With the New Year we find ourselves in front of the mirror again, determined to eradicate traces of belly pouches, sagging flesh, and declining youth. We consider new resolutions that will make us look better, younger, and slimmer, but why not make 2012 a revolutionary year? Instead of focusing on physical flaws, why not empower ourselves by composing resolutions that foster self-love and acceptance? Here are some suggestions for the New Year that will shift our attention away from our appearances and awaken in us a sense of unparalleled self-possession and inner strength.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Instead of waking up every morning and weighing yourself, forget the scale. Walk to the mirror, avoid the daily mine for imperfections, look into your eyes, and recite your praises: “I am beautiful, inside and out. I am strong, capable and intelligent.” Lift yourself up every day, and eventually, you won’t care how many dimples cling to your thighs.
Captain, My Captain: Enroll in a Women’s Studies Course. Discourse on topics that affect women is ongoing, so be apprised of academic studies that demonstrate how history, society, and laws affect the rights of women. Being informed provides you with effective tools necessary to combat misogyny and stereotypes. Why not start now? Ms. Magazine provides its own Guide to Women’s Studies site.
Follow the Leader: Appropriate the regimen of successful women like Venus Williams or Danica Patrick. Take notes on what motivates them to succeed in male-dominated fields. Aside from passion, they pushed hard and came through as champions. Find your leader, learn her secrets, and apply them to your own personal and professional endeavors.
Do You Jiu-Jitsu?: Forget cardio-kickboxing and Zumba classes. For competence, confidence and strength, take self-defense classes that will physically empower you. For starters, Jiu-Jitsu trains you to fight on the ground, and Krav Maga concentrates on instinctive movements that focus on winning the battle with any attacker, no matter his size.
Bring It: Playing sports contributes to physical and mental well-being, teaches competition, enhances leadership skills, and generates positive energy that makes us feel happy and fulfilled. Challenge, compete, and train your brain and body by participating in volleyball, baseball, and lacrosse teams at your local YMCA. Or enter and run in a marathon. Whatever you do, play to win.
Don’t Believe the Hype: Resist gender stereotypes by taking on chores like mowing, edging and leaf-blowing, cleaning the gutters, fixing broken appliances and other tasks usually left to men. Enroll in a car mechanics course offered by your local College and learn how to change the oil and tires in your own vehicle. Car maintenance is a skill that everyone should possess.
Blog Power: Start a blog called “365 Days of Empowerment,” in which you post daily on acts of strength, power, your 2012 resolutions, and your abilities as an empowered woman. Measure your successes and pitfalls with acquiring new skills, resisting stereotypes, and redefining your power. Chronicle your passage towards a stronger, more confident, powerful you.
Marina DelVecchio is a writer and College Instructor on writing, research, and literary analysis. She is a contributing writer/book reviewer of feminist texts for Her Circle Ezine, and her work has been published at WE Magazine for Women, More.com, The New Agenda, the WM Parenting Connection, and the Huffington Post. Her article on violence against women will be published in Viewpoints, a college anthology in February 2012.