Every new year, every single health website, supplement company, fitness studio and mainstream media mogul will blog, report or write about how this year they can help you make it your year to lose X number of pounds and fit into size X and finally gain control of your body and therefore your life.
Every year, millions of humans start a detox program or cut out a certain type of food group (or food, altogether it seems) and sign up for some sort of ultra marathon, all with the hopes that a perfect body equals perfect life.
I have been guilty of this. I have gone vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, carb-free, sugar-free.
I have master cleansed, had colonic hydrotherapy, paid exorbitant gym memberships, taken part in exclusive yoga, run like a crazy woman on the treadmill and taken ballet classes.
And every year, I have re-gained all the pounds that I previously shed.
It’s like damn Groundhog Day.
So this year, I say fuck you to traditional New Year’s Resolutions.
Fuck you to ideal weight goals and strange diets based on ancient human civilisations and size two clothing.
Fuck you to bank account numbers and keeping up with the Joneses or being the type of wife, naturopath or woman that I think that I should be.
This year, I’m not making resolutions. I’m revolutionising the way I live my life with little choices that will actually change me as a person, not my wardrobe. I challenge us all to do the same and say fuck it to the same old groundhog day run of the mill resolutions that everyone makes—and instead make these small changes that will lead us all to being a much kinder human beings—this will make us much happier than those size two jeans.
1) Smile. And I mean every day. Even when you don’t feel like smiling. Even if no one smiles back. Even if you actually want to push someone in front of oncoming traffic. Smile.
This is an intention that takes virtually no effort on our part, and yet will profoundly change (for the better) the energy of the interactions that we have every single day.
2) Stay In Touch. This is more difficult for some, but it is one that affects me most as I live far and away from most of my friends and family. There is nothing more frustrating than sending emails and notes to your friends from home and not getting a reply for weeks, sometimes months. I am guilty of it as well—life just gets in the way and suddenly it’s 2014.
Send an email to people you love. It doesn’t need to be a novel. In fact, it doesn’t need to be more than one sentence, but an ‘’I’m thinking of you and I miss you.’’ It will bring more joy than you can ever know. And not to mention the 10 seconds it took to type out that email may cheer up someone’s day when they needed it most.
The three months it took to reply may damage the friendship more than you would think. We live in the world of Internet. There’s no excuse anymore.
3) Cut Out People Who No Longer Serve You. This is probably a logical continuation of the one above, but not completely. There are those relationships we cling to simply because we’ve known them for so long. There are people who leave us more drained than energized and yet, we continue to make plans with them, to give them our time, our resources, without seeing much in return.
And there are those we put the time and effort into and they rarely email back. I am not saying that a friendship should be about what you can get from someone. This is not about tit for tat or keeping tabs. This is about putting effort into quality friendships/relationships with people who truly care about you, who take the time to know you, who genuinely show concern about you.
When we have people like that in our lives, we make the effort to keep them.
4) Donate Something. It doesn’t have to be setting up a trust fund or anything like that. In fact, it doesn’t even have to involve cash-money. But donate your time, your old clothes, bake a cake for the recently widowed neighbour you don’t really know—hell, shovel her driveway while you’re at it.
Our world has turned us into self-involved, Facebooking, Tweeting, individualised pods who rarely make contact (and I mean real meaningful contact) with other members of the human race unless it’s for some personal gain. Studies have shown over and over again that human beings thrive when we bring happiness to others. It’s no wonder the rate of depression (and medicating that depression with alcohol, prescription drugs, sugar, shopping, video games, escapism) has sky-rocketed.
We spend so much time and money trying to make ourselves happy by giving to ourselves, when what we should be doing is giving to each other. Say fuck you to that pair of shoes that you don’t really need (or that you’re buying because you just got dumped) and buy the homeless guy a grilled cheese sandwich instead.
The former will gather dust in your closet; the latter may just change someone’s life.
5) Look At The Stars. This is something that I have only recently started doing consistently since moving closer to the countryside. There is an incredible feeling of awe and humility that washes over me every time I look up at the stars and constellations. Staring up at the sky reminds me that I am a tiny thing, vibrating amongst a gazillion other tiny things, spinning through this infinitesimal section within one of the billions of galaxies out there—and how temporary it all is.
It makes me slow down instead of speed up.
It makes me breathe instead of suffocate.
It makes me still for just a moment in this fast-paced world and appreciate that stillness, the vastness, the grandness of where I am, now.
This is the fastest way to feel meditative, my friends.
So, say fuck it to gurus and meditation guides and audio tapes of the ocean.
Just look up and you’ll feel it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Melissa Horton/Editor: Bryonie Wise