Resolutions Review: did you get control of your weight, fitness, money, and work issues? (Plus power poses.)Posted: February 24, 2014
It’s Resolutions Review Week, here at The Paranormalist.
Why? More pointedly, why now, in late February? Because most of us made some resolutions just seven weeks ago, whether we admitted it aloud or not. Now, in the trough of this extreme and exhausting winter, we are at a challenge point. If we’ve been “good,” we’re feeling deprived and tired. If we’ve been “bad,” we have slipped back into the same old pre-resolution, habits, and we don’t care … because, hell, it’s hard enough to just get from one (frigid, ice-coated) day to the next, right?
(Apologies to my readers who live in reasonable climates … here in most of the United States, it’s been a rough winter.)
This week, I’m donning my Miss Mary Sunshine persona and sharing my thoughts about a few amazing life-hack tools I found. (You should appreciate that; this particular mask pinches and smells funny.) Still, some combination of desperation, determination, and good luck has allowed me to actually make real progress on a few of my 2014 resolutions, and (in the name of karma, or something) I have to share what is working.
The truth is, I didn’t make my resolutions on January first. Long-term readers know that our family is coming of a pretty brutal period (during which we experienced: cancer, eldercare issues, sudden unemployment that lasted 11 months, losing our house, moving into an apartment, etc.) We’ve been trying to rebuild our lives for about two years. For most of that time, we’ve been consumed with just hanging on. Following Halloween of 2013, though, I had a bit of an emotional crash — the stress of the previous years finally caught up with me.
I stopped being able to write fiction.
After about a month and a half of unrelenting writer’s block, I decided I might as well be doing SOMETHING useful, so I set out on my quest to fix everything else, in the hopes that relieving some stress would ignite my creativity.
I didn’t find all the fantastic tools I wanted right away. There were some false starts. As weeks passed, however, I found some treasures and a few things started to come together.
Now I can tell you that in the last 3-4 months I’ve:
- lost 10 pounds without really dieting
- started working out regularly
- taken control of our financial situation
- saved over $1000.00 – in a real savings account
- increased my hit traffic here at the blog substantially (On this one, I’m not quite sure WHY it’s happening, but I’ll take it.)
- I’ve started writing fiction again.
So, what has been working?
This intro to Resolution Week is already getting long, so I’ll start the series by sharing a quick link to one of the flakiest helpful techniques I stumbled on. I’m going to assume that you, like me, are a special kind of (paranormal) person — one who is simultaneously open minded and skeptical.
I warn you, the idea seems silly. If you watch the whole 21 minute presentation, though, you might be persuaded to give it a try, based on the psychological and neurological science cited in the video.
Perhaps you’ve already seen Amy Cuddy’s viral TED Talk, Your body language shapes who you are. The idea is that our brains are hardwired to take cues from the body language of the people around us, and this capability is unconsciously applied to our own personal body language too. We come to believe things about ourselves based on the body language we adopt. Now, this is obviously a chicken and egg thing, but the question remains: if there is a feedback loop, can we really “fake it ’til we make it?”
I don’t yet power pose daily. In fact, I hardly ever do it at all. I just forget. Right after I watched the video, though, I tried to adopt a regular practice. I wrote in my personal journal:
A funny thing happened today. My husband likes it when I greet him enthusiastically when he gets home from work. You know, if I stop whatever I’m doing and go to give him a kiss before he can even get his coat off. I know it makes him happy.
I thought I’d be funny today, and be waiting for him at his parking spot. I went down and was just sort of slumped against the wall when I remembered I hadn’t done any power poses yet. So I did. Just the Wonder Woman stance.
Next thing I knew, I’d decided I might as well walk laps in the big underground garage of the apartment complex while I waited. It was probably my third lap before I started to wonder if the power posing energized or focused me in such a way that I started to do something good. Just a thought.
My biggest take-away from this video was a realization that the position I adopt while writing matters. I happen to be one of those people who has always walked and stood confidently, but I tend to slump and fold in on myself and shrink when I’m seated. Now, when the words are feeling confined or cramped, I change the way I’m sitting and I stretch out a bit. It’s just one little thing, among other hacks that I’m using, but it helps.
PS: A whole lot of yoga poses already tap into this idea, I think.