Dr Nicola Dehlinger, ND

The new year is a time where a lot of us reflect on life – what’s working, what’s not, and how we can improve.  We are coming down off the “holiday high” with lots of baked goods, cocktails, and sweet treats have left us feeling a little low.  We want to jump on the bandwagon of motivation – THIS is the moment to make those big changes we’ve been talking about for months. 

If we are so clear on our goals, then why do resolutions often fall by the wayside before January is even complete? Because we haven’t really connected to our “why”. 

When we make a choice based on a judgment, especially one we’re not excited about, that choice doesn’t bring us into more alignment with ourselves – it just provides another topic to be in internal conflict with ourselves about.  For example, if you resolve to give up sugar because it’s “bad” for you and then you find yourself having ice cream after a hard day at work, there is conflict there.  The ice cream is helping you to feel good after a stressor, but the mind has judged it as “bad”, so how can it feel “good”?  This often leads to confusion and then judgment of ourselves.  I made a promise to not eat sugar, and I just ate ice cream so I must be “bad” (or lazy, without will power, stupid or any of the other lovely messages we often tell ourselves). 

When we choose from a place of alignment within ourselves, this scenario can look very different.  If you dig deeper and ask yourself why you want to let go of sugar, the answer will be much more specific and personal.  For example, when I am not eating sugar, I feel less irritable.  When my mood is more even, my relationships have more ease and creating more harmony in my world is really important to me.  So, next time I return to the habit of eating sugar, I can connect to my deeper why – harmony in my relationships – and ask if the ice cream is more important than that.  And it can help me discern between scenarios – taking my son for ice cream as a treat can serve as a connective experience and now I’m really choosing what I want, in each moment, rather than being beholden to a blanket statement that just feels like deprivation. 

When we set an intention, it’s important to be clear what is the true, underlying goal.  Weight loss is fine – but understanding what is truly motivating you is essential.  What will weight loss create?  What is the point of abandoning sugar?  Why reduce alcohol or increase veggies?  What will this create in your life that has meaning to you??  Write that down and allow your choices to flow from there. 

As you step into choosing yourself, take the long view.  Allow yourself the full year to play with intentions you are setting.  Maybe write down some specific activities that feel supportive and choose the one that feels easiest.  Start there and allow yourself to receive what it feels like to drink more water or choose fruit for dessert.  Take the time to ask yourself, is this choice moving me closer or further away from what I truly desire?

Coming home to yourself, rather than an arbitrary, judgment-based goal, will always serve your higher purpose. 

Nicola Dehlinger, ND, graduated from SCNM. Dr. Nicola sees clients from around the world in her naturopathic medical practice, Pura Vida Natural Healthcare, in Durango, CO. She is an expert in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. She is able to minimize supplements and medications as her patients become empowered to heal themselves. In addition to seeing clients, Dr. Nicola leads group and private retreats. She teaches a variety of online and in-person classes. In her free time, you can find Dr. Nicola in the mountains or the kitchen, enjoying time with her husband, son, and dogs. Website: www.puravidahealthcare.com

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