Forget wishful shrinking, count your many blessings

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Welcome to 2016!

The air is thick with ‘the party’s over’ atmosphere and I am on the quest for a new, slimmer me!

Wake up and smell the roses

Wake up and smell the roses

To aid me in my imminent amazing life transformation I’ve acquired a stack of self-help books.

I am currently wading through the opening chapters of; Sort Your Life Out by Pete Cohen.

Cohen is described as a human behaviourist. His book is scattered with thought-provoking anecdotes.

I began reading with all guns blazing.

Inside me is a thinner person struggling to get out, but up until now she has been easily sedated with chocolate eclairs, it was now time to unleash the skinny beast.

But enough of this wishful shrinking talk and back to the book,

Cohen insists that overeating is just an old habit that can be easily changed.

He gave the example of how circus elephants are trained by being tied to heavy metal chains that are anchored to stakes in the ground.

No matter how hard they try to get away they can’t and after a while they simply stop trying to escape.

At this stage the heavy chain is replaced by a lighter one which they could easily escape from if they tried, but because they believe they can’t escape, they don’t try to.

Their brains have become so conditioned to the situation that they stop trying to do anything differently, which is the case with many of us.

Humans are certainly creatures of habit.

When it comes to new year’s resolutions it’s extremely hard to find the motivation to do things differently.

Research has revealed that nine out of 10 of us will fail in keeping our new year’s resolutions and that the UK’s collective willpower will most likely have collapsed by January 22, known as ‘Fail Friday’.

I wonder if this year is the one where I will finally make those diet and lifestyle changes I imagine I want to implement, though if I’m honest, my current idea of a balanced diet is a biscuit in each hand, so I have a feeling it may be a case of new year, old me!

In an attempt to be healthy my family and I went for a bracing walk around Carrickfergus after lunch. We wandered along the harbour. The sea was still and calm and as I gazed off into the horizon, something caught my eye.

It was two perfect yellow roses bobbing together on the waves. They seemed to stay perfectly in tandem with each other, sometimes touching petals then drifting apart. I caught my breath as my late mother adored yellow roses and my father had laid a wreath of them on her coffin as his last goodbye. My father has also passed away, the two bobbing flowers reminded me of my late parents. I wondered where the roses had come from.

As I looked around I saw a man in his 30s leaning over the wall, he was drinking a tin of beer and looking at a photo. His face was etched with heartache.

I looked away not wanting to intrude on his grief. I turned back to the yellow roses and watched them bob silently, thinking how the image symbolised beautifully the ebb and flow of life and how we must learn to drift on its rough and smooth tides.

I recalled Cohen’s book and the elephants that had become conditioned to their situation. It struck me that I had also become conditioned to my surroundings and those in it, taking my loved ones for granted. I looked at my son and husband ahead in the distance chasing each other and joy filled my heart.

Here I was worrying about the size of my backside as it undulated into 2016, but those beautiful floating roses reminded me I was looking at the flaws in my life and forgetting about the blessings that I was so fortunate with which to be starting another year of life.

My husband and son ran back to me and as we walked away I passed the flower thrower, our eyes met for a second, he smiled at my boy, then hastily turned away. In that moment I felt great sorrow for him and relief for me that my loved ones were by my side.

Subsequently, a vase of yellow roses now sits on my mantelpiece to remind me to count my blessings, not my flaws, as I enter 2016.

Happy new year!