Tip For 2016: Stop Chasing Freedom Backwards
Jan 3, 2016 @ 9:45 EDT
By Stephanie Karlovits
Ringing in the New Year can be both exciting and daunting. Exciting, because a new year can represent a fresh start or a clean slate. An opportunity to accomplish new goals, experience different activities and make your mark on the world all over again. Daunting, however, because as another year passes it can be a reminder of things we may have wanted to accomplish but haven’t yet. Goals that were pushed onto the back burner or that got lost amid other distractions.
As I found myself leaning more toward the daunting facet of 2016 approaching I realized that it wasn’t helping to dwell on things that didn’t go the way I had intended this past year. Instead, focusing on the new challenges and chances a new year can bring will allow me to make new goals and still reach older ones. The goals I didn’t meet don’t have to fade with the outgoing year but rather, can start anew with this incoming one.
All I have to do is commit.
Increasingly in our culture there is a pattern of viewing Generations X, Y, and Millennials as commitment-phobic. While that may not be true of all people it is easy to see why this thought exists. In a society where 50% of marriages end in divorce and a North American on average will hold about 11 different jobs between the time they start working and the time they retire, we are seen as a people that can’t make things stick. We pick things up and put them down as often as we change our socks.
When Eleanor Roosevelt said, “With freedom comes responsibility,” she wasn’t wrong. However I would argue that the opposite could also be true: With responsibility comes freedom. So many view freedom and commitment as opposite ends of the spectrum and many think that you can’t have both at the same time. But I think that it may actually be easier to find freedom by making commitments. When people don’t feel tied down to anything it can feel liberating for a short time but eventually, not making any steps toward a change damages a person’s progress or ability to move forward.
When you make a commitment, no matter how large or small, it can broaden your sense of freedom by eliminating the need to continue debating, second-guessing or reconsidering. Instead of questioning something with “should I” or “shouldn’t I”s the phrase becomes “I am” or “I will.”
Simplicity blogger and writer, Leo Babauta, calls this the “Age of Distraction” in his latest book, focus (aka the focus manifesto). Being connected all of the time is, in today’s world, an expectation but it can also be incredibly overwhelming. It is almost unavoidable to become distracted by things like email or social media but we often underestimate how much that takes away from concentrating on achieving our goals.
While being connected can still be an important part of our lives, it is equally as important to not let it completely take over. And while some goals are okay to not complete right away, or to take a second chance with, committing to improving or maintaining our health is one that should happen sooner rather than later. As with most things, the earlier we start caring about something, the better results we find in the long run. Lavon Williams’ article Commitment to Sport and Exercise in the Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health discusses how choosing to make a commitment to physical activity is essential for our overall health. Whether we are committing to this kind of change for “want to” or “have to” reasons, the outcome is astoundingly positive. This is the kind of promise to yourself with virtually no down side and it is no secret that any changes made in this aspect of our lives can have constructive impacts in other aspects as well.
So, with all of this being said, 2016 can be the year where you find freedom in commitment and responsibility. I can think of nothing more liberating than discovering a balance between structure and flexibility. Even small or seemingly simple goals can make a big difference— all that needs to be done is make a commitment and stick with it! At EPIC, we are here to help you reach your potential, complete your objectives and attain your ambitions. After all, you can’t achieve the goals that you don’t set for yourself.
About the Author
Stephanie is Ottawa’s health and fitness GPS. She leads clients in the right psychological, fitness and nutritional direction in order for them to feel their most optimal. Stephanie has been a fitness and wellness coach for the past 12 years. She founded and owns Ottawa’s only functional training facility, EPIC Fitness, is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and certified Yin Yoga Instructor. She is passionate about the EPIC lifestyle which incorporates specific bio-chemical changes, psychological evaluation and functional training principles that assists individuals live their potential. She is heavily involved in charitable initiatives and is also in love with all things #ottawa. Two things you may not know: she successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last year and has been on a hockey based reality show for the past 4 years!