Happy New Year! Tis the season for tones of resolutions, big life goals, aspirations for change and plans for a better tomorrow. All of that is well and good, but as I am sure you are aware by the time February rolls around most of us have forgotten our resolutions, decided they were too much work or otherwise neglected to do much about them.
I think that there are a few reasons why New Years resolutions don’t ever get off the ground. Sometimes your goals are too large and lofty and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Sometime your goals are great but you lack the plan you need to accomplish them. Other times you make goals that you feel you “should” make – like a resolution to stop drinking alcohol – even though deep down you don’t really want to do it.
So today I would like to offer 5 simple “resolutions” to make this year that will add value to your life and at the same time will be easy to implement. All five of these little resolutions are also ripe with possibility of expansion once you have mastered the initial idea. Growth begets growth!
1. Make Simple Swaps Rather Than Overhauling Your Whole Diet
As a health and wellness coach I have heard so many people tell me that they “want to eat healthier.” This is an awesome sentiment as it shows that you love and care for your body and want to treat it well. This statement does leave a little to be desired in terms of setting an achievable goal however. What does “eating healthier” really mean? How can you quantify that? Because this statement is so vague it is often impossible to pin down the action steps you should take in order to achieve it. So instead I offer choosing one item in your diet that you know does not make you feel well – like those 2 or 3 cookies you tend to have after dinner, and swapping them out for something equally delicious that also makes you feel great like a square of dark raw chocolate with some almond butter and banana. Making simple swaps are easy, enjoyable and sustainable because you have a clear goal and a clear action plan.
2. Add Color Rather Than Eliminating Foods
Another thing I often hear is people telling me that they are going to cut all processed sugar out of their diet, or eliminate all caffeine cold turkey. This “all or nothing” approach certainly works for some, but for most they end up feeling deprived, depressed and desperate to get those old comfort foods back. So instead of putting yourself on that merry-go-round, this year resolve to add more colorful fruits and veggies to each one of your meals. Do not focus on eliminating things, but rather focus on adding in nourishing foods that you don’t generally eat, or that you don’t eat a lot of. This can look like adding a serving of fresh fruit salad or a green smoothie to your normal breakfast routine before you have your coffee or having a large salad with a yummy home made dressing before you eat your fries at dinner. Focus on how food makes you feel, and focus on filling up on the good stuff before you eat the not so great stuff. You may be amazed how your appetite changes, as well as your taste preferences. And I highly recommend not to tell yourself that you “can’t” eat something. Instead say “I can eat whatever I want, I am just choