Wow, it’s 2010! Is anyone besides me wondering what happened to 2009? Do any of us remember the resolutions we made at the beginning of last year? If you’re like most people, by January 1st you had a list of resolutions that revolved around weight loss and exercise habits. And… if you’re like most of us, by the end of the month, you probably gave up on them. (Raise your hand if you are one of us.) So rather than waste time and energy on things we’re not going to do anyway, I thought I’d offer a new look at New Year’s Resolutions. How about making a commitment to just one – everyday, one day at a time. Here it is: Always Do Your Best. (Take a breath). I know, it sounds like a big deal, but read on.

In his extraordinary book “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom”, Don Miguel Ruiz informs us that your best will change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick, when you are rested as opposed to fatigued. Under any circumstances, he writes, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret. (Are you breathing yet?)

“Always Do Your Best” is the fourth agreement and according to Ruiz, the one that allows the other three (Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions.) to become deeply ingrained habits. I’ve read this book numerous times, suggest it clients, and live the agreements myself (as best I can). So how does this fourth agreement apply to our connection with weight, eating, and body image?

As I go through my day, am I fueling my body with nutritious foods that will give me energy? Am I honoring my body with mindful choices? Am I eating my food slowly, thoroughly chewing each bite so that I enhance the digestive process? Am I able to recognize when my belly has had enough? Am I moving my body throughout the day and thanking it for all that it does for me? If I can’t get to the gym, am I climbing stairs, dancing in the kitchen, jogging in place, power walking around my workplace? (Just so you know, the latest research states that exercising in ten minute bursts, three times a day, is as effective as a full, thirty minute workout!) As I go through my day, am I doing my best, knowing full well that I am not in control of where the field trip bus stops for lunch. I’m not in control of the weather, or if my child gets sick, or what my colleagues say to or about me, or if my partner remembered my birthday. However, I am in control of the choices I make and how I respond. I am in control of doing my best – to become healthier, kinder, wiser, and a better human being.

Always Do Your Best does not mean Always Be Perfect! That’s a set a set up for failure. (We know who we are, those of us who go for a run with a fever, who push ourselves beyond pain and fatigue, who feel we’re out of control if we eat a cookie.) Always Do Your Best does not mean Always Let Yourself Off the Hook either. If a week goes by and we haven’t moved our bodies at all and we’re in good health, well just maybe we didn’t do our best. If we berated our bodies all we week because we don’t look like Heidi Klum, we’re probably not doing our best to talk to our bodies lovingly. (Fess up, you know who you are.) When we always do our best, we learn. We learn about our strengths, our limitations, we learn from our mistakes, and we learn about ourselves. We stop hiding from our humanness.

So this year, I resolve to always do my best. Are you with me?

Author's Bio: 

Ilene Leshinsky is a licensed, clinical social worker with over 13 years of counseling experience. In her Plattsburgh-based private practice, she works with women who want more joy and fulfillment in their lives. Ilene’s BodySense program is open to women of all ages who are in conflict with weight, eating, and body image. She can be reached at 518-570-6164 or www.ileneleshinsky.com.