It’s the beginning of another new year full of promise and opportunity. And resolutions. A new year, a new you. Except not exactly, because you don’t actually become a new person overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and perseverance to bring about lasting personal changes.
Loss teaches you that life is far too precious and fleeting to be frittered away to negativity.
I’ve never been very good at New Year’s resolutions. Well, to be honest, I’ve actually always been pretty terrible at them. I’ve always had the best of intentions, but never the dedication to follow through on my resolutions. Until five years ago.
I had been struggling with an under-active thyroid for several years. I had fallen into terrible lifestyle habits. I never exercised. I’d put on a lot of weight. For several years I’d made the same resolution, I’d lose the weight that year. I’d eat better and start exercising regularly. It never happened.
January Comes & Goes
On New Year’s Eve in 2013, I once again made the same resolution. January came and went. My forty-third birthday came and went. I didn’t lose a pound; in fact, I even gained a few more. And then suddenly it was May. I decided to try again, but my heart still wasn’t in it. Then one day a few weeks later my doorbell rang, and my heart was broken.
Shortly after my husband died, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. I looked like I’d aged ten years overnight. The enormity of the responsibly on my shoulders hit me. I was now my children’s only parent, and if something happened to me, they would be orphans. I knew I could never guarantee that something bad would not happen to me, but I could do my best to prevent it from happening.
Ironically, the weight I had so desperately wanted to lose started falling off. I did not even need to try. As it turns out, widow’s weight loss really is a thing (it is not a weight loss plan I recommend, incidentally).
I started walking. I made better food choices. I lost more weight. I walked farther. And then I started strength training and running.
I started practicing gratitude daily. And I stopped complaining about all those trivial things that truly do not matter. Loss teaches you that life is far too precious and fleeting to be frittered away to negativity.
I am mentally and emotionally stronger now than I have ever been. Because I decided for the right reasons to become healthy. Not because I made a resolution, but because I decided my health was worth the investment. Because I decided I was worth it and because I did the hard work.
That does not mean I do not still have things I would like to improve or change. It just means that I work on myself every day. When I know there’s something I need to improve on, I start. I no longer make excuses or put off until tomorrow what I know I should be doing today.
If you’ve identified something you’d like to work on and change, know there is no magic on January 1. If you start today and fail tomorrow, that’s okay. Pick yourself up and start again. You do not need to wait for a new year, or a new month, or even a new week to start. The important thing is that you do start.
Once you decide you are worth the effort, it won’t matter what the day on the calendar is. You will have already found the new you. And you will know that every day is a chance to start again, as many times as you have to.