Staying Light in the Winter | Katie Burke


There's something romantic about the way the fall undresses its colors into the whiteness of winter. The moments leading up to the holidays feel like the days leading up to your birthday. But as January sets it's gray, winter resolutionist style mindset, there's three things I constantly remind myself of in order to keep myself light in the winter.

1. Lightness Over Looks

I am the first person to be motivated by a vacation where I'll be in a bathing suit or a wedding where I want to wear a great dress. I love goals! The problem is those goals are surface value and short lived. My physical shred goals are nothing compared to setting "lightness goals" for myself. The winter is my time to focus on inner transformation as much as outer shred.

A daily motivation mantra I use before I make decisions is "will this make me feel lighter?" Yes, I can ask that before I choose the donut or the green drink for breakfast.... the green drink will physically make me feel lighter. The lightness I'm speaking of is a personal pride in making light life decisions. Choices like holding the door for someone, letting that person pass me on the freeway, choosing to be early instead of late for most things in life, to go to sleep instead of netflixing my way into insomnia, reading a book instead of jumping into my screens, the list goes on. When I'm proud of myself I'm lighter, and the ripple effect of my self respect is limitless. I am kinder with people because I've been good to myself.

2. Empathy Over Ego

If I'm really honest with myself, there are at least 10 days a month (having to do with my moon cycle) where I want the high waist lulu's that can seemingly lift up to my nipple line if I tried. It's so easy to get down on myself, getting lost in a sea of horrible, small minded, negative moments that manifest in my day to day as impatience. 

Then there's days of the month where the sports bra and shorts option is a real possibility. These are days when I walk taller, give more love, and feel good. What's critical to a light lifestyle for me is expressing empathy for where I am; whether it's a treadmill 12 mph day or a yin yoga reset day. 

One days beer belly doesn't negate the week of work I've put in, and being nice and easy with myself matters. I ask myself, if I were to put a tape recorder to my thoughts and played them back outloud, would I be proud to hear it played back? The empathy I show myself directly translates into empathy I'm capable of giving to others. 

3. Presence Over the Past

You can hear teachers and gurus say "presence is key" all day long, but staying fully present can feel like trying to sleep in the middle of Times Square. What presence means to me is doing your best to slow the world down. It's said that we hold 3-5 thoughts at one time in our head, an average of 60,000 thoughts a day. In a world where knowledge, food ordering, dictionaries, youtube videos, EVERYTHING is in the palm of our hand, I know my head fits 5 at a time.

Our job as kind, present people is to slow the bad thoughts and keep the good. If one of the 5 thoughts is the thought "breathe" instead of "go faster, move out of my way" for example, then your world becomes a less reactive head space to live in. 

It's believed that 1/3 of our thoughts are stuck in memories of the past and 1/3 stuck in fantasizing about futuristic things that haven't happened yet. So 2/3 of our thoughts are spent in memory or fantasy, leaving the average person spending only 1/3 of our time with what's real, what's right in front of us. To stay light headed in the winter, I focus not on where I've come from, what my physical body used to feel like or look like, not how much money I used to make, or the boyfriend I used to have. Instead, my focus is on the present over the past. What I am lucky enough to have right now, to work with right now. 

When I'm present with what's right in front of me, I remember, with a quiet grateful heart, that who I am right now was once a goal I had set for myself. 

Katie Burke is an amazing motivator and fitness professional in San Diego. She is leading the SYB Belize Adventure June 30 - July 5, 2017