We’ve all been there; a new year, a new chance to set some goals and make things happen! Or so we think for a few weeks… What happens next is no surprise to us chronic Resolution-makers: “Failure.” Try again, next year! This constant weeble-wobble - up and down, feel good then feel bad, going from hopeful to helpless back to hopeful for another round - battle against ourselves can leave us feeling less than excited when New Years rolls around, again and someone asks us what our resolution is. But, often times, we make resolutions out of fear or lack, out of insecurity or a deficiency in self-love, and our intentions to change, while we may think they’re strong or feasible, are less than sustainable because of this.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. And when we are trying to “lose weight,” for example, to look better on the outside, it may be a more realistic choice to “eat healthier” to become more vibrant, energetic and as a result, lose weight the right way, over a period of time. Gradual lifestyle changes stick; diets or fads don’t. And while the two may seem the same, choosing to be healthy versus choosing to drop a few pounds can have dramatically different intentions (and results). On the one hand, wanting to become healthier is an act of self-love, while wanting to look better or squeeze into a smaller size may stem from insecurity and low self esteem (fear and lack). When we truly love and honor ourselves, we stay committed for the long haul. And the results are undeniable: a radiant and able body, mind and soul, shining from the inside out, stronger and healthier relationships and a dramatically improved quality of life.
So, here is a list of 10 New Years Resolutions worth keeping, that you can work towards everyday, that will help you to become healthier, happier and closer as a family - and they don’t have an expiration date!
- Kindness. We’ve all been told to be “kind,” but what you may not know is that studies have found that practicing kindness acts like nourishment and improves creativity, growth and overall health. Also found was that most of us are more likely to act kind towards a stranger than those we see everyday. Start at home: be kind to yourself, and your family. When triggered by stress, we often act out in unkind ways. Though directed outward, our body absorbs the poison. Everyone is affected. Redirect your mind when you feel upset by something, or take a moment of “time out” before responding and reacting, and teach your children to do the same. A little kindness goes a long way. And it's like any other “muscle;” the more you use it and stretch it, the easier it is to respond with kindness, even in unpleasant situations.
- Trust and Faith. There is something inherently scary about the “unknown.” We all flock towards safety and comfort. But the thing about life is that there is little certainty, and though we think we are in control, it’s really an illusion. Learn to embody the meaning of trust and faith. Trust allows you to become comfortable with the unknown, and faith seals the deal by easing your mind, knowing that no matter what happens, it will all be okay. The more you can learn to trust and have faith, the easier your life will be. With less worry and stress, more space will be left over to fill with gratitude, joy and positive experiences. This is a priceless tool to teach your children that will stay with them for the long haul.
- Acceptance. There’s nothing more painful than arguing with reality. Suffering stems from the denial of “what is.” Resisting what is will not change it. In fact, it seems to bring us more of what we do not want. True acceptance is letting go, embracing what is (and what isn’t) and finding peace and comfort in appreciating things as they are. You may wish you were ten pounds lighter, or that your kids were not so messy, or that your spouse listened to you more. Though it may seem counterproductive, acceptance of what is, even if we don’t necessarily “like” it, removes resistance and negativity and actually leaves space open for what we desire to materialize and manifest in our life. Socks on the floor? No problem. When you stop focusing on what’s wrong, and instead focus on what’s right, you may find that your kids will suddenly begin helping out and picking up after themselves, and your spouse begins to pay closer attention to what you say. Nobody likes nitpicking or finger pointing. “Don't sweat the small stuff,” and watch how the small stuff begins to melt away, being replaced by mutual kindness and a deeper love for one another.
- Gratitude. Piggybacking on acceptance, once we learn to let go of how we “visualize” things “should” be, we can redirect our focus onto appreciating what is. Sure, the house is messy and your kids don’t understand you are constantly picking up after them. But… you can switch your focus and perception to appreciate the fact that you all share a home that can be messy. You have shelter, food, clothing, and everything you need. You have each other. You have children that are able and well, well enough to leave a big old mess behind! This is great news! This is a blessing. Gratitude opens the door to seeing one another for the value and beauty inside each and every one of you. Gratitude leads to love, understanding, kindness and compassion. When your mind is full of appreciation, it’s hard to feel bad or be irritable. Interactions go much more smoothly, and everyone feels seen and heard and loved. Win-win.
- Self-Love. Self-love is an expression of acceptance and gratitude. Resolve to love yourself each and everyday with all of your “flaws” and all of your beauty. Love your body regardless of the number that appears on the scale, but because of the amazing vehicle it is. It allows you to feel endless sensations, pleasures and experiences during this lifetime. For one, you get to hug and kiss your loved ones! There is only one you. And if you are not well, you cannot be there for anyone else. Your family included. Learning to love ourselves for all that we are and all that we aren’t is a sure-fire way to improve overall quality of life. And it’s the springboard from which we make healthy choices that honor our body, mind and spirit.
