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Resolution: You Are Here

youarehere[photo]

My friend/colleague/inspiration Kathleen Shannon (the designer behind the gorgeous look of Well Fed) recently shared her resolutions for the new year. In her post, she resolved to “…let the way I want to feel, and the person I want to be, dictate my actions.” She’s basing her year around four powerful words, and I encourage you to pop over and visit her; it’s good stuff!

She asked what words are inspiring the rest of us heading into this promising new year, and it got me thinking…

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’ve been wrestling with embracing a somewhat similar idea for the past few years: this notion of eschewing (eschewing!) hardcore goals and resolutions for an approach based around simply trying to live as the best version of myself.

This year, I want to fine tune that even more.

I spent much of my young adult life always looking ahead. I was, as they say, “goal oriented” and “Type A.” I had plans and schemes and goals, and I would not rest until I’d achieved all of them. Unfortunately, I also would not always enjoy the things I was doing while I was doing them because I was too distracted by the end goal. I fear there are far too many moments I missed or short-changed because I was thinking about the future. I’m not rueful or regretful, but I am grateful that I now understand better how to live in the present moment. (Thank you for the lessons, Frankenneck and kundalini yoga.)

In contrast, I feel like I’ve spent a bit too much of the last two years mourning what I was before my thyroid meltdown. If I’m not conscious and careful about it, I have a tendency to very unfavorably — and unfairly — compare Current Me with At-My-Goal-Weight-CrossFit Me. Current Me is not lazy or unmotivated or a bad person merely because Current Me isn’t as fit as At-My-Goal-Weight-CrossFit Me. Current Me just had some setbacks related to hormonal challenges that were completely out of my control for a while.

So now, although I’m anti New Year’s Resolutions, I am setting an intention for 2013. I’m going to apply some of the principles I’ve learned in yoga, from Brene Brown, and from all of you — and in 2013, I’m going to be present. My mantra: You are here.

Those three words hold so much promise. They’re a declaration of existence and groundedness, now-ness and beginnings.

You are here reminds me that I can be present — that I can rest and revel in this moment — and yet, I can also experience this point in time as the starting line for new adventure and new experiences.

I have a problematic tendency to compare myself — to other people, to (idealized) past or future versions of myself, to what I think I should be. (And we know this is true: comparison is the killer of joy.) But You are here reminds me that I’m me. And that’s all I need to be.

I am here, and I’m going places, too.

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Best wishes to you for the 2013 you desire. What’s your intention?

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30 Responses to “Resolution: You Are Here”

  1. Tara says:

    I love this. “you are here” It’s what I’ve struggled to accept… or maybe it was just the process of acceptance – I didn’t try to resist. “Current Me just had some setbacks related to hormonal challenges that were completely out of my control for a while.” <—— this made me smile. I could have written this post beside you! :)

    Checking out your cookbook now!

  2. Connie Weiss says:

    Excellent! It really is the perfect thing so bring you to your center. My word for 2013 is Mindful and I may repeat this to myself when I need a reminder.

    Happy New Year!

  3. I like the idea of setting an intention rather than a list of resolutions, and your words are a great reminder to live in the present. I am in my mid-20s, very type A and a big planner/organizer, so I appreciated reading the perspective of someone with similar tendencies and more experience. Here is to a year of embracing the moment- happy 2013!

  4. Maggie says:

    What a great resolution, Mel! I love the idea of setting “intentions.” I started re-framing my goals that way a few years ago and the only rule is that they must be things that could make me happier at the end of the year instead of making me feel like my resolve/I had failed. Wishing you only happiness in 2013!

  5. Jessica says:

    I love setting an intention instead of being hard core goal oriented. I felt the same way for years. My intention this year is to “Accentuate the Positive” and shift how I look at each situation. This encompasses always doing my best (even though my best will vary from day to day), not taking things personally, expecting that other people are doing their best as well (instead of assuming the bank teller will be crabby or that the line will be long at the DMV and be miserable). Generally taking a Glass Half Full attitude about myself, my health, my circumstances… everything. Look on the bright side, baby!

    On a side note, I’m doing the #whole30 challenge and have already bookmarked a lot of your recipes! You’re rad! Excited about this!!!

