New Beginnings, New Decisions, New Cycles of Frustration

It’s new year’s eve and you know the feeling. It’s a day like any other, really, but, in a manner that is completely unrelated to your physical reality, you make a very physical decision like … I’ll stop eating sugar. I’ll quit on meat. No more coffee. Or simply … I’ll lose weight, I’ll start eating healthy.

Somebody taught us that on particular dates such decisions should be made, and that it has more value than on other days. The most common example is to make such decisions simply because a new week has begun. This is almost a tradition, and somehow seems completely reasonable. In effect, for most people, it’ll take between a day and a week before this glorious and happy decision, which was to change our lives forever, will collapse, and often to a state far worse than that which preceded it. Our mind realises and knows that this dynamic, that is meant to change entrenched habits, is fruitless, but in reality we find ourselves in its grip, time and again.

Why is that the case? 

This is because, in reality, a significant part of the eating habits that you seek to rid yourself of is actually emotional. Therefore, it will be very difficult to create a true shift without dealing with the source. Emotional eating is a crutch, and just like any chronic, physical condition that demands the assistance of crutches, it is difficult to expect our system to walk on its own two feet if we simply discard the comfortable and familiar crutches.


So what can we do?

Changing habits can only be done by starting to identify the places where such eating takes place, being attentive to them (on our own, or with professional assistance) and gently untangling the old knots that often were weaved together in our childhood.

In addition, we should pay attention to the decisions themselves. A drastic decision, that does not take into account our body’s state, and is not attentive to it, one that pushes our system to push for a sudden and immediate change, creates a serious emotional challenge, like suddenly and firmly taking a pacifier from a baby, just one sunny day.

There is, therefore, an additional lesson here. Not only are food and eating related to our emotional state, but this type of decision making process will engender its paralysis, and eventual collapse. On the one hand, we deprived ourselves of our emotional crutches; and on the other hand, we added a significant emotional challenge.

So what is the solution?

Simple: pay attention to your desire to reach such decisions, smile at it just as you would smile at any old and familiar pattern that is known to be inefficient and … let go of the decision. Yes, the best new year’s resolution you can make is … to stop making new year’s resolutions.

This does not mean, however, that new beginnings, and the changes that derive from it, are never possible. Quite the contrary. But if you feel the need to mark new beginnings, start by connecting to your own body. Gently check what it asks for, and listen to the voices that rise from it. Within them, identify those that say ‘yes’ to something that is precise and achievable, and let go of general clichés such as ‘eat healthier’ or ‘be active’.

Ask yourself before the new year or other new beginning: to what do I want to say yes? What will make my body happy? How can I start, from tomorrow morning, to do just a little thing towards this end and expand my towards myself?



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