An Intuitive New Year
Inspiration to think differently as you begin the new year.
Mesopotamian civilizations began their new year in March to signify the season of growth. Ancient Egyptians celebrated the rebirth of their culture every September. The Greeks preferred to ring in their year in the dark of December. In 154 BCE, the Romans landed on January 1st for political reasons—a date that most of the Western World has accepted as the day for fanfare, social celebration, and self-betterment.
As we’re inundated with emails, ads, and compulsory dinner table toasts promoting New Year's resolutions, it’s important—if not simply interesting—to remember that the emphasis we place on January as the time to review our imperfections and “better” ourselves is historically constructed, somewhat arbitrary, and not reflective of some absolute physics of beginnings and endings.
The Body Positive’s first Competency Reclaim Health teaches us to question the origins of what we believe about our bodies. I am writing to remind you that it is likewise freeing to step back and investigate the origins behind this holiday of self-betterment; to question and reimagine what this holiday is urging you to do, feel, believe.
Maybe January feels to you like a collective wave of intention that expedites you to the shore of all you authentically desire. Or, maybe this season of resolutions feels like an aggressive undertow, pulling you away from your natural direction & rhythms/. Maybe this season of resolutions feels more harmful to you than helpful. I encourage
you to listen to your own unique body and soul to find out!
Social media posts about “getting back” to some previous pant size, or exercise routines that forcibly fight against the natural rhythms of our magnificent and unique bodies, are often punitive, and energized by an undertone (or overtone) of fat-shaming and anti-fat bias.
January is, unfortunately, when we may need not only the thickest sweaters and the most water-resistant raincoats, but also the thickest Body Positive skin. It is a time for renewed resilience to all the noise, so we can hear again the beat of our own drum.
“Resolutions used to feel arbitrary and culturally enforced for me. But that’s changed. It is winter, and I am more introspective … Now I try to look at resolutions as an opportunity to go even deeper into intuitive living. If I do this, it can be a powerful time to make aligned changes…”
– Susan P., Donor and Member of The Body Positive Community
Winter, a time of hibernation and rest for most species, can be a wonderful time for us humans to pause the action-taking, and go inside. (The Balinese & Javanese already welcome their New Year’s Day, Nyepi, with a day of rest and self-reflection). When we slow down and look inward, we can reconnect with our intuition; when we get still, our innermost wisdom can come into focus.
However you choose to inhabit this moment, remember: there is no real beginning or end to your year. There are only your intuitions, desires, waves of inspiration, action, rest, and germination of creative seeds you’ve been planting. You have the choice to identify, celebrate, and ritualize them in your own way.
Read on if you're interested in…
● An activity to help align your 2023 resolutions/intentions with your intuition.
● A list of 2023 intentions shared by our community
● Info about our Be Body Positive Fundamentals Home Study Course
● Suggestions videos, books, and poems to watch or read
ACTIVITY: INTERVIEWING YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS/INTENTIONS
I have designed this activity to help you investigate the origins, or internal “authors”, of your New Year’s resolutions/intentions. This activity also invites you to adjust your resolutions so that they emanate from your intuition and heed the innate wisdom of your body, rather than external sources.
Note: If you have trouble accessing your intuitive wisdom, or with any part of this activity, we recommend reaching out to a trusted person in your life or a weight-inclusive, Body Positive therapist for support. Experiencing trauma can make it difficult to connect with your body and to access your intuition. That is totally fine. Believe that you deserve support and reach out to get it.
Have you seen the Pixar movie Inside Out? If not, it’s definitely one to watch!
For the next five minutes, we invite you to think of your body as home to a cast of characters (like in the movie Inside Out), each one with a full personality, with a set of motivations and desires and fears. You will be exploring a resolution (insert the word “intention” if that’s a better fit) you’ve made for 2023 to see how it resonates with your intuitive wisdom.
Think of a resolution you want to investigate: Perhaps this is a resolution you are ambivalent about, or one that is causing you some grief or uncertainty. Go back to the moment you decided on this resolution. Conjure it in your mind and body.
Identify the “part” behind the resolution: If you could name the Inside Out character behind this resolution, who would they be? (For example, Name this part: Mr. Smarty Pants; Fearful Freddy III; Mama Bear. . .) What do they look like? Sound like? Personify the part of you who set this resolution. When you think of this resolution, what images, faces, or memories come to mind?
Identify where this part lives in your body: Does the resolution this part made come with any attending physical sensations? Where? What kind? (For example: Tightness, openness, heat, cold, butterflies, bee-hive, dizziness, sleepiness, heaviness, lightness, etc.). Locate this part in your body if you can. If not, no worries! Move onto the next step.
Identify the emotions surrounding your resolution: When you conjure your resolution right now, do you feel: Compassion, calm, confidence, connectedness, curiosity, love, kindness, openness, courage, or something else?If so, this is a good sign that your resolution has been authored (or at least co-authored!) by your intuition, your core self (the wisest part of you that initiates intuitive self-care and cultivates self-love). If not, don’t fret. Get curious. What feelings do animate this resolution? Does this resolution carry flavors of fear, shame, anger, irritability, heaviness, worry, tension, thrill, frenzy, or something else? Name the feelings you are discovering.
If these (or other) more difficult feelings describe your resolution, great work identifying them. Send a deep breath into the space in your body where the resolution is showing up. These feelings could mean that a burdened part of you (not your intuitive inner leader) has authored your resolution. This part might welcome some extra attention, and some support from your Intuitive Self.
