Even the most casual readers of my blogs know that I am not one for recommending that people follow inflexible, black-and-white approaches to life. This evening, as I write this, I can see and hear the winter winds blowing. While the trees beyond my window may appear to be black-and-white in the cold moonlight, they are certainly not inflexible. If they were inflexible, at some point they would probably break in the harsh wind; it is their flexibility that allows them to “weather the weather” and survive another year.
Severe diets, demanding New Year’s resolutions–and other such lifestyle constraints that we tend to surrender our lives to at this time of year–can be inflexible rules just begging to be broken. The more ambitious the New Year’s resolution, the more likely it is to end unrealized; the path of least resistance tends to win out in the end. Strict diets, for instance, may have all sorts of benefits in theory, but more often than not they are merely set-ups for disappointment, negativity and self-recrimination. Victims of their own inflexibility.
My considered advice is that we do not try to make pledges to ourselves to commit to major changes; there are gentler, less onerous ways to earn the benefits we seek.
What if we forget about minding the rules, and focus instead on mindfulness?
Look at it this way: It is a good idea to eat in a healthful manner–that’s a no-brainer–but to try to do so simply because “it’s the rules” actually separates us from the very essential connection to being nourished. If we can learn to listen to the wisdom of our bodies, it is more likely that we will naturally and whole-heartedly want to gravitate to a more wholesome approach to what we choose to put into our mouths.
The same is true for getting more exercise, better sleep, flossing regularly; any habit we may wish to improve in support of our own health has a powerful ally in the wisdom of our bodies!
This year, instead of imposing rules on ourselves, why not stop… and just listen. Listen to the body’s intuitive sense of what it wants. If it wants greens, eat greens. If it wants a donut, eat a donut. If it craves protein, eat some lean protein.
If we commit to taking care of ourselves by honoring our inner wisdom with constructive flexibility… then we will all have a terrific chance for a happy and healthy 2018!
Which is my wish for you.