New Year. Same You.

Four years ago, I used the slogan “New Year, New You” to recruit potential clients to my virtual gym as an online fitness coach.

I became an online fitness coach because I wanted to help people. I was already teaching group exercise classes, but I wanted to expand my reach, and becoming an online fitness coach seemed like the perfect way to do that. I recruited women to join my virtual gym through Instagram and Facebook. The virtual gym was usually open for 30 days during which the women participated in a home exercise program and followed a meal plan. As their coach, I would check in daily providing encouragement and motivation along the way. The idea was to not only create life long habits in terms of exercise and healthy eating, but to create a sense of community among the women. The focus, however, was predominantly on weight loss, as most women that joined my virtual gym wanted to lose weight. And while I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to lose weight, I didn’t approach it in the right way.

You see, I encouraged women to join my virtual gym by selling the idea of “New Year, New You.” I was essentially telling women that they needed to change. That they needed to be someone different. That they needed to lose weight. Those words never came out of my mouth per se, and I may have not even thought them, but the intent was there.

I am no longer an online fitness coach, but if I was, I would take a different approach. The idea of “New Year, New You” honestly makes me cringe, and I don’t even believe in New Year’s resolutions for that matter. The problem is we try to make a lot of changes at once, instead of small changes over an extended period of time. We put too much pressure on ourselves, which often sets us up for failure, and then we give up on all the, generally good, intentions we had for the new year.

So instead of thinking of all the things you need to change about yourself, I encourage you to think about what you can learn about yourself instead. This is something I began doing half-way through 2019, and I did this by asking myself some tough questions. How can I love myself more? How can I take better care of myself? How can I be a better partner? And the answers I got from asking those questions required that I put in the work. So please understand, there is nothing easy about the process, and it is not something that should be done once a year. Learning more about yourself and what your body and mind need should be a continuous process with frequent self-reflection.

To help you get started, I suggest asking yourself these questions.

  1. Am I taking care of my physical health? Do I schedule annual check-ups with my primary care physician? Do I exercise on a regular basis? Do I exercise in a way that feels good for me? Do I have a healthy relationship with my body?
  2. Do I have unresolved issues that I need to address? Are these unresolved issues preventing me from being well mentally? How will I address these issues? Have I tried to address them in the past without success? Is there something I can do differently?
  3. Am I taking care of my spiritual health? Do I understand what spiritual health means? What am I doing on a regular basis to be spiritually well?

Once you answer the questions, and be sure to answer them honestly, you will be able to identify your learning areas. You also need to ask yourself follow up questions. Are your learning areas things you can tackle on your own or are they things that require professional help? And part of process is accepting the fact that sometimes we need help.

This is merely a small start to learning more about yourself. So, I encourage you to ask the tough questions, and take the necessary steps towards discovering your best well self. Because your best well self is not a New You or a Perfect You, rather, it is the version of you that prioritizes your physical, mental, and spiritual health and all the imperfections that come along with it.

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