UGH!! Why is it that every year we do this to ourselves? Most of us set goals for the new year like eat better, exercise, read, meditate, get more sleep, less social media, and the list goes on and on. I am just as guilty as the next person. Mine this year are not goals but intentions because it was said that it’s less damaging to our mental health.
Why and for whom do we do this ? I would like to think I do this to somehow re-wire my brain to do the things it should so that it may extend my life. I recently watched a series on Disney+ called Limitless with Chris Hemsworth. There are six episodes where he pushes his body to the limit. If you don’t know who Chris is, he plays Thor in the Marvel movies and is an amazingly fit individual.
In the first episode he is told that he has specific genes that could raise his chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Then the series breaks down the things he can do to help prevent or slow this process.
1. Stress (how to reduce stress and fear)
2. Shock (putting your body in extreme heat and cold)
4. Strength (endurance training and using all your muscles)
5. Memory (Be outdoors and challenge your brain)
6. Acceptance (Getting old and comes to terms with death)
I highly recommend the series; it is very interesting.
So, what did I do? I got to work basing my “intentions” on these six things.
Stress: I found a mediation app to help with my stress and anxiety, check.
Shock: I decided that I would try to achieve shock by taking a hot bath/shower and end it with 30 seconds of cold water, check.
Fasting: That one is a hard one for me. I love food, as most of you know, and not eating until lunch is hard, let alone three days (which is recommended).
Strength/Exercise: This is probably the number one goal for most people. I am not much on working out, but I do see the need for it. So, here we go with another year of me saying I want to workout at least sixty minutes a day. I feel like this is the hardest to sustain for most people unless you enjoy it or have a specific reason behind it.
Memory: This one was easier for me. I love to be outdoors camping, hiking, and exploring. They said that just being outdoors with no phone and just embracing being outside can help with stress and work the memory part of your brain. Plus, I love to read, and my “intention” is to read at least 14 books this year.
Acceptance: That might be the hardest of all! As I come close to being “over the hill,” I do worry about getting older. My mind still feels like the same old me, but my body has been showing me that I am getting older. What I do enjoy about getting older is that I am finally figuring out who I am and who I want to be. I feel like mentally I am more accepting of myself. That is not to say that there is still more work to be done. I truly believe that getting this position at the church has been one of the best things to happen to me. I have found a passion I knew was there but didn’t know how to show it.
Now for the harder part of acceptance: death. We all know that no day is ever guaranteed, but we also don’t always enjoy the gift we are given. Most of us fear death when everything must die. For most of us, the thought of losing our loved ones is the hardest part. But grief can be beautiful. The one gentleman in the show said that in his tribe they allowed them a hundred days to grieve with the tribe by not being active. Here in western society, we are not given this much needed time to grieve. I feel that we set these goals and “intentions” to extend our life when we should be accepting that we don’t have a say.
We should be living our lives to the fullest and enjoying every beautiful minute we are given. That is my why. My who is for myself and my family, but the most important who is God. We would not be who we are without him. I know these things are hard which is why most of us fail our goals. We have become a society of taking the easiest way out. We don’t want to put in the hard work. I have read many stories about Jesus, and he never took the easy way out. He did that for us! What are some ways we can put him first so that we may be able to meet our goals or intentions??
Romans 7:15-25 describes this conflict we have with ourselves. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. I would be surprised if someone said this has never happened to them.
Let’s go back to our goals and pick… eating less/eating healthier because I am a food person. How many times a day do you think we think about food??? According to the New York Post on January 29th of 2019 we spend 40 minutes per day purely thinking about food. That adds up to 240 hours per year. Can you imagine what we could have been doing? I know I am guilty of thinking about food way more than I should. What are we going to eat? How much? Who will eat it? Cost? What time to eat? Is it healthy? What ingredients are in this? Will this raise my risk of this or that disease? The list goes on and on.
I don’t know about you but choosing to eat healthier options has always been difficult. Everywhere you look there is food that looks and tastes great, and it happens to be the ones you should stay clear of. We know that eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, some dairy and low-fat meat is the healthiest way to go, so why does our brain choose the opposite? What are we trying to escape or process that makes these goals so hard to achieve?
I don’t know about you, but my “intentions” are sinking fast, and I want to know why. We say to ourselves we will do better tomorrow, but have you ever noticed that even when we have a deep desire to do better it has little to no impact on certain behaviors that we cling to? I truly believe that God wants us to be the best that we can be, so that we can serve others. Yes, these goals and “intentions” are what we should strive for but not only for ourselves but for the glory of God. He gives us grace so that we may try to do better every year, every month, every day, and every minute he blesses us with. When I think of my “intentions” for this year, I will pray to God to take me one step closer to a better me for him.