since January has included many lost hours, days and weeks. Is this month a loss too? Is it hopeless? Should you wait until next year and write some really extraordinary 2019 resolutions?
No, I’m suggesting you switch your focus and go for a long-term approach. Resolutions are helpful, but this health thing is a life-long journey measured by choices you make every day.
So ditch the all-or-nothing approach and take the all-and-more attitude. Most of the time, eat your fruits and vegetable and exercise. Sloth is one of the seven deadly ones, but endorphin addiction can make you a gym junky with no time for higher goals.
Balance. Play. Spend time with friends or with creative endeavors.
Sleep enough. Don’t delude yourself into thinking your productivity is more important than rest.
Finally, consider that apple fritter, or whatever it is that makes you forget your inner compass. Our bodies are wired to resist deprivation. Don’t deny yourself all the time. But don’t indulge yourself all the time either.
A wise friend said to me, “It’s never too late to have a good day.” Translated, it’s never too late to get back to your good habits.
Another one advised. “Everything in moderation.”
That has a certain visual appeal.