Resolutions are born on January 1, and they’re usually dead within 30 days. This year, before you throw your hands up in frustration of another goal that didn’t outlast your neighbor’s Christmas lights, allow us to introduce you to a different method of becoming closer to your best self in 2018.
There are four areas of our lives that should get major attention when we talk about becoming the best we can be. Those four areas are our spiritual selves, physical selves, intellectual selves, and relational selves. We’ll examine each of these, one by one.
No matter what you believe or don’t believe in, most people would agree that our lives have a spiritual component. The spirit is the wellspring of emotion and character, thus, if it’s in bad shape, the entire being will follow suit. This year, make a commitment to nurture your spiritual self, either through consistent meditation, attending the religious assembly of your choosing, taking long silent walks in nature, journaling, or any number of other contemplative practices. Doing so will help you stay calm in stressful situations, give you a clearer perspective on what deserves your energy and what doesn’t, and renew your sense of purpose.
When we think of health, many people usually think about their weight and stop there. While physical health isn’t the end all of a life best lived, it is a major player. We only get one body here, so we would do well to keep it in working order. Of course, movement is important, and your Pilates practice (and pretty much any other movement you choose to adopt) is an ideal way to stay strong and flexible, but what you put into your body is just as important as what you do with your body. This year, instead of trying to turn into a total health nut overnight, make it a point to adopt small transitional changes over time. Slow and steady wins the race.
Now, let’s talk about our brains, the single most important organ in our bodies. Our brains are so advanced and intricate, science can’t figure out most of the details of how they operate. They’re brilliant pieces of work, and it’s our responsibility to keep them flexible and alert. How can we do that? Read! Explore! Have conversations about deep things with people who are living the life you aspire to! Feed your brain by studying topics that you may not have considered before, or make it a goal to become an expert in your field. Whatever you do, don’t let that beautiful organ rot away by spending too much time in front of screens or engaging in conversation that doesn’t uplift you or anyone else.
Finally, we need to consider our relational health. If you’re not doing well in your interactions with others, then your spirit, mind, and body will surely show it. The best way to excel in this area is to find ways to serve and affirm other people. Give more of yourself than you expect to receive. You can achieve this by doing your part to mend broken relationships, volunteering, or just checking in on the people you love to see how they are. Relationships are so important, because if we were meant to go through this life alone, we’d be the only ones here.
Think of these four facets of health as guidelines for who you want to become in 2018. Instead of setting hard and fast resolutions, each day, check in with yourself in stillness and ask, “Is what I’m doing today helping me attain spiritual, physical, intellectual, and relational greatness?” If the answer is no, you can regroup in that very moment. Keep up with your progress using a journal, or even a blog—any form of documentation will do. At the end of the year, if you’re a more accurate reflection of who you aspire to be than you were on January 1, 2018, you’ve successfully completed this leg of your journey.
Happy New Year.