New year, new me! To be honest, I hope you don’t force this this year.
It isn’t that I don’t want you to improve. After all, if you aren’t growing, you’re probably slowly dying. No, change is necessary, and change is inevitable. Life happens in seasons: winter brings spring, which begets summer, which gives way to fall, to return once again to winter. These cycles of rebirth, growth, and death are the foundation of life itself.
The thing is, we humans can sometimes get out of sync with nature. And it really doesn’t get more obvious than the trend to try to transform our lives at the beginning of the new year. While the natural world around us is just now sinking deep into hibernation and rest, we try to dive head first into rebirth. We set early morning alarms to start fitness routines we’ve never done before and throw out our “bad” food to force ourselves to eat in a way that causes more stress and shame than results. Is it any wonder that most people have already given up on their goals by the third week of January?
I know, I know, this is sounding pretty pessimistic. You might be thinking to yourself “But you’re a gym… don’t you live for all this new year’s stuff? Don’t you want people to transform their lives?”
Of course I do! But the thing is, I’ve been around long enough to know when something is going to work. And let me tell you this: transformations don’t happen quickly in the natural world (that is, unless they are causing some serious damage), so why do we expect them of ourselves?
In nature, the transformations that make the world a better place… they take time. And they happen slowly. Just look at the Grand Canyon or the Redwood Forest. These iconic, natural wonders took lifetimes to transform. The changes were slow, painfully slow. But the result? It speaks for itself.
Now think back to the natural transformations that happen quickly: tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, fires. All of these are fast, they transform the landscape, and hey, they might be for the greater good. But man do they cause some heartache along the way.
Nature finds a way to go on because nature is strong. It is enduring. And it knows what it is doing.
We could all learn a thing or two from nature. The lesson I wish for you this new year? Despite what every other fitness influencer might imply, you don’t have to transform your life right this second.
If life has been feeling hard lately, if circumstances have you feeling down, if the thought of pushing harder makes you want to cry, remember this: in nature, rebirth comes after times of rest. And nature certainly doesn’t flip a switch from rest to rebirth in one day (despite what it may feel like if you’re living in Idaho).
If you haven’t had a cycle of rest yet, take it. Say no to the unnecessary commitments. Set boundaries in your work/life balance. And have patience with yourself as you take time for this important part of the life cycle.
Then, once you are ready, when a warmth begins to emanate from within, you can do as nature does: grow. Not all at once, but bit by little bit, until one day, you look back, and you are a wonder of nature yourself.