  6. Katie says:

    Mel, you are an inspiration to me and so many other people! I recommend your book and blog to everyone I work with. Happy 2013 and here’s to being present!

  7. I love this. Thank you.

  8. Kathleen says:

    “You are here.” I love it. It seems so simple but when I run the words across my breath it immediately grounds me to my present moment.

    Happy 2013 Mel (and Dave!). So much love for you guys. XOXO

  9. Heather says:

    Love this so much. Thanks for posting; it’s like you were in my head when you wrote this. :)

  10. nalani says:

    Your posting is exactly what my yoga teacher suggested as we started our class today. We should consider making an intention and that intention may be something just for today not necessarily time-limited.

    Thank you for your blog and sharing. As I venture on another Whole30, you and nomnompaleo are guiding me toward an intentional path toward health.

    Forward in 2013!

  11. Tim Huntley says:

    Hey Mel,

    My mantra for this year will be “Chip Away.” Similar to your “You Are Here,” it is focusing on the present, on what needs to be done today, in light of what I aspire to become.

  12. Debbi says:

    well said. My intention for the year, as well as my one word is “intentional” or “deliberate” (so I guess that’s two words). Whether it be parenting, teaching, working out, eating, relaxing, whatever. I want to be in the moment. Half-assed is no longer good enough. And no guilting myself if I screw up. It’s not all or nothing, it’s a journey towards a better me.

  13. Neil says:

    Nice post! I’ve been searching for quite a while a catch phrase or mantra to help keep me motivated. “You are here” I think is a great one. I would totally use it, but strangely enough I actually came up with my own earlier this morning. No half steppin’.

  14. Brad Rutledge says:

    Four years ago in a blog I wrote I stated my intention to do my best to “live authentically.” (http://ishouldbewise.blogspot.com/2008/12/year-of-living-authentically.html ) That remains my goal today, but learning to be present in the moment is emerging as the number one tool in the toolkit. Good luck to you in 2013 and beyond. And thanks for all you do.

  15. laura says:

    LOVE this! I’m with ya. For 2013, it’s simple…LOVE MYSELF MORE! Whatever form that takes. Love is where it’s at.

  16. Holly says:

    Love this. Can’t wait to see it unfold! :) Happy New Year, friend!

  17. Jeanye says:

    My theme for 2013 is Being Enough. As is. :)

    Love you, Mel! Keep the good words flowing, girl!

  18. Sarah says:

    Similar to “You are here”, my 2013 intention is to “Let People Be.” I have a horrible tendency to wonder why people act the way they do; wonder why they don’t act the way I think they “should”. This expectation of how others “should” act in given situations often sets me up for a world of emotional hurt because I spend way too much time screaming “Why can’t so-and-so just [do this, do that, behave that way]?” If I just “let people be” without question, then hopefully I can go with the flow more often, understanding that I can control only my actions and reactions. After writing all this, I wonder if my intention for 2013 is really not to “should” all over myself!

    Great post, as usual, Melissa, and best of luck with your 2013 intentions. By already thinking about being present to the moment, the now, the here, you are already closer to achieving your intention.

  19. Tom R. says:

    Great post. I need to figure out what I want my intention to be this year, and of course going forward. Thanks for the push.

    Happy New Year to you and Dave and looking foward to reading the updates through 2013.

    Oh yeah, got my signed copy of Well Fed right before Christmas. Best thing I got by far.

  20. Alyssa Luck says:

    This is a great post. I sometimes have a hard time accepting that ‘I am here,’ because I want to be ‘over there,’ but the beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to accept where I am, and go from there! Happy new year!

  21. rhonda beth says:

    I have a problem doing too much multitasking: Explore the Now.

  22. Olga King says:

    Very awesome! We should all try and be “best I can be” and not compare to what that best might have been in the past. Thanks for the reminder.

  23. [...] sure you’ve got your own intentions lined up for the new year. Good luck, and check out Melissa Joulwan’s excellent post on the resolution (er, intention) to live as the best version of yourself [...]

