What Does 'the #1 Thing You Want to Conquer in the New Year' Have in Common with a Teeter Totter?

As the new year begins, we all naturally want to get off to a great start. It’s a time to wipe the slate clean and start again by getting old habits that have held us back out of our lives. Isn’t that what New Year’s Resolutions are all about? At the beginning of a new year, we take inventory of our life and identify something that needs to change. Maybe we need to stop racing for the nearest bar to indulge in cocktails when the clock strikes 5:00 pm every weekday. Or, maybe we need to stop criticizing our partner all the time and carrying around negative attitudes. Or, maybe it’s to stop going to the freezer late at night and pulling out a pint of ice cream and eating the whole thing. Maybe it's the need to get our body to the gym to shed excess weight for a stronger, leaner, healthier life. Whatever it is that has been holding us back, we have a tendency to look at it like it’s bad or wrong. We tend to put ourselves down and scold ourselves for these behaviors that we can’t seem to shake. It’s like we are stuck in a rut. Why is it that we have difficulty making these changes? Why do we try to implement a new habit to only snap back in a few weeks into our old patterns?

I’m thinking we all know what a Teeter Totter is. There are certainly not many of them around anymore. Growing up, it was a staple on any playground. It was my favorite! I could Teeter Totter for hours. I did learn to only Teeter Totter with someone I trusted…not my older brother who would wait until I was all the way up in the air and suddenly jump off to watch me come crashing to the ground. Teeter Totters are all about one idea…balance. This is where the connection lies. Our bodies and brains are super-duper smart. We don’t have to tell our body to keep our heart beating 24 hours a day, breathe in and out, digest food, extract just the right nutrients and discard the rest; form a baby or sneeze when something harmful invades our nose. Our bodies and brains know what to do and when to do it without us lifting a finger to help. But, the one thing that our bodies and brains are always going to do is CREATE BALANCE. It’s all about the balance! Think about the body just keeping your head on straight. Have you ever held a bowling ball in one hand and held your arm up in the air to balance it? To keep the bowling ball level in your hand, your arm is going to shift around constantly. Same thing happens with our spines. If our lower back goes out, so does our neck to compensate and keep our head level. It’s a balancing act that our body is performing nonstop.

Everything in life is about balance. When we realize this truth…things start to make sense. As one area of our life is out of balance there will be some other corresponding area of life compensating. For example, maybe we lose control with a box of chocolates. We can’t have just one. If we open the box, we eat the whole thing! Where is this coming from? Why can’t we just enjoy one? Did you know that chocolate acts on the brain releasing the very same neurotransmitters as when you are in love. Does it stand to reason that the brain is compensating for the feelings of lack of love. If we are feeling starved for love, we could actually ‘fall in love’ with a box of chocolates. This is where it’s really ‘not wrong’. In fact, our body and brain is getting it ‘all right’. It is all part of the balancing act. One out-of-balance area of our life calls for another corresponding out-of-balance area to keep it all level…like a Tetter Totter.

Realizing that our brains and bodies are getting it right changes everything. Instead of beating ourselves up for what we perceive as failure and lack of will power to make that life change we desperately need; we can now examine that old habit we haven’t been able to conquer, differently. Take that old out-of-control habit and put it on the Tetter Totter. What’s on the other end that is balancing it. In other words, what is it Tettering Tottering with? Is it possible our need for cocktails every weekday after work is Tetter Tottering with the need to drown our dissatisfaction and unhappiness with we do for a living? Maybe the criticism and negativity that seems to bombard our minds about our partner is Teeter Tottering with the negativity and disappointment we feel about ourselves. Maybe that need for a pint of ice cream late at night is Tetter Tottering with the loneliness we feel with no one to share our life with. Maybe our procrastination around getting to in shape is Teeter Tottering with shame we feel about our bodies and all we really want to do is hide. Whatever it is…that thing you are trying to shake…I’m here to tell you, it is connected to something sitting on the other end of the Teeter Totter.

Understanding that everything is a balancing act helps us to deconstruct hard to change areas of our life. It gives us a deeper understanding as to what might be behind bad habits and destructive behaviors. It allows us to see both ends of the Teeter Totter…the behavior we want to change and the underlying issue that it is connected to. Understanding that our bodies and brains are doing what they are suppose to do…keeping everything in balance…helps us to shift away from being stuck.

Give it a try. Ask yourself, “What is that thing…that ONE THING I can’t seem to shake?” “What is it balancing with?” “What’s on the other end of the Teeter Totter?” Whether you do the work on your own or with a Certified Health Coach, make this your year…the year you kick that old habit to the curb for good!

Chelle Belle

Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach/Author


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