I’ve always been told that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T - if you don’t remember this acronym it doesn’t matter, because life has enough external pressures in it without needing to put them on ourselves. Instead of making specific, measurable (etc.) goals I am gentle with myself and make resolutions that I can stick to because they align with my values and make sense to me. The four things that are most important to me are my family; movement; my local community and the environment. So each year I make a resolution to help strengthen those areas of my life.
This is where family games night came from and new for 2018 will be an experiment with a family movie night. 2018 is the year of second hand or local and ethical clothing choices while last year we tried not purchase single use plastic. Last year I tried to revive our residents association and this year I want to get the members of my community class interacting and making friends with each other. My movement focus for last year was the back fascial line and this year will be about forearms, wrists and hands. I think about my focus point in lesson plans, while teaching, in my own training and on my daily walks - and I tend to buy a whole lot of books on the area too. This way I accrue more knowledge about the workings of our amazing bodies in a manageable way.
Then, in other areas of my life instead of focus and drive I resolve to follow my curiosity because life is a journey and I don’t really know where I am going yet but I know that I’m constantly learning and that is the kind of journey that I want to be on. In other words I take a whole lot of classes and courses, some of them relevant most of them just for fun.
When people come to me with weight loss and exercise targets, well I shrug. I’ve seen it all before
it’s not fun and frankly diets. Don’t. Work - and who says you need to lose weight anyway? I recommend my two favourite body positive books Health at Every Size and Things No-One Will Tell Fat Girls and I ask them what their weight represents to them? Are they nostalgic for a happy time when they also happened to be skinnier? Do they think that when they have lost weight they will be able to start a dance class? be in less pain? Is it really their weight that stops them from living their life the way they want to? Perhaps they can change their focus to loving their body for what it can do and appreciate their fat for its immunity boosting preadipocytes that devour germs and bacteria; Its ability to store glucose and save energy for when we need it; the production and metabolising of a huge array of hormones and combined with muscle mass the fact that it makes us live longer if we are hit with a chronic illness. This is the phenomenon that drove cardiologist Carl J Lavie to write The Obesity Paradox - another book that I highly recommend.
For the new and enthusiastic participants in my over booked January classes I ask them to reflect on how they can incorporate walking or joyful movement into their day. I give them movement homework to do when brushing their teeth, putting on their shoes or getting in and out of chairs because we don’t just move at the gym - and because the gym is boring and I don’t think I’ll actually see them again after February. For these people, of course their resolutions are left by the wayside when life gets busy. A goal to exercise more means nothing if you don’t actually value or appreciate exercise. If it doesn’t matter to you of course you won’t prioritise it. That’s OK, find a movement that does matter to you - walking with friends is great and housework doesn’t count because there are no studies that show housework makes you happy - none.
Happy New Year