  24. Sounds like a coles notes version of “The Power of Now” except I can understand your version.

    Getting past the type “a” personality is very hard. Being also type “a”, I like to use extended trips to beautiful places where the locals only care in the world is wondering whats for dinner that that.

    Places like these are getting harder and harder to find though.
    Have a great 2013.
    -kelly

  25. Heather says:

    My intention is to do what I like, being active, eating right, having fun.

  26. Tessa says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I read about Paleo since May of last year and soaked up a lot of info.

    But you and your book saved my diet this past November.

    Granted, I seriously ODed on the dairy and grains over the holidays. I just don’t have the self control quite yet.

    But when I’m at home, I have been completely inspired by your book. I roast spaghetti squashes, take on roasted vegetables and actually started cooking meat. I mean, I was raised by a vegetarian. But as you so plainly put it, throw the ground meat in pan and wait till it turns brown. Season generously. My roomies love the smell of bacon in the house lately. ;)

    Seriously, I always thought cooking was time consuming and usually it was. I’d spend 2-3 hours per recipe.

    But tonight, in 1 1/2 hours, I reheated some curry, cracked some eggs over the top of it. Meanwhile a spaghetti squash was roasting. And in about 5 minutes, my sweet potatoe fries will be finished.

    I am no longer afraid of Paleo. Your hot plate concept literally has made Paleo possible.

    Tupperware is on my shopping list so I can do cookups that last me longer and provide more variety. I just got a veggie shopper (Oxo Good Grips).

    I start my first semester of college in a month. Today I wrote a list of things to do on my cookups on Sunday, a list of things to keep in stock in pantry and the freezer, etc.

    You made cooking organization possible.

    I smile when I think of my first Czech meatball or my first bowl of chocolate chili.

    So thank you Melissa, for being . . .well . . you!

    • Mel says:

      I LOVE this story — welcome to the kitchen… YAY!

      Thank you for sharing and for all your sweet words. I’m just delighted that Well Fed and my blog are helpful to you. And kudos to you for doing the work and making yourself a priority. Right on.

  27. Caroline says:

    Live this – ditto all the comments above. It’s exactly where I am at the moment and what I needed to hear. Thanks Mel!

  28. Mel says:

    Thank you, EVERYONE, for your comments. I thought I’d give you an update on how my intention is going…

    Yesterday at the gym, in the middle of a pretty great workout (just the right intensity, felt good but appropriately challenging), I saw my reflection in the mirror out of the corner of my eye while doing a walking lunge.

    I did not like what I saw, and for a second, I started being not very nice to myself. My internal monologue was pretty bad. Then I remembered the commitment I’d made to myself — and to all of you — that I would not mourn for my “old-new” body or beat myself up for where I am. I took a deep breath and literally whispered to myself, “You are here.”

    I WAS there, doing the work I need to do. So yeah, this intention will require me to be vigilant and consciously reign in my thinking, but yesterday, it totally worked.

    How are all of you doing?

  29. Briana says:

    I cannot express my love for this enough. Absolutely  beautiful. I read Brene Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection in December and did not realize how much self-judgment I engaged in. And not only that but veiling the judgement in well-intended goals. Like eating healthy!…. Bc I’m so fat. 

    Since reading her book I say “I am enough” like 1,000 times per day. I am 10 days into my first Whole30 and I realized that even though I’ve done similar programs before, this is the first time I’m counting up and not down. 10 days into my new life and going strong!

    This post is just amazing and it going to be shared and emailed and tweeted and  Facebooked.  And bookmarked for me to read everytime I start comparing!!!

    Thank you so much for all you do. It is so huge and amazing. :)

    Briana

    • Mel says:

      Thank you for this lovely comment — truly. I’m testing my “You are here” resolve today, trying to weather some unexpected and unpleasant business complications. Thanks to Brene Brown, I’m practicing being grateful for all that’s right, and trying to remember that eventually, these challenges will pass.

      Whew!

      Happy New Year to you! And yes, YOU ARE ENOUGH. :-)

  30. [...] sure you’ve got your own intentions lined up for the new year. Good luck, and check out Melissa Joulwan’s excellent post on the resolution (er, intention) to live as the best version of yourself [...]

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