Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Reflections - What I Learned from 2013

Well its that time of year that we reflect on what we accomplished, where we failed, and what we hope to do differently next year. A time to start thinking about resolutions? Commitments we make with ourselves to change things we know aren't working so we can be more productive, healthy and ultimately happy.

That being said, I don't make resolutions. I never have. Or maybe I just don't wait for January 1st to do them.

Part of the reason I have never made resolutions is that just picking a date of January first as the basis for making a change is not enough of a reason, a strong enough motivations, for me to stick with the change. Just like, for me, weight loss wasn't enough of a reason to ever stick to a diet. And then when I "cheat" I tend to throw in the towel on the whole idea - rather than being happy about any progress I've made. But I'm an all-or-none kind of gal.

But when I think about the year that I have made some HUGE changes in my life.

I'm taking care of my body.

I clearly changed how I eat. I have given up coffee, dairy, sugar (past tense on this one - my sweet tooth has been fired right back up) and gluten/grains. I pay attention to the signals my body is telling me about the food I'm eating. After many tests/eliminations/re-introductions and many repeats I have finally learned what foods do and don't work with my body. This took me 37 years to do. Thirty seven years of stomach aches and this is the year I finally stopped thinking of them as "due to my sensitive stomach". Something out of my control. Yep - I have a sensitive stomach. But the stomach aches were "due to what I was putting into my body". They CAN be prevented. Its hard work but it can be done. And it keeps changing - what works on January 1 might not work on February 1. So I need to be flexible. And I need to listen. And I need to learn.

I have made exercise not just a part of my life, but a way of life. I have not gone a week without having at least 3 works outs. I have become more active in my everyday. I rediscovered the joy of  riding my bike and started taking the bus. I walk instead of drive when I can. I take the stairs.  I learned that I feel best when I'm regularly active. I learned that you do what you can with the time you have. 23 minutes. Fine. Just move. If you wait for the perfect opportunity to do your favorite exercise, when everything else is done and you feel really rested and is never going to happen.  And I had to learn when I had to slow down. When I was using hard core exercise as just another avenue to get a shot of adrenaline. When I was overdoing it.

I go to bed by 10 every night. Or close to it. My 17 month old is still a crappy sleeper so I don't get fabulous sleeps. But I am more rested now than I have every been in my life because I make sleep a priority. I finally learned what it takes to make me have regular, deep, good quality sleep. Again, its hard work but its worth it. It takes commitment and sacrifice.

 I take my supplements faithfully. I go to my Naturopath when I feel I am getting off track. I go for a massage or chiropractic treatment when my shoulder starts bothering me. I've learned to take the time to be preventive rather than just responsive to signals my body is sending me. 

I'm taking care of my mind

I changed jobs. Now I leave my work at work instead of carrying it around as tension in my shoulders everywhere I go. Or at least I'm trying to.

I've learned to CONSTANTLY challenge myself on why I am doing things. I used to think I had to learn to be better at saying No to other people so I wouldn't be so busy/stressed/whatever. But I've learned that I actually have to learn to say NO to myself. I have to let go of my own sometimes misguided motivations to make the right choices on how I use my time and energy. To focus on things that will bring me real lasting satisfaction.It is an ongoing battle I have going on in my mind. A war that I don't always win.

I'm also feeding my spirit. I finally started going back to church on a regular basis. Something that, for me, helps to keep me grounded. Guides me. Bring a whole new level of peace to my mind and my soul.

I've learned a lot because I've made lots of mistakes and paid attention to the consequences.

I've changed a lot about how I'm living my life. And I often have fear that these changes won't stick. That like a "resolution" one day I will just lose motivation for the staying on the path that I am on. That my journey will come to an end and I will go back to the old me.

I don't want it to end. I like the way I am living my life now. I love the natural energy I feel from properly fueling my body with food and sleep. A body that is not overridden with digestive problems, stress and adrenaline.

And I still want more. I still have much farther to go.

I have MUCH more work to do on learning to live in the moment. To still my mind. I have made lots of progress. But I know I still have room to grow.

So as I reflect on my year, I'm not looking for one or two changes I can proclaim to want to make for 2014. Some flashy resolutions.

I just want to stay on the path that I'm on. To continue my journey of wellness. Of energy.  And I guess what that really entails is keeping my mind open to learning new things. Because maybe 2013 wasn't really so much about all the CHANGES I made, but what things I was willing to learn along the way. Because its not the changes that are going to keep me on the path but what I've learned from making those changes that will hopefully keep me going.

So here's to 2013 - a year of mistakes, learning and progress.And here's to 2014 - may the learning continue and may the sugar devil leave me the alone!

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