“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
With 2012 just starting, New Year’s resolutions are on everyone’s mind.
I’ve never liked the word “resolution.” As defined in the dictionary, resolution means “a firm decision to do or not do something,” and anyone who’s ever done, well, anything knows that life rarely works like that.
I prefer to think of my January decisions as New Year’s Solutions. Defined in the dictionary as “a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation,” solutions are useful and practical. Thinking about them now helps us find peace in whatever may happen in the year ahead.
The best solution I can think of, and one that is especially helpful after the excess of the holiday season, is letting go.
As a Body Image Coach, I often hear stories from people who decide at the beginning of a year that this will be the one when they’ll be able to fix their bodies.
They want to “fix” themselves; they want to look like their high school pictures or their super fit best friends or whoever’s on the cover of Vogue.
My feedback for all who are constricted by a negative diet mentality: let go.
This seems counterintuitive, ironic, cruel, and maybe even ridiculous. You’ve just connected with a powerful desire about what you want your life to be like, and now I’m going to tell you that you have to move forward completely unattached to the outcome of whether you’ll get the life you want and will now be working toward.
The crux of this philosophy is that in order to get that which we want, we must let go of our need and desire for it.
This may sound impossible, unattainable and completely contradictory; however, this is where freedom lies.
I know firsthand that letting go is the path to freedom and joy. My struggle with weight started when I was a toddler. When I got older, I thought that if I could only lose the extra weight, I would be happy.
I did lose the weight—100 pounds—between my 24th and 25th birthdays. I had finally achieved what I thought was my goal; I was thin, so I should be happy, right?
I was more miserable than ever. I was so worried about gaining the weight back, so scared that I might relapse, that I couldn’t enjoy my newfound health.
I was stuck living in fear that the future would not be what I wanted, that I would lose control, that my hard work would be for naught.
It was only when I figured out how to live in the present, how to be focus on the now and not concern myself with worrying about things that had not even yet happened, that I was able to be happy.
After learning to do that, not only was I content for the first time in my life, but I also was able to keep the weight off without worrying about it. I have kept that 100 pounds off for 24 years.
We achieve the life we desire when we begin living for the moment, in the moment, and because of the moment. Finding happiness in this New Year will not be an outcome or a result. It is doing; it is being.
How can your foster this way of being in your life? It begins with looking at those things we desire most and finding the bliss in working toward them in the present—not in achieving them in the future.
Achievement is still the goal, but ironically, you only get there by letting go of the need for it.
In other words, I invite you to fall in love with your New Year’s Solutions, with the transformation, growth, and healing you are experiencing for its own worth.
Let go of the outcome you want to achieve, be it weight loss, wealth, or finding love, and find the beauty and bliss that comes with being in the moment.
My “solution” for letting go comes in daily reminding myself of the process. I do that using this morning affirmation for self-love:
Today, I accept myself just the way I am.
Today, I accept my body the way it is.
Today, I accept my mind the way it is.
Today, I accept my heart the way it is.
Today, the love I have for myself is so strong that I embrace all that is me.
Self-love transforms my life from fear to joy and guides me to make healthy choices.
Today, I share time with others and easily forgive any injustice I feel in my mind.
Today, all of my relationships are based on respect, love, and joy.
Today, I allow the divine wisdom in me to direct all my thoughts, words, and deeds.
Today, I allow divine love to give me the peace and joy.
Today, I remember I am one with all life, and I give thanks for being me.
I invite you to read this in the mornings ahead, and reflect upon what solutions you will carry forward into a beautiful, promising, unknown New Year. Then let go and step into today.
Photo by Jack Batchelor