- Honor Your Body, Mind & Spirit. As mentioned above, there is only one of you, and you only get one body, mind and spirit in this lifetime. Love yourself enough to make choices that honor your value and worth and nourish your body and soul. Choose foods that make you feel good, rather than how they make you “look.” Move your body with joy. Everything that goes into your mind and body is a choice. Choose to empower your body with delicious, whole foods and feed your mind and spirit with positivity, knowledge and wisdom. Go on a negative-news-diet, removing gossip and fear-based stories from the home and replacing it with stories of inspiration, love and hope. Your children will get on board in time, even if they are resistant at first, once they see the incredible results that come from these shifts in “intake.” If you are what you “eat” (or do and practice), what do you wish to be? Clean, fresh and whole… or junk? Flexible, agile and playful… or sedentary and glum? Happy and upbeat... or stressed and sad? Choose wisely, choose with love.
- Listen to Your Heart. Your heart may very well be a brain. It’s our inner compass that knows when things feel bad or feel good. Our hearts easily process what our minds cannot. Give yourself some credit; you know a lot more than you think you do. And so do your children and family members. We don’t always know what is best for everyone else. And we have to have faith and trust that they have a guiding light inside of them, just like we all do. We may not understand it, or like it, but we must support matters of the heart. The heart will never lead you astray; and it always knows what is best for the highest good of all involved. Sometimes, we overthink and analyze and lose sight of how things feel. Check your intentions. Does this feel good, or does the choice stem fear? Quiet the mind, go deep within, and ask your heart for help with an answer. In this same way, respect and honor the choices your family members make when they follow their heart.
- Forgiveness. As discussed in length in the October/November 2017 issue of Kiddos Magazine, forgiveness is an act of self love that frees everyone from the bondage of negativity. Forgiveness is the key that opens the door to your heart, lets love and light shine in, and allows gratitude to replace bitterness, wellbeing to replace dis-ease. Many are unaware that forgiveness rarely has to do with other people. We do not have to condone the actions or words that hurt us in order to forgive. Through forgiveness, we can learn to practice true, unconditional love and appreciation for ourselves, others, and the very life that supports us. Forgive often (yourself, the past, others) and give your family the opportunity to increase compassion and understanding, freeing yourselves of the junk that weighs you down. The benefits far exceed those of holding onto anger or upset (remember, in that case you get to be right, but you don't get to be happy). Make the space in your hearts, in your home, and allow forgiveness to be the glue that holds you all together in love, acceptance and grace.
- Presence. No matter the question, presence is always the answer. Being mindful means being present in this very moment of time. A mindful practice like meditation, yoga or time in nature, filters stress out of the body. It quiets the mind, relaxes the body and invokes a state of inner peace. Studies show improvements in the mental, emotional, physical and social health and wellbeing of the children that practice it. Some more specific benefits include: improved ability to focus, improve memory, reduction in stress, anxiety and reactivity, better behavior and emotional management, increased self esteem, quicker to calm down and relax when upset, and increased empathy. In schools, bullying was seen taking a decline after mindfulness was introduced. There are profound benefits for adults, as well, that include improved self-control, objectivity, tolerance, flexibility, equanimity, concentration and mental clarity, emotional well-being and the ability to relate to others (and ourselves) with kindness, acceptance and compassion. If you’d like to learn more and snag some tips on bringing a mindful practice into your home, checkout the June/July 2017 edition of Kiddos.
- Quality Time. Technology is a superb tool we have come to rely on. And with all its benefits, there are some drawbacks including a loss of personal and quality time together. Resolve to turn off all devices, and spend some one-on-one time with your family. Or even with yourself! No app can replace the memories made with each other, embracing, sharing eye contact, laughter and love. Listen to one another without the distraction of notifications, beeps or answering emails. It can wait! This is time that you can never get back. Your children are only young once, and you all deserve the gift of quality time together. We never know what tomorrow holds. But we have right now. And you’re blessed to be able to share it with those closest and most special to you. Show them that they’re worth it. And honor yourself enough to choose this priceless gift of uninterrupted togetherness.
Resolutions do not have to be quick fixes that get you from A to B in X amount of days. By gradually forming healthy habits, practicing self love and self care, your family will see dramatic shifts in joy, laughter, health, and overall wellbeing. Your connection will be strengthened, you will become more resilient individually and collectively, and you will be able to enjoy each other - and life - more and more each day. And, ironically, the less you stress over your pant size, the quicker - with less stress and more fun - you will notice it drop (hint: when you feel good, you look good). Allow this New Year to be one that brings your family closer together, and brings each of you closer to your true nature - love, joy, ease, acceptance, gratitude and an abundance of blessings the whole year through.
Camille Lucy is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, Reiki & Raindrop Technique Practitioner, Ordained Holistic Minister, Certified Meditation Teacher (in process) and a Mother of 3 girls. Camille is also author of, "The (Real) Love Experiment: Explore Love, Relationships & The Self." Learn more about her and her adventure(s) at www.CamilleLucy.com.