By Audrey Cade
It’s a brand-new year and a chance to set life on the right path! There’s something about a clean slate that makes us all feel like we have a new opportunity to overcome our shortcomings and become better versions of ourselves. I’ll admit it. I am just like so many others who make well-meaning promises to myself in the hope of making the new year better than the last. Maybe this year will be the year! The ultimate year of peace, happiness, and joy! Who knows?
By far, the most popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight (which may include sub-goals of exercising more and getting healthier). This is a noble goal, especially following a three-month binge fest starting with sneaking trick-or-treat candy on through pecan pie at Thanksgiving, all-you-can-eat rugelach for Hanukah, endless Christmas cookies, and all chased down with New Year’s appetizers and champagne! Can you say “bloated?”
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and volunteer that “yes, I would love to lose some weight!”; however, I contend that excess fat is not all that we should be trimming in 2019! Cutting calories is a good idea for many of us, but I suspect most of us could benefit from a diet of other sorts as we launch a new 365!
What “weight” should you lose in 2019?
Drama. For me, drama is like the evil carbs that simply must be eliminated from my menu. Yes, it can temporarily taste so good; but, drama is that sexy plate of pasta that distracts us from the good (and healthy) things in life…I’m not talking kale and quinoa, but more along the lines of peace and calm, trust, a clear conscious, and focus on what really matters!
If you can go keto, you can also let go of gossip, snooping on social media, keeping score, or being around anyone who engages in these behaviors. Drama is a thief of time, dignity, and energy. It keeps us awake at night, brings out the worst in us, and fuels our imaginations with worst case scenarios. A break-up with drama will allow for a positive flow of energy to wash away all the obstacles drama puts in our way to a good life!
Toxic relationships. A toxic relationship can make us feel like we’re being held underwater, unable to move or catch our breath! Sadly, many of the relationships that saddle us with guilt, oppression, lies, and abusive tendencies are with people we’re very close to, making it that much harder to cut the ties. As the name implies, a toxic relationship is literally poisonous. It can sap our energy, create an abundance of emotional problems, and prevent us from having the happiness we deserve!
The lie toxic relationships tell us is that we can’t live without them; yet, are we really living with them? A new year is the perfect time to release the chains of people in our lives who only bring us down! At some point, we must decide to either cut ourselves free from what drags us down or drown. Ending a toxic relationship isn’t a simple feat, but the long-term effects of eliminating toxicity from our lives hold many rewards. Once it’s done, you’ll know what I mean!
Self-doubt and pressure. Many of us struggle to feel like we’re enough. Are we smart enough, strong enough, attractive enough, or even loved enough? We measure ourselves against everyone else and set impossibly high standards for ourselves. If you’re tired of reaching higher and higher in search of perfection only to feel let down and inadequate, it’s time to drop the oppressive and unrealistic expectations we have for ourselves (or that we think others have for us)!
There is blissful freedom in allowing ourselves to be who we are, flaws and all. Instead of looking at mistakes as a bad thing, we can instead view them as life experience. So what if someone else has more money, the “perfect” family, or is better at doing something? None of us is an ace at everything we do; so, it’s quite likely that while we idolize another person, someone else wishes they were just like us!
READ MORE: How Self-Worthy Empowered Me
Bad habits. In more traditional New Year fashion, the blank slate of a new January is the ideal time to commit to going on a diet free from bad habits. Just like the anchor of toxic relationships or drama, bad habits drag us down in multiple ways. Imagine your personal poison (e.g. addictions, irresponsible money management, you name it!) and consider all the ways it adds stress, conflict, and burden to your shoulders. Some habits alienate us from the ones we love, put us in financial straits, or cause us shame. Is it all worth it in the end? If the answer is “no,” then now’s the time to start taking steps to lose that dead weight!
Starting your New Year Diet
What excess baggage do you need to lose from your life? The answer to that question is different for each of us; but, I would wager that we all have a few pounds we could stand to lose this year! Who wants to continue being weighed down by guilt, fatigue, anger, or anchors to an unhappy past? Not me!
If you’re ready to get your life in better shape, try some of these “weight loss” tips:
Keep a journal. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint our sources of stress or recognize detrimental patterns until we see it in black and white. If you know something’s not quite right (whether or not you’ve identified the source), try writing! Your journal can be a landing spot for free-flowing thoughts or a record book of events. The likely result is better perspective when you’re able to get a clearer look at cause and effect and why some aspects from your life just gotta go! A journal is also a useful tool to keep track of progress, brainstorm, and collect helpful information.
Replace bad with good. It’s challenging to go cold turkey from the status quo on the way to where we want to go simply by pulling out the rug! To make the adjustment easier to handle, try instead to replace some of the unwanted changes being made with new, positive ones! For instance, if trying to cut down on social media obsession, replace the time that would have spent on that activity with a new and enjoyable one (e.g. a walk to the library, creative time with an adult coloring book, or catch up on phone calls to long distance friends and family).
Whatever you choose as a replacement, have it readily available and be committed to using it so you don’t fall right back into your unwanted habits!
Talk about it. Most challenges in life are easier to endure with some support. You may be more successful in losing extra pounds if you have a friendly ear to unload your troubles to. Do you have a friend, colleague, or family member who can be a sounding board for you while you work off the weight? Some of us would prefer not to share our secrets and fears with someone we know, which is why we can consider other options like support groups (virtual or at your neighborhood rec center) or counseling to help us through!
Share the load.Many people find that exercising with a buddy helps them to stay accountable and motivated. Why not apply the same principal to shedding life weight? Invite a friend to set some goals with you, then work on completing them together!
Reward progress. Keep track of the strides you make in accomplishing your goals, then treat yourself along the way to keep the momentum going! Who doesn’t enjoy a pat on the back for a job well done or a well-placed carrot to keep moving forward? Decide what it will take to maintain a positive attitude in light of shaking up your life, and enjoy every step along the way!
If you’re ready to release the bulk of bad habits, toxic relationships, and more, there’s never been a better time than 2019!
About the Author
Audrey Cade is the author of Divorce Matters: help for hurting hearts and why divorce is sometimes the best decision (on Amazon) and the matriarch of a blended family of eight. She is an experienced “divorce warrior” in the areas of co-parenting, step parenting, parental alienation, and re-marriage, and enjoys sharing these experiences with others who are also committed to raising happy and healthy kids. Audrey’s professional experience is as a case manager social worker with the developmentally disabled, families with young children, and homeless populations. She holds degrees in Early Childhood Education, Human Service & Management, and a Master’s in Psychology. She enjoys family outings, a variety of arts and crafts, cooking, gardening, and writing. She is a featured blogger for Divorced Moms, has worked regularly appearing on Divorce Force, and articles appearing in Step Mom Magazine, The Good Men Project, and others.