Are you one of those people who set New Year Resolutions? Or are you someone who knows yourself well enough to avoid making such a preposterous 365 day goal? Maybe you prefer bite size goals so you set 30 day goals or three month goals. I have been both but this year I’m saying to hell with it. No New Years Resolutions for me. Bye Felicia! This year is going to be about daily intentions and habits that will lead to a better year.
If there’s one thing I learned in 2017 it was to basically stop everything I had been doing: stop seeking, stop dieting, stop punishing myself, stop the negative self-talk and stop planning for things beyond my control.
This was not an easy task for a stubborn control freak like me. When I thought I had stopped those things, I stopped myself again and stopped some more.
This year is about being present. Mindful. Grateful. Peaceful. And while I have a few small goals in mind, like paying down more on my student loan, I am not committing to anything that will stress me out. All my goals revolve around cultivating inner peace and presence. My 2018 is about daily mindfulness and habits that will ultimately lead to a better life. For instance, a daily gratitude practice and eating healthy are important to me.
Similarly, the undesirable self-care acts are on my radar as well. Saving money and budgeting with intention and mindfulness aren’t fun but will result in a better future for our family. I’m over committing to stopping something or starting something else (as is typical with most new years resolutions).
My friends reading this are probably floored. I am usually the girl with 14 resolutions that have failed by April. I’m starting one workout while thinking about the next. I’m weighing what diet will be most effective for losing 20lbs. I also the one with the stack of bedside books constantly reading the self-help/personal development books; the one constantly trying to change, grow and be better than I was the day before. I always feel crappy so I am the friend who’s trying on a new diet as often as I buy shampoo. I’ve tried paleo and keto and whole30 and gluten free and dairy free. I still feel crappy despite all the restrictions so I’m done! No more dieting!
This year is about tuning in and listening to my body. After my recurrent miscarriages (four in three years) I disconnected from my body. I subconsciously shut off that link because of the grief, guilt, shame, resentment and anger. Now, I am rebuilding that relationship by getting quiet with myself, listening inwardly and fulfilling her needs. If I crave chocolate, I’ll have a small piece of dark and enjoy, nay!, savour every single nibble. Lately, my body wants peanuts. A few months ago it was steamed broccoli. If we stop dieting and just listen, our bodies tell us what it needs and very rarely will it say a big mac with supersized fries and a fountain coke. But if it does occasionally, go for it with zero regrets! Move your body because it’s a beautiful vessel capable of running, jumping and floating. I am called to swimming and yoga lately and it feels so much better to exercise because I like to than to do a cardio workout because it’s a part of my scheduled fitness program.
I’m done body shaming and judging my body in the mirror. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate and love my body. I no longer feel shame for what it cannot do or what it looks like. I am grateful for my perfect working limbs and my curves, muscle, cellulite! All of it! Most of all, I am loving the woman who stares back at me. I’ve worked hard through reading, self-reflection, journalling, counselling, learning and so much more to become the person I am loving today. I see a woman who is kind, thoughtful, funny and resilient. She’s also stubborn, short tempered and a little self-righteous at times. She loves yoga and running and dislikes broken promises and flaky people. She is finally confident in her skin now.
I need not seek externally for everything I was seeking was waiting deep within. It’s within you too.
I’ve read so many incredible books that have helped lead me to this point. But so often I was in a madness to find THE book that would end my suffering, heal the issues stemming from childhood and make me THE best person on the planet. Talk about setting the bar high, eh?! It was actually insane looking back on these last few years. I realized books aren’t the be all, end all despite the power and potential they hold.
I see now that the present moment is all that matters. How I want to be tomorrow is determined by what I do today, not what I did when I was 16 or what my mom said when I was 7.
I read for pleasure and wisdom, rather than seeking change, healing and growth. While I know I will continue to learn and grow because of my innate love of learning, I am done forcing myself to read through the latest best seller because I ‘should’ or because I was looking for the magic words to shift me into the ideal I had in my head of who I should be.
“Shoulds” are a word of the past!
Fall and Winter 2017 was spent reading books that actually intrigued me and interested me rather than reading them to change something about myself. Oddly enough, or perhaps not oddly if you are an Universe energy loving type like myself, the few books I picked have been life changing.
I feel so liberated and amazing gliding into 2018 with small pieces of inner peace, an abundance of gratitude and a mantra to be present and mindful. I feel lighter now that I’m not weighed down by unobtainable goals, self-loathing and a diet. I feel freer not being attached to a fitness regime.
I feel happy not having any New Year’s Resolutions.
I never thought I’d get to this point and I hope some of you want to know how you can get to this point too. Maybe you hate your body or you have an Ego the size of the moon. Maybe you have anxiety over the future that paralyses you from good decision making skills. Perhaps you have a relationship with food that needs examining. Who knows? But if you’re still here reading this, I want to give you a few books that have literally CHANGED MY LIFE. IF you like to read, read these. IF you need a change of mindset, read these. If you want awesomely amazing things to happen each day, read these. IF you want to love your body and release the death grip on food, well, you get it, read these:
1. Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Weathly, Fabulously Healthy and Bursting With Love by Melissa Ambrosini
We all have that inner voice, that inner bitch. You know the one; the one who tells you are fat, ugly and stupid. The one that tells you you’re not good enough for the promotion or the one who tells you to stay home because nobody likes you. We all have it. Some of us are just better at silencing it than others. In Mastering Your Mean Girl, Ambrosini gives you tangible tools to overcome your Ego/Mean Girl and change the way you think. It’s light, funny, loving and gives you simple tools to help you squash the negative self-talk for good! For instance, she asks you to make a gratitude list. That’s an instant connection to happiness. How can you be upset or angry when you’re thinking of your kitten, your warm bed, your partner’s kisses or your kid’s giggles? She asks you to write a letter to yourself dated one year from now. They’re simple tasks with big results and stunning clarity.
2. The Goddess Revolution: Make Peace with Food, Love Your Body and Reclaim Your Life by Melissa Wells
Every woman who has ever thought she was fat, been on diets or loathed what she saw in the mirror NEEDS to read this book. Mel Wells teaches you to tune into your body, to really listen and to appreciate it for what it is at this exact moment. She shares her own personal story and struggles with an eating disorder and how she’s overcome it. Using testimonies and “fitspiration”, you’ll fall in love with your body a million times over and kick diets to the curb once and for all! Using logic and love, she teaches you how to change your thoughts and stop judging yourself. She helps you heal your body image. If you love your body you will ultimately want to treat it right, right? So instead of restricting calories and denying yourself delicious meals, focus on what makes your body feel good and then do more of that!
3. Thank and Grow Rich by Pam Grout
Just thinking about this book gives me goosebumps. Since reading this book in early November my life has actually changed. Or rather, my perception has changed so therefore my life has changed. Grout shows you how incredible it is to be a living, thinking, miraculous human and how each day is a perfect day to be overwhelmingly grateful to be alive. She gives you tools (which she calls Party Games) to find the gratitude in EVERYTHING. She gives thanks for everything and everyone. Since I started doing the same, I’ve seen an increase in my skin care company, requests to do workshops, more visitors to my blog, an appreciation for everything and a bubble of happiness that sits in the centre of my chest, waiting to bubble over and out, omitting love and laughter everywhere. Sounds cheesy, I know but wow, her words are incredibly powerful and waking up to the divine existence in ourselves is even more powerful. She encourages you to wake up every morning and before even getting out of bed, proclaim something awesomely amazing is going to happen that day. It’s a beautiful habit to adopt; it’s one my best friend and I have both done and we are constantly texting each other the amazing magic that’s been occurring each day! An attitude of gratitude, for the good and the bad, is truly magical!
4. Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani
This is a book that will blow your mind. Moorjani, a woman riddled with cancer falls into a coma and has an incredible near death experience that actually heals the cancer that is killing her. Not only is her story a medical miracle and completely unbelievable, the wisdom and love she finds on the other side of the veil is poetic, romantic and beautiful. One thought she shares that sticks with me is: what if Heaven is on Earth? We all strive for a Heaven above but up there, you can’t taste chocolate or feel a hug. Maybe Heaven is here and we’re meant to be expressions of heavenly love. Isn’t that wonderful? Her words also give me great comfort in dying. I can honestly say, (being a healthy woman so hey, this could easily change in the face of death) that I’m not afraid to die. She actually brought me peace with this inevitable fact. Death may not be as bad as I thought it was. It’s not religious but it’s deeply spiritual and live-affirming. Love, she says, is the answer. Always.
I hope you enjoy these incredible books and they make impactful impressions upon you like they did for me! Please let me know if you’ve read any of the above OR if you have any recommendations to add! Which magical books are on your nightstand this January?
United we rise,