Happy 2020! Here we are Daily Feelers. We find ourselves in a new decade of life. It is not lost on me when my kids said: “wow, mom you have lived in a like five decades”. Yeah, thanks a lot!

Every year people make resolutions to change themselves for the New Year. Often times, by the end of January it becomes a fleeting memory of what we had been resolute about just thirty-one days ago.

I was reading an article. (Sorry I intended to keep it to post here; that didn’t happen). But, basically, it said you have lived all these years up until now. You have done a great job at surviving and are still here to talk about it; so why would you want to change so much about yourself. I am not going to get into a long diatribe about how horrible society and social media is when it comes to image.

In exploring the things about ourselves we need to change; we feel very uncomfortable. It is difficult to look at the parts of ourselves we are not happy with and actually admit it even to ourselves. There are times I felt like if I just didn’t look in the mirror or I didn’t say out loud I need to lose weight then well; it wasn’t real. As if somehow I was hiding this fact. But, let’s face it, people know us in real life (I always say that) and we can put on all the filters and use certain poses, change the lighting; but I still have to see all these people in public. The school events, girl scouts or just out and about in town.

I imagine I am not the only one with this thought process (or maybe I am).

Over this past weekend, a friend asked me to share a photo from my wedding with her to show someone. I went to an old album on my phone. I found two photos I had never posted. I asked myself; why? It was because it was a full-body shot. I was thirty pounds heavier than I am today. I took a good look at those photos. They were great photos and they were of my family. Yet, I made a choice to hide them away in my phone because I did not want to be ridiculed for how I looked. So, I decided to post them to my social media accounts yesterday. Guess what? I didn’t die!  I am missing from so many photos with my kids because of my own issues with how I look. I want to take a second to thank my friend Nelly (Nelly Catania Photography) for not listening to me and when I said that I did not need any photos taken from that day, and showing up anyway. You Rock!

A friend, Lori posed an idea to me and thirteen other friends/acquaintances a few days before New Year’s Eve.  She reached out to us to do a challenge with her this month. She asked us to commit to thirty days and think outside the box.

Here is what she posed to us:

•Weigh yourself tomorrow (for your own personal knowledge) and no scale again until the end of this challenge

•Fruits/Vegetables/Fish only (avoid starch, meats, and sugar, NO SWEETS)

•At least 1-hour of cardio per week (People, that is only two days of a 30-minute workout.

•Drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

• Eat as much fruit and vegetables you want (Prepared how you want)

•You may share your thoughts, recipes, and goals on this group text.

If you choose to drop out it will cost you $50 to be shared by the team (Motivating, I know)

Well, we all signed up. I have cursed her a few times; she will know once she reads this blog. It is no easy task. But, one thing she made clear is that ye,s we will likely lose inches and pounds. But, the goal is to challenge ourselves and how we think.

So, two weeks into the challenge I have had one slip up. I am telling on myself and will likely need to add a day on to my challenge. 

Every day she sends out a supportive message. During this past weekend, she asked me to send the motivating message of two days and we will all take turns doing the same supporting one another.

I am sharing what I wrote to my team:

“Good Morning Team Beautiful! 2020 started us off with this call to challenge ourselves from Lori. It’s hard to believe how fast time is flying. Instead of a resolution she challenged us to set an intention. The intention is to do more for ourselves. I don’t know about anyone else but I spend a lot of time thinking, doing and spending time on others. Often times forsaking my own needs. Resolutions are demands versus intentions which are an attitude we take towards a goal. Today try to look at your intention for yourself this year and your expectation of this challenge we have taken on. Look forward to how you will continue on a path. When we come to the end of the challenge try to start thinking about; what was easy? What was hard? What changes will stick with me? “

“I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. What will you do today for self-care? At this point in our journey, we are probably starting to get used to the daily grind we may feel uncomfortable because we are not used to having to think about everything that passes our mouth. This journey makes us have to think more and focus on ourselves. It is not always a comfortable place to be. Success is getting up one more time then we’ve been knocked down. We all want success but remember that there are small hurdles that were all battling every day to get to the bigger picture and those are just as important as our end goal whether it’s to lose weight, become healthier or just learn more about ourselves. “

I share my words as a call to everyone to start remembering we are as important as all of the things we spend so much time focusing on every day.

I can’t even count how many times I have said I do not have time for something that had to do with myself; while giving my 110% to someone or something else.

I am not the model of how to balance all of this; as I am a work in progress.

However, I have committed to trying to be a better me than I was yesterday and start to focus on the things that matter to me most. I challenge everyone to start to do one thing a day just for you!

So my intentions are to focus more on SELF, maybe lose a few more pounds in the process and to shed the veil of having to hide myself because I am not happy with how I appear.

I challenge everyone to take some time to focus more on what you want for yourself in this New Year.

Deborah Levine-Powell

Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.

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