I started the new year doing what I love most – running on a mountain. It was a no-brainer really. Trail running is “my thing” It’s what restores my equilibrium. It’s my soul-fuel.
It was whilst I was skipping down a mountain path, leaping from rock to rock, wide grin and arms flailing wildly (for effect) that I passed a fellow enthusiast. Well, maybe “enthusiast” is a bit of a stretch.
He was noticeably overweight, sweating profusely, yet stoically marching up the mountain in a very determined way. His arms were pumping, his breathing ragged and his iPod was pumping out music to distract him from his obvious misery. I prefer the birds.
I also noticed he was kitted out in brand spanking new gear. Shoes included.
Which got me thinking.
It’s very possible he was participating in a well-meaning and enthusiastically made new year’s resolution to either get fit or lose weight (or maybe both).
Will he stick it out? Will he achieve his goal?
Probably not. And no, I’m not being unkind and pessimistic. Here’s my reasoning:
He simply Wasn’t. Having. Fun.
In fact he looked positively miserable.
Now new years resolutions in and of themselves are not bad. Or wrong. They’re born from feeling bad or unhappy. About things within ourselves. Or our current realities.
Essentially a resolution is always about wanting to change something about ourselves in order to feel “better”.
Nothing at all wrong with that.
Yet it’s HOW we choose to achieve it where it all goes wonky. Unrealistic time frames are set, unpleasant paths are chosen and scorecards are kept.
And as with anything that’s unpleasant, it becomes unsustainable. Like the cabbage diet (remember that?). And so finally we succumb. And we stop. And we feel bad. A failure. Hopeless.
We set ourselves up for disappointment. Every time.
There is another way though. A nicer way. A sustainable way.
Simply set INTENTIONS.
Not huge scary ones, but daily, good-feeling ones.
I always write a list of 5 (or 10, or 20) every morning as part of pre-paving my way to a good day. And then I do my best to follow through. Just my best.
Here are some of my more regulars:
- I intend to laugh a lot. Out loud
- I intend to notice all the flowers and bugs and birds and lizards surrounding me as I run.
- I intend to feel heaps of appreciation for my body as I exercise.
- I intend to eat yummy food that’s nourishing and tastes amazing!
- Etc, etc..
Be more specific if you prefer. Or be more general.
INTENTIONS are current. And realistic. And sustainable. And they’re top-of-mind.
And you’ll feel really good. And your life will improve. I promise.
And irrespective of how the day unfolds, tomorrow you get a do-over.
It’s simple: set your intentions and do your best to follow through.
Which isn’t only a brilliant way to start a new year, but a brilliant way to live every day.
It’s a perfect system!
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