Where are you at with your New Years Resolutions?
If you feel like a failure, you are not alone. But I just want you to know right now - it's a feeling you have. Not a fact. (More on that later.)
Like everyone else I've had my fair share of making resolutions. They are good for morale and get you motivated for the year. This year I don't have resolutions, but goals for the year around things I want to accomplish - like write my next book, and run/walk another half-marathon and I keep working towards them.
There are some crazy stats on statistic brain.com about #Newyearsresolutions. The #1 Resolution for 2017 was (shocker) lose weight/healthier eating. Interestingly enough, the percentage of people who "usually do" make resolutions is 41% and the people who "absolutely never" make resolutions is 42%. 72% of resolutions are maintained the first week. 68.4% are maintained past two weeks. 58.4% past one month and 44.8% past six months. Those last figures are better stats than I expected. It shows me that people may be seeing them more for longterm lifestyle change rather than quick fix.
But I want to point out something I see these resolutions doing sometimes. They can make us harder on ourselves when we already expect so much of ourselves that we can't let ourselves be human. They make us forge ahead with our perfectionism. Here's what I have to say about that!
Don't let your expectations of yourself become weapons of mass perfectionism.
I don't know if you know this, but we are not superhuman. We are human.
But for some reason we take not meeting those expectations as our failures. We let them define us even.
For good reason, I think one of the reasons less people make them now is because they are self-defeating in their "quick-fix" element. People are sick of trying to fix themselves quickly - because it never works. People are craving promise of hope and endurance, tools for longevity, not immediacy. It gets old trying to fix yourself with our own willpower and finding we can only get so far with it. It gets old saying, "This year, I'm going to do it! I'm going to finally lose this weight!" It's like an alcoholic saying they aren't going to drink without getting help. By depending on our own willpower, we set ourselves up for FEELING (emphasis on that work) like failures. We are not failures. That's our feelings and feelings are not facts.
What am I getting at here? Right about now we're coming to the end of January and people are probably thinking one of two things. It's either, "I suck. I didn't get anywhere with my resolution," or "I am totally doing this! I got this!!!" Either way - it's an extreme, and we have to be careful about extremes because they set us up for FAILURE. It's like looking at a scale. If you don't lose or gain, you suck. If you are losing, losing, you keep pushing or you stall or gain and it's the end of the world.
Here's what I want to tell you. FEELING like a FAILURE is simply a feeling. Feelings are NOT facts. Feelings do NOT have to guide our lives. If you don't feel good in your body, you have to address the inside in addition to the outside. It's like Kate in the show "This is US" last night resisting that she had to deal with what's behind the weight at the camp she went to, knowing she had to face it. If we feel like failures or feel ugly - we have to deal with THAT. Why? Because I can tell you no matter how hard you workout, or how perfect you make your food, or how much weight you lose - you will not FEEL okay until you DEAL with what's inside.
Here's what is amazing. The fitness industry is so good at helping us look at ourselves realistically where we need to improve and get our bodies healthy. But there is one thing it's not going to tell us to do. It's not going to tell us to look inside and deal, and it's certainly not going to show us how. That's where I feel is the biggest gap. Someone needs to be helping people make the link between a physically healthy lifestyle, and a spiritually healthy lifestyle. Hello, Healthy Voice.
When I wrote my first book, "Healthy Voice: Life Beyond the Weight," I shared about my journey from an obsession with physical fitness to a recognition of the importance of spiritual fitness. I have found the only way that I could get of my obsession was to let God take over that part of my life (that I thought I was controlling). If you don't have Him in that part of your life, I can tell you if you let Him in, it will be the best thing that ever happens to you.
Let me remind you that God isn't waiting for you to get perfect in body and mind to give you everything you want. He's not waiting to love you until you drop that weight. Believe me I thought that for a long, long...long time. He loves you RIGHT NOW, AS YOU ARE, MORE THAN EVER. Whether you are working out an insane amount or you feel like a sloth - He loves you.
When we only focus on our fitness and food, we are staring at what we perceive are imperfections, when God really created us as we are in the shape we are - perfectly imperfect. We've become self-obsessed. It's because we're only looking at ourselves, and our ability to change how we look. Yes, it's a personal responsibility. Absolutely. But you know what else? If we look before us? God is waiting for us to take His hand so He can guide us to a healthy life, and inner healing, and a healthy body that can be a vessel for the Holy Spirit. Remember the Lord tells us, "I am strong where you are weak." It's good to have people who push us beyond our limits in fitness, to be challenged to go beyond our comfort zone. But it's a good thing to remember that God is there to help us AND MORE IMPORTANTLY - remind us that we don't have to over perform or over-strive for perfection, because He loves us no matter what.
Take it from someone who has had multiple injuries in the past few years that have kept me from going to the gym time and again. But guess what I know? Because I know God's got me right here, right now - I know He will tell me when it's time to get back to the gym, because I'll be healed and ready. The gym for me isn't a quick-fix, and you know what? If I can't get there, I'm not going to lose it. So freeing. Believe me there was one point in my life where not going for a run made me feel like I couldn't survive. If you have an Unhealthy Voice like that? You can get help because it's making fitness your religion and your god instead of letting God be God FOR YOU.
You know what else is really cool about when you are forced to sit still? When you can't go 500 miles ahead towards your goals? You get to be present. I realized last week after we lost our cat Ed, that if I hadn't broken my elbow just a few days before he got sick, I may not have been able to be so present to him for his last two weeks. It makes me grateful for the downtime.
I look forward to when I get to be back in my workouts. In the meantime, I take care of myself with food, eating the best I can without a workout so I don't fall behind. But that's because for me - it's a lifestyle, not a fix.
So if you find yourself in the next few days beating yourself up about the New Years Resolutions, give yourself a break. You might be in a season or a moment where God wants to slow you down so it can happen in HIS timing. God uses every moment and season and experience in our lives if we just take a second to notice that He is working.
Also remember, that God loves us even in our failures because they give him a chance to step in with grace. Failures are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of God's strength in our weakness.
And here is a question for you - when you are in a funk spot and challenged by your physical fitness, what are you doing with your spiritual fitness? How much are you letting God into that physical fitness part of your life? How much are you letting God into your life at all? Or do you just keep him in the box of church on Sunday. He wants to be part of EVERYTHING in your life, my friend.
One last thing. Knowing that many of you are in this place at the end of January, when resolutions aren't working, I have decided to do something really special. I've decided to release a second edition of the first book. It will have the same content. The only difference will be a new forward written for today. I can't wait! So it will now be available online at a cheaper cost so you can have it and share it with friends who haven't read it yet. In the coming days, we'll have something you can subscribe to so you can make sure you get a copy. You will see it as we relaunch the Healthy Voice/Meredith Terpeluk Author page. I will also be doing a series of weekly messages dedicated to topics of the book, so that you can get excited for the re-release.
Goal date for release is March 1st/Ash Wednesday - God-willing. (Btw, I am working on the next one too... :)
So, get excited. Let your friends know and we will talk again next week!!