I think bucket lists are wonderful. It’s important to have a place for contemplating and listing your ultimate dreams, for reflecting on the experiences, activities and actions that inspire you. The experiences, activities and actions you just know you need to do. The things that are calling you.
But I also love an idea I read about in Jennifer Louden’s latest book — A Year of Daily Joy: A Guided Journal to Creating Happiness Every Day, which is filled with beautiful quotes, tips, insights and images. The idea is to create a “thimble list.”
Today, in the U.S., we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had an incredible dream and helped make it a reality. Inspired by his powerful speech and Therese Borchard’s beautiful piece, every year I republish a piece on my personal dream (which I’ve updated since last year). It’s a dream that focuses on everything from how we treat each other to how we treat ourselves.
I have a dream that our society will stop judging, shaming and bullying people because of their size, shape and weight.
I have a dream that we’ll focus on cultivating healthy habits instead of remaining chained to the numbers on our scales (or calipers or clothes).
It is a new year.
But this doesn’t require being a new you.
Of course, you will see this phrase
in many places:
TV, magazines, websites.
You will hear it in conversation
at work, at the checkout line
maybe even at home.
Every year I share the most popular posts (as judged by pageviews) on Weightless from January to December. This year’s favorite posts include everything from dealing with a loud inner critic to coping with guilt after eating to 10 reasons to love our bodies.
Overall, 2014 was all about exploring kindness; getting curious about our bodies, our needs and our identities; navigating negative thoughts and roaring inner critics (instead of trying to banish them, because they only return that much stronger when we try to dismiss them); seeking stillness and adding pleasure to our lives; turning to gratitude (genuine gratitude) when we need it most; and letting go of what no longer serves us.
You will see plenty of articles about the average number of calories in a Thanksgiving meal and how horrifying this is supposed to be. You’ll see plenty of articles on which foods you can eat and which foods you should never ever ever consume.
You’ll see articles portraying food as the enemy or Thanksgiving and the holidays in general as a battle you must defeat. (Or articles that create multiple enemies — one article said “food isn’t always the enemy” and then named something else that is.)
You’ll see articles that demonize food and you for “indulging.” They might be filled with judgement, scare tactics and guilt. They might be filled with ridiculous tips to manipulate yourself to eat less.
With American Thanksgiving less than a week away (how did this happen!!), I wanted to share more ideas with you on practicing gratitude, year-round. (On Wednesday I talked about doing a gratitude alphabet. )
For instance, this month, Laura Simms, a career coach whose work I greatly admire, has been hosting a photo challenge on Instagram called “the daily bon.” (You can learn all about it here.) I shared the above photo for the prompt “handwriting.”
In addition to sharing links to others’ posts on self-care (along with a few of my own) in these “Self-Care Sunday” posts, I also sometimes share a small tip or idea for taking kinder care of ourselves.
The holidays can be a stressful time. There are extra responsibilities, on top of our regular responsibilities. There are strong emotions swirling inside our bodies, possibly a combination of deep joy and deep grief.
We may have unrealistic expectations about everything going perfectly. And start getting disappointed when they don’t.
“Our bodies know they belong; it is our minds that make our lives so homeless.”
~ John O’Donohue
I can’t tell you how much I love this post from Jennifer Louden (whose work is incredible, and you guys know I link to her pieces regularly). In it she talks about the importance of being stubborn.
Jen has penned six non-fiction books, plenty of essays and a magazine column for three years, among other projects. Today, she consistently writes powerful posts on her blog (and elsewhere), and continues to write excellent books.
All of this writing, however, isn’t easy for Jen. Yet she doesn’t stop — despite her own inner critic or the negative comments of others. She writes:
This month marks five years since I started writing Weightless. (This was my first post published on November 2nd 2009.) Five years! Wow. It’s cliche, but true: Time flies.
Like I do every year, I’d like to share a few lessons I’ve learned along the way from writing this blog and living this life.
1. Our bodies aren’t currency.