This is one of my favorite travel pictures:
This is day 10 of a 10-day hiking adventure I took to the mountains of Argentina and Chile. The "easiest" hike of the 10 days was a 4-hour passing, where it the heavy rain during the last 30 minutes pushed me to jog the final 2 miles before shelter in a frigid, cold-water-only cabin. The roughest day was a 10-hour round-trip in nonstop downpour that brought a mere glimpse of a mountain hidden in fog and clouds.
10 days of Patagonia's wrath -- unseasonal snow and ice, 60 mph winds, me totally on my own, sleeping in hostels with cold showers and snorers that shook the bunk beds. 10 days, and I was beat.
My expectations had been battered. Months of planning and saving money had gone into this trip. My hopes on the plane 10 days ago fell to the reality of exhaustion.
On this day 10, I had planned to do a 4-hour hike to see a glacier. After 45 minutes of walking into wind gusts so powerful they pushed me backwards, I gave up. Or I let go. Either way, I head back to the hostel, wrapped myself in blankets, and sat in the coziest chair I could find. I rested. Hours later, I boarded the ferry that would me out of the park, back to the world of cars and limitless indoor heating.
This photo is the view from the ferry. Taking this photo, my self confidence was as battered as my aching muscles. I was so demoralized. I had wanted beautiful views and heroic hiking success. Instead I had mostly foggy pictures and the guilt of turning back earlier that day. I only took the photo because other tourists were doing so. Usually that's a sign that I might want this image for future references.
And now, this photo is one of my favorites.
Is Your Resolution in Need of a Rehab?
So what does this have to do with goals?
Well, it's been a month since those New Years resolutions hit. Hopes and aspirations have faced the reality of day-to-day life and the many factors beyond our control. It's time to check-in. How can we capture a beautiful moment even if we feel slightly beat up?
For help, I sought the insight of two professionals: Lori Bumbaco (RDN, CSO, LDN, Oncology Dietician at the Cancer Wellness Center) and Chrissy Gonzalez (Sage Yoga Instructor). From their experience in the clinic to lessons on the yoga mat, they offer 4 tips to help you realign your goals.
4 Tips for to Reset your Resolution
1) Reset Compassion: Give Yourself Permission to Fall
About halfway into a yoga class, we dig into the balance work. We've practiced enough breathing to create a calming rhythm. Our bodies are thoroughly warmed up, and, confidence is building. This is when we start becoming a bit more uncomfortable. We balance on one foot, we twist, we bind, we balance on our hands. We aspire to be beautiful beings, but sometimes we fall. And that's okay. Chrissy reminds her students, it's okay to fall. "Release yourself of that tension; relax into the pose".
In the dieting world, Lori echoes this need for Self-Compassion. When we slip up or fall off track, guilt and shame can take over. Rather, use the experience as opportunity to slow down, have a mental check-in, and then let go of any judgement so that you can get back on track. A little bit of compassionate curiosity helps you learn about yourself so that you can continue to move forward.
2) Reset Intention: Return to Your Initial Motivation and Goals
Why did you decide to make a resolution in the first place? Are your goals realistic?
At the beginning of yoga practice, we set an intention. A moment of quiet, some inward reflection, and a "reset" on the yoga mat allows us to create an intention for that day's practice. The same moment of quiet reflection can help when setting an intention in your healthy eating journey. Why are you trying to change? Is the goal just to lose weight? Or are you also trying to sleep better, have more energy, get off medication, save money, explore new recipes?
Lori recommends keeping a Motivation Box --- a place where you keep reminders of why you want to pursue wellness. Even just a Motivation Spot-on-the-Fridge can help. Keep healthy recipes, the gym schedule, a photo from a mountain you want to climb, or even just an old photo of your overweight self. These reminders help ground you in your original intention, giving you motivation so that you can stay on track.
3) Reset Support: Surround Yourself with Cheerleaders
Have you noticed people in your life who might distract you or be a negative influence on your goals? If so, "It's time to assertively communicate what you are seeking...Include those who are supportive of your goals", advises Lori. Personal change can feel threatening to some of your loved ones, and they can react in ways that a detrimental to your own success. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your goals.
In Yoga, I choose to practice in a class setting because I crave the warm, welcoming energy of sharing movement with others. Even if all we share are a few downward dogs and "Om's", I find it incredibly nourishing be part of a community that practices honoring the spirit. Find your tribe; find your cheerleaders. Feel the power of that support.
4) Reset Expectations: This is Practice...Not Perfection
Changing behavior takes time. Some have said breaking a habit takes 21 days, but research shows creating a new healthy routine takes 66 days. My own plant-based journey took a good year to fully transition from yogurt and chicken breasts to oatmeal and lentils. You might need to adjust your long-term plan. Use the lessons you've learned from the past month to make a new plan. Set small goals to build your confidence.
In Yoga, this lesson echos loudest with the reminder that it is Practice...not Perfection. Coming to mat, moving through a sequence of poses, we are simply there to practice our best effort for that day. Some days are better than others, and rarely is a day "perfect". Rather, it is just one day. It is one step in the long-term plan to create a healthier, balanced lifestyle. If we let go of that need for perfection, we give ourselves the freedom to grow.
Recap: 4 Tips for your Resolution Rehab
1) Compassion: Give Yourself Permission to Fall
2) Intention: Return to Your Initial Motivation and Goals
3) Support: Surround Yourself with Cheerleaders
4) Expections: This is Practice...Not Perfection
About the Author:
Chef Katie Simmons
Katie is a Personal Chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. Outside of the kitchen, she is a Fitness Instructor for Equinox, with over 13 years experience in the fitness industry, and a blogger for Kuli Kuli Foods. For fun, she loves to travel, with her favorite trips including 4-days on the Incan Trail, 10 days of hiking in the Patagonia of Argentina and Chile, 5 months backpacking in New Zealand, and exploring the fascinating flavors of Northern India. She loves Curry spice almost as much as warm hoodies and running along the Lakefront.