New year, new me?

Published 08, Jan, 2015
Author // Daniel Uy

Daniel Uy asks "to lose weight or not to lose weight at this time of year if you live in a cold climate?” And if you decide to change, how can you initiate change that has the best chance of success?

New year, new me?

And once again it begins. Many slightly well-intentioned begin assessing life and making shifts and changes for the next calendar year. And by now, many have already quit or “failed”.

In my industry, we see it all the time.  New people flooding in with dozens of questions, interruping the class to ask things and then, at the end, tell me how it was the most amazing experience they have ever had and will be there every week from now on, and then I never see them again. And it’s OK. We totally understand. But at some point when does desiring a change and then implementing said change in a real way take place? 

For some reason, this change is always seen in terms of body weight or body image.  Or put simply “I want to lose weight”. This is a topic I have written about in the past and will most likely write about again. 

The first thing I want to make clear is that if you live in an area where the climate and season is like here in the Northern Hemisphere, winter means cold.  If you watch wildlife that lives in the northern hemisphere you know they spend the fall preparing for this by getting bigger.

Fat equals insulation and it means survival, safety, security, and warmth.  To live and exist in a cold weather climate through winter means we too will require body fat for survival reasons.  And so why then at the start of the winter season (which began Dec 21 – 10 days before the start of the New Year) would we want to remove the one thing that keeps us alive and in check through this season?  That would be like moving to the desert and then cutting back on the amount of water you drink. 

The body is not solid. It is a combination of chemicals and liquids formed into a solid state.  It is pliable and moveable and to exist in a world of change means the body, like our environment, shifts with time.  In essence, we will gain weight in prepping for cold months, we burn that energy in spring with thaw and outer heat. By summer we naturally move to leaner, and then in fall we slow down and start to rebuild.  It’s a cycle and we live it whether one chooses to acknowledge it or not.

I wanted to get this out there.  It’s natural to put on weight for winter.

If after assessing that, there are those that still want to lose weight that are beyond these regular ebbs and flows of life or if you want to make some other type of change, then read on.

Making a plan of action is one thing but it helps if you articulate it fully. The CANFITPRO Standard for goal setting is similar to that used in Project Management and that is the SMART goals.  Specific-Measureable-Action oriented – Realistic – Timed.  Whether this is for short or long-term goals, this system can help develop not only what you want to achieve but how and when that is to be done.  Think of this as a blueprint for the new change. 

There’s a funny joke I want to share here:

There are four frogs sitting on a log and three of them made a decision to jump into the water.  How many frogs are now sitting on the long?

The answer is four.  Why? Because they only made a decision. 

Action is required. In order to change, you actually have to either start doing something and/or stop doing something else. And you need to start now - to continue to keep starting until you stay started.

Change is not just situational or physical, it’s psychological.  It’s not even just psychological but it actually is physiological. The shift to work or change a different way requires more “power” for the brain.  When faced with change or new stimuli, the human tendency is to revert to what we already now. We can adapt but it’s painful and difficult, even for our brains.

To refer to Newton’s First Law – an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. To shift from one to the other requires a great deal of power, but once there it is far easier to maintain.  This law can be easily applied to the way in which we think.

So just having a new idea or goal is not enough. In order to have the change really take hold, it will require you to change the way you think. 

Take three minutes, sit down and breathe. Then after a pause, think about the change you want to have happen.  What would the final result look like?  What would life look like?  How would you look at yourself and see your life and yourself with that new change fully implemented?  What would it be like living everyday with the change already completed?

Take another few minutes seated with your eyes closed living in that new you.  Now open your eyes and believe it’s already happened.  Go out and live it while still taking the actions to make it a reality.

Finally, share it with others - not so much a Facebook or Twitter post, although those may help. But share what you want to do with a like-minded person in your life who would encourage and support you through change.  If no one like that exists for you, feel free to e-mail me. I’d love to hear about it. The hardest thing is doing it alone.  However, the tough journey forward is easier when another walks the path beside us.

Wishing you all well into this year and the years to come.  Metta.

About the Author

Daniel Uy

Daniel Uy

Daniel Uy is a Toronto-based Yoga Teacher. He teaches several different styles of yoga throughout the city and more information about his work can be found on He is also a full-time anthropology student.  He has been HIV+ since 1997 at the ripe old age of 21yrs old. He has a light-hearted approach to life. 

He shares stories and information on health, wellness, spirituality and humanity.