By Kate Kerry Spencer
The annual January push for shrinking your waistline and sculpting your abs is in full force. Gym memberships go for as little as $10, making it easy to get onboard with your New Year’s plan to finally drop the pounds, get into your high school (or grade school) pants, and feel once and for all fabulous. Sounds like a plan!
There are thousands of variations on this theme. From finally organizing your besieged closet, to at-long-last getting that pile of clothes, shoes and books donated, to once and for all matching up all the lone socks to make up a pair—or turning them all into crafty sock puppets in your spare time. Tis the season for resolutions.
One day, in the long yawn of February, you may find your resolve dissolve. The snooze button on your clock may become your new best friend. Those clothes you meant to donate might seem to deserve a second look. The same goes for the books, which once re-friended can feel like part of your long-lost family.
All of this is ok.
Begin again on your resolutions, but this time, make them manageable. Instead of donating dozens of boxes of books, take just one to a friend at work. Or get together with a couple of neighbors and set up one of those little lending libraries that look like tiny apartment houses for birds.
Take another look at those clothes you re-reclaimed and see if you really do love them still. If you do, keep them. If you don’t still really want those clothes, pack one small box up and drop it off at a women’s shelter. Then do that again next week, or next month. Consignment is another option and using some of the money you make on your clothes could help fund a bigger dream for your life. Keep your eyes open for that dream.
And then there’s the gym, the one that looked like your once-and-for-all decision. If you have started hitting the snooze button instead of hitting the gym, you’re in very good company. It’s one of the top resolutions that people let go of in the New Year. Often, it’s because it feels like an all or nothing proposition. You’re either all in or all out. And sometimes, for some people, it does come down to that.
But life mostly isn’t an all or nothing proposition. It’s a progressive series of steps, some missed, some perfectly landed and all part of the story of you. The one and only, perfectly imperfect, gloriously human, you.
With that perfectly imperfect you in mind, resolve today to love yourself just as you are, in this very moment. Don’t wait until you’ve stopped making mistakes, because we all make them. It’s what we learn from our mistakes that matters, and how we apply that knowledge the next time.
Resolve today to be supportive of the best in you, even if you’re still not completely sure there’s a lot of good there yet. Be willing to be supportive of your good even if you don’t fully trust it yet.
Make living, forgiving and renewing your life a little each day your resolution. Resolve to love yourself unconditionally, with kindness and patience. With eyes and heart wide open. With forgiveness for yourself and others.
Keep this resolution for life, your one and only life. With this resolve, a couple of 5-pound weights and a jump rope, you’re on your way to a new day!
This morning greet your day with renewed hope and the determination to build some muscle. Every small transformation you see in your body can inspire you to other changes in your spirit.
Set your alarm to allow yourself 20-30 extra minutes to do some form of exercise, either muscle building (using your new 2, 5, or 10+lb weights) or cardio, using a jump rope (if you don’t have neighbors living downstairs) or just walking laps around your apartment or around the block.
Create a cadence with your steps, jumps or weights and encourage yourself with these words:
I am strong, brave, healthy, whole. Strong, brave, healthy, whole. Strong, brave, healthy, whole.
Tonight, before you go to sleep, put your hand on your heart. Breathe in and breath out, slowly and deeply. Feel your muscles growing like a brave spring shoot in a glorious garden. Remind yourself that you are part of this beautiful garden of life. Trust in your blooming.
Kate Kerry Spencer is a Pacific Northwest writer, editor, and publisher. Learn more about her upcoming memoir, Smoke: A Story of Love, Lies and Cigarettes.
Smoke is the story of fatal consolations--tobacco, denial and deceit--and the second chances that can come to us in the most unlikely places. For this mother and daughter it was a rehab center where the two women wrestled with cigarettes, scrambled brains and each other--and in the process, found the long way back to love.