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I Choose Joy

by Tansy Boggon

We can choose to place high expectations and stress on ourselves for an unknown outcome with no guarantees. Or we can choose joy. I choose joy.

[Note: this blog was written in February 2020. Although the message to myself and you is the same. Choose Joy!]

The book Joyful Eating is not only about how to feel content in our own skin and release the desire to lose weight, which does more to keep us trapped in guilt and shame than nourish and care for ourselves. It provides a way of seeing ourselves and evaluating our beliefs so that we can free ourselves of the incessant thoughts that we are not good enough until we achieve our goals or measure up to some arbitrary standard.

In the book, I share how must-achieve goals perpetuate dissatisfaction and discontentment.

Setting intentions for the New Year

This past week, I’ve been reflecting on some of the principles I share in Joyful Eating as I consider my aspirations for this year.

My life circumstances changed quite quickly before the end of last year, smack bang when my parents were visiting. I picked up some additional work, which was completely unexpected. It will be an interesting and eye-opening experience; however, not exactly in alignment with what I’d originally considered my priorities as 2019 was coming to a close.

Future thinking creates anxiety

As a consequence, I had to reconsider my priorities, which was causing me to feel anxious and overwhelmed. However, at that moment, there was no problem; I had sufficient work and was making a comfortable income.

I felt anxious and uncertain about my priorities because my mind was in the future. I was trying to determine what would be the best steps to get me to where I thought I wanted to go and how best to share Joyful Eating.

Yet, there are no guarantees

When I realised that it was my thoughts of the future that were influencing how I felt at that moment, I reminded myself to be here now. I reminded myself, as I do in Joyful Eating that there are no guarantees.

My actions today provide no guarantees for the future. So, what is the value in stressing out about whether I’m following the path to ‘who knows where’?

Stress was a choice

I also realised that my business aspirations for the year ahead were my own choice—nothing says that I have to do any of it!

I became aware that the stress and feeling of being overwhelmed were a choice I had made.

On remembering this, I felt a weight was lifted from my shoulders—I felt lighter and freer.

I choose joy

At that moment, I decided that this year, I choose joy. I decided that I’ll do additional work-related activities, not because I feel forced to or that I have to do them, but because I enjoy doing them.

I don’t know where my actions will lead me, but following joy has got to be a far more pleasant journey to the unknown than forcing and pressuring myself to achieve something that has no guarantees.

In this way, my approach to my business is similar to how we can approach adopting new healthy lifestyle behaviours. We can choose to place high expectation and stress on ourselves for an unknown outcome, with no guarantees. Or we can choose to do what feels good to us, physically, mentally and emotionally, moment by moment. Then, witness what unfolds as a result of the action we take.

Are you with me—do you choose joy?

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