As I pick off the last of my glitter nail polish left over from the holidays, I start to reflect on all of the ups and downs that made up 2018. It was an odd year for me overall- a lot happened, and yet everything still managed to stay exactly the same. I had spent the better part of last year virtually consumed with work, school, volunteering, writing and countless social obligations all in hopes that it would eventually lead me down the rabbit hole of success (or at the very least in the arms of someone successful). Although dating wasn’t really a priority, somehow the opposite sex still managed to sneak in and try and steer me off course in the emotions department. Luckily for me, 2018 was also the year that my bullshit meter really stepped up its game, and I’m proud to say that I was able to dodge quite a few bullets directed straight at my heart- NOT TODAY, Satan!
With the arrival of a new year comes an abundance of resolutions made by people all around the world that will be dropped quicker than the reboot of Roseanne. I’ve never been one for making specific resolutions, but I do usually try to set an intention for the year ahead. Last year my intentions were to just do me, whatever the hell that means. I feel like that’s just what people with zero direction say to sound confident in not having made any set plans. Nobody ever truly does anything for themselves without the expectation of some sort of recognition. In my case, I was looking for recognition in the form of Instagram likes and encouraging Facebook comments from my mum and her friends. The new year is supposed to bring forth an overwhelming feeling of motivation as we gear up to make changes and strides in personal growth. But after being completely out of any sort of routine for 2 weeks straight, consuming copious amounts of holiday junk food and putting on my “good” yoga pants whenever I was forced to leave the house, I was left feeling pretty lethargic and all around gross.
The most common New Year’s resolutions for a lot of people usually involve losing weight, getting in shape (wait-potato isn’t a shape?), and establishing a healthy lifestyle. I’ve been trying to lose the last 10 pounds for maybe, oh, I don’t know…a decade or so now, and as the popular meme circling the internet at the moment states, only 20 more pounds to go! Losing 10 pounds isn’t the hard part. The problem is, 10 pounds always turns into 20 and then the vicious cycle starts all over again. I’m convinced that there’s also a point when your body just decides that it’s not going to do what you want it to do anymore, so you may as well just eat the damn donut already. I’ve been on a weight loss journey most of my life and, like many others, have experienced both great success and failure along the way. Every time I’ve fallen off the wagon, I’ve always managed to find my way back on, even if that meant chasing it down and grabbing onto the bumper as it dragged me through a muddy dirt road lined with peanut M&M’s.
I usually spend my Saturday mornings surrounded by (mostly) women who, like me have been on and off the diet train their entire lives. The only difference between us and the train, is that we’re usually carrying a lot more junk in our caboose, HEY-OH! If you’ve ever been to a Weight Watchers meeting, you’ll probably notice that the average member’s age is about 55, and that they definitely all missed the memo about the “good vibes only” movement. For a place that is supposed to motivate and inspire you, the negativity that fills that room is really quite astonishing. I don’t know how it turns into a bitch session every week, but I often find myself shocked that people find it appropriate to air their grievances in a room full of strangers. My sympathy is always directed at our WW meeting leader, Judy, whose sole job is to ensure that we all leave with a positive attitude, a couple of gold stars, and a restored will to live. The motivating factor for me is that I’m usually the most positive person in the room (aside from Judy). Even after having guilted and shamed myself for running straight to the nearest drive-thru in a PMS rage of hormones the night before my weigh-in, I take comfort in the fact that there’s still time to save myself from turning into one of these negative Nancy’s…Carol’s or Barbara’s.
It’s no secret that I’ve been on every single weight loss program ever created, but Weight Watchers did something for me that all of the others didn’t. It took the guilt out of dieting. Because it already aligns with so many of my beliefs- that the fundamentals of a healthy life start with the understanding of moderation- it was the most realistic and sustainable program for me to follow. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel deprived, starving and depending on the day, completely miserable, but at least I don’t have to feel overwhelming guilt for indulging in pizza and wine on a Friday night watching Say Yes to the Dress reruns on TLC. The problem with diets, resolutions, and focusing on all of the things you haven’t yet achieved, is that it often has the opposite effect on your mental state. Instead of feeling motivated to improve, all of your negative traits become highlighted and you start to slowly give up on yourself with each failed attempt at perfection. That’s the real problem with setting New Year’s resolutions- you are essentially setting yourself up to fail right from the start. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have personal goals and aspirations, because I’m ALL for having a vision board, but our focus should be more on digging deep within ourselves and figuring out the real reason we lack the success we crave in certain aspects of our life. Will losing 10 pounds really be the key to your eternal happiness? Probably not, and even when you do succeed, you’ll still feel like you failed. (God, I’m starting to sound like Barbara!).
Besides losing weight in 2019, another aspect of my life that I’m going to be focusing on is getting a handle on my spending habits. I do feel more financially stable at this stage of life than ever before, but I still have work to do. As much as I love buying whatever the hell I want (which is literally my attitude lately), it would be nice to actually have money in the bank…to buy more shit! LOL Kidding (sort of). After spoiling my friends and family this past Christmas and buying their love with designer goods, I started to feel post-holiday anxiety laced with Catholic sized guilt. It also probably didn’t help that for every gift I purchased for someone else, I also bought for myself (and then some). I also want to curse whoever decided to bring Black Friday sales to Canada. As if I really needed any more excuses to spend money on myself right before Christmas. Let’s just say Santa was VERY good to me this year, I just wish that he hadn’t used my credit card.
Being realistic in setting intentions for yourself, or resolutions if you so choose to call them that, is really the key to success. Not that there is anything wrong with dreaming big, but if you’re going to set a resolution for yourself, you better make sure that it is a feasible one. Maybe your intention for 2019 is to leave things behind, like shitty people or a job that you hate. Making a giant leap outside of your comfort zone can be a great motivating factor to ensure a successful year. It might be time to develop your very own “ain’t nobody got time for that” persona and just start putting yourself first for once. I’m an only child, so I’ve basically been putting myself first since birth. That started to shift though after being in a series of bad relationships and surrounding myself with toxic people who weren’t always authentic. Age, wisdom, and having put up with so much of people’s shit in my past has really made me start to see the importance of self-care, and has forced me to make it a priority again. I work out and eat healthy for me, not because I want to look good for someone else. I don’t deprive myself of pizza and wine out of fear that I’ll hate myself in the morning, like a bad one night stand. I mean, this is totally a work in progress, but I have been making leaps and bounds in the “fuck the guilt” department.
In my opinion, the motivation for change only comes from within and you can’t force it just because the calendar on the wall states that it’s January 1. This year, I vow to leave guilt behind because quite frankly, it’s too exhausting to feel like you’re failing all the time. I still have goals and things that I want to achieve this year but I’m not going to feel like I betrayed myself for gaining a little holiday weight or buying that overpriced scarf that I’ve always had my eye on. Small steps lead to great strides, and I have my whole life to chase contentment (you thought I was going to say waterfalls, didn’t you?). Even if you do achieve all of your resolutions this year, the giant list of life improvements that we all want to make never really ends. There is always going to be something you want to change, fix, or eliminate in life- whether it be your body image, wealth (or lack thereof), or your social circle. Then comes the added pressure of holding onto your resolutions once you’ve actually achieved them and not being completely hard on yourself if you start to slip back into old ways. This usually leads to the same resolution being re-added back to the top of the list the following year, for the cycle to start all over again. My year has already started out on a pretty amazing note, and I plan on riding that tune all the way through 2019, or at least until my next cheeseburger Happy Meal. Which by the way, is 14 totally worth it WW smart points.
Happy New Year!