I dislike making New Year’s resolutions. Yes, it’s a new year. Yes, it’s a fresh start. But the ghosts of New Year’s past come to town for a big haunting. Because, how many times have I resolved to get thinner, only to bail on the biggest wish of all?
This year, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I’m taking a look at the meaning of the word. The first part of the definition is a firm decision to do or not to do something. And second, it’s the action of solving a problem such as finding a peaceful resolution. How often have I wished for peace when it comes to weight? Every single year. And several times throughout every single year. And days, and weeks, hours, minutes. So much time spent vowing and promising and dieting and failing.
Time and time again, we feel the pain, of letting ourselves down, of not reaching a goal that we say is important to us. We berate ourselves, judge ourselves, and the only thing that seems to shrink is our self-esteem. So why, when we say we want to resolve this issue, are we not able to make it happen? Why, with each new year, is it still on the table?
I have spent many hours pondering that question. And up until recently, my answers to that question were lack of discipline, no willpower, going unconscious, using food to bury my feelings. Most of the reasons really stemmed from one singular thought which was I wasn’t doing something ENOUGH. The problem must be me. I must be weak, or bad at follow through. It must be some character flaw, some weak horrible fiber in my being that just can’t seem to master this one issue.
And yet, I have done many things in my life where I’ve set a goal and reached that goal. I’ve worked very hard and very intensely to get results in almost every other area in my life. So how is it that in this one particular area I was failing? What was different about a weight loss goal? How could I be so undisciplined around this issue, but have success in other areas of my life? What is really going on?
Sound familiar? Have you ever vowed you’re going to do it differently only to find that intense cravings pull you off the rails? The late night trips over and over to the refrigerator? The recriminations suffered after you’ve binged and then binged again? The dread the next morning of knowing you sold yourself out, and sometimes you get so frustrated you just chuck it all and move into anger, despair and denial? Or perhaps you’ve actually gone to an even darker place, literally starving yourself into submission, perhaps even endangering your health, and punishing your body. How many times have you put yourself through the ringer?
Is weight loss on this year’s list of resolutions? Do you tell yourself this time will be different?
Perhaps you downloaded The Luminous Plan, vowing to try this. And maybe you went a few days, then life happened and you broke the rules. More recriminations. More pain. More upset. Or maybe a family member or two over the holidays got you thinking this is too radical. Too hard to sustain for very long.
I want to ask you to give some thought to what’s really hard. Because for me, when I really thought about it, what seemed even harder than doing this plan, was the endless pain I was causing myself by not surrendering and doing it differently. And there it was, that word: Surrender. What got me on this journey, and keeps me on this journey is the reminder that this is not a fight. That fighting is what I’ve done most of my life when it comes to weight loss. I don’t want to fight with my body anymore. I don’t want to go through the endless cycles of promising and failing, the constant flogging of my self esteem. I don’t want to play the mind games anymore.
So I ask you…what do you think is more severe? What feels really really hard? What if you were to simply surrender to a different way of being? What if you could get to the other side and experience a freedom from the cravings and the pain? What if you knew the promise of moving to that place meant a real end to the suffering? What if this time is different because you are approaching it from a much clearer consistent point of view? And what if you could suddenly have your mind and body in alignment? Working FOR you, not against you?
What if you simply surrendered? For some, that word means defeat. It might feel really vulnerable. But surrender does not mean giving up. It does not mean throwing away control or caution to the wind. For me, surrender was being willing to trust the process. I surrendered to giving it my all, to keeping my promise to myself, with clear and consistent boundaries. I surrendered to accepting my moments of imperfection. I surrendered to the journey not being perfect. I surrendered to allowing my body to heal and doing what was needed in order to get mind and body in alignment.
I surrendered to telling myself the truth. And I didn’t allow a slip-up or breakdown to derail me from my surrender. I surrendered to the possibility that this time would be different because I was willing to let go of the things that aren’t serving me. I surrendered to the truth about what food does and doesn’t give me. And I surrendered to what it means to keep my word to myself, and when I slip, I surrender to forgiveness and I move on.
I surrender to letting go of the past.
So this year my new year’s resolution is not about losing weight. For the first time, for as long as I can remember, it’s off the list. I am already on the road, and moving in the direction I need to go. This year isn’t about hard lines, it is about staying within the lines, surrendering to stay with them and in turn, allow mind and body to work together, to be gentle but firm, with a relentless spirit who won’t be derailed with a minor setback.
This journey is not for the faint of heart. It requires you to think big, be mindful, and then, surrender. It requires you to stay open to watch it unfold, to begin to think differently.
The difference is in how you begin. And how you begin, starts with surrender.