Conjure your Intuitive Self. Your higher self, inner sage, life source—call it whatever you want. It’s the wise part of you who observes the drama, and steps in to spearhead intuitive self-care. Picture this leader part of you in your mind. Maybe you picture yourself, someone whom you trust, love, or admire. An animal perhaps? What image anchors you to your intuition? If you want, you can name this part of you as well. For example: Spirit Susan, Wendy Warrior, Cinnamon Roll Sage, Decisive Dante . . .
Ask your Intuitive Self for guidance: How might this intuitive leader support the resolving part? What does it need to loosen its grip on this resolution, so it feels good in your body? What can your intuitive self offer to help this part of you feel safer, freer, more relaxed? Can it trust you, your intuition, to take charge? If not, what needs to happen so it can?
Write a letter from your resolution/burdened part to your Intuitive Self. Let the part who has authored the resolution air its grievances and desires, and make its case. Why did it choose this particular resolution? What is at stake? What does it fear will/won’t happen if you don’t follow through with this resolution? Give this part the floor. Listen.
Respond to this resolution/burdened part from your wise Intuitive Self. Share with it your Intuitive Self’s wisdom. What wisdom can it offer? What can your Intuitive Self do to help this part feel more comfortable, free, calm?
Remind the burdened part that your goal/desire is to support them; to design intentions that emanate from love and generate love, connectedness, confidence, calm.
Adjust or Revise the Resolution:
With the guidance of your Intuition, can you now go back to the drawing board? Perhaps you will edit, relinquish, or re-invent the resolution so that it feels aligned with the wisdom of your Intuition. Remember to check in with your body regularly. How does the new or revised resolution feel in your body? This is where your Intuitive Self resides, and it is filled with powerful wisdom.
Final Note: This activity can be done any time you need to explore any voices inside your mind that are pushing you to act, behave, think in a certain way. It’s not just for New Year’s Resolutions!
2023 INTENTIONS - EXAMPLES OF INTUITIVE NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
When you read these resolutions, remember that what is right for one person may not be right for you—try not to compare what your intentions are with what others want to do. Comparison causes great damage to our souls and life force!
Laugh more—the deep belly kind.
Spend more evenings outside watching the sky.
Read 30 minutes a day for my pleasure (and be nice to myself if I miss a day(s)!)
Say, “Yes, I would like whipped cream on my hot chocolate” whenever I want it.
Light candles at night.
Bake once a week—or more! (baking doesn’t need to be for a holiday or special occasion).
When I feel anxiety in my belly, pause what I’m doing and take a deep breath.
If I feel uncomfortable before eating a meal, slow down, sink back into my chair. Calm my nervous system.
Practice slow/Zin yoga classes as well as doing the heat-building yoga. Remind myself regularly that exercise needn’t be about power all the time. It’s also about stress release and rest.
Give myself permission to stop reading a book if I don’t like it.
Give myself permission to say no to social events, even if someone pressures me to go.
Allow myself to do absolutely nothing “productive” on the weekend when I need a break.
BE BODY POSITIVE FUNDAMENTALS HOME STUDY COURSE
The Be Body Positive Fundamentals Home Study Course is a wonderful resource to help you align your new year intentions with your wisest, most embodied self. The course will teach you how to listen to and follow the innate wisdom that lives in your body, and hopefully inspire intentions/decisions that feel aligned and embodied—any time of the year!
The Body Positive is offering a 25% discount through February 15th to help you get your year off to a peaceful start. Use the coupon code “BEBODYPOSITIVE-215” on the registration page to receive your 25% discount!
This Fundamentals Course is a fit for you if you are:
An individual struggling with negative body image.
A professional who works with people struggling with negative body image or eating problems and want to learn more about the Be Body Positive Model’s 5 Competencies and to also qualify to access NEW guidebooks to use the Competencies with your clients. Learn more.
A parent observing negative body image in your child and/or their peers.
A parent struggling with negative body image who wants to heal your own relationship to your body so you can be a more positive role model for your children.
A student in high school or higher education who wants to learn how to wield your words, actions, and organizing skills to mobilize groups on campus or create a more body positive culture on your campus.
Anyone wanting to embody and model intuitive self-care and body positivity in any space!
The course is appropriate for both professionals and individuals, and is also offered in Spanish. 11.5 Continuing Education Hours are available for master’s-level therapists and registered dietitians. If you have questions, email email@example.com for more information.
VIDEO AND READING SUGGESTIONS
Lizzo’s Documentary, “Love, Lizzo” streaming on HBO Max.
Embody, by Connie Sobczak. Connie’s message is rooted in the belief that people inherently possess the wisdom necessary to make healthy choices and live peacefully in their bodies. Rather than receiving a prescriptive set of rules to follow, you’ll be guided through patient, mindful inquiry to find what works uniquely in your own life to bring about—and sustain—positive self-care changes and a joyful relationship with your body. I read Embody when I was shifting from a regimented to an intuitive self care routine in college; Connie's words were a roadmap and companion.
Girlhood, by Melissa Febos. In this memoir-meets-essay-collection, Febos expands the vocabulary of trauma to name and make sense of the early sexual encounters that shaped her—all in a cutting, mellifluous prose. With poetic finesse and profound intellectual insight, Febos braids personal story with research, challenging what we think formally and topically possible in memoir. Reading Girlhood emboldened my journey inward, and inspired me to reclaim with love (and through writing) my exiled parts.
The Cave, a poem by Paul Tran
New Year’s Day, a poem by Kim Addonizio
Before you leave, remember: Every moment of every day is a chance to begin again; to reconnect with who you are, with the wisdom of your body, and to make new decisions from that trusting place.
The option to “begin” is always here. Not in January. But in you. Give yourself permission to begin again right now if you want!
Thank you for reading. With love from my intuitive self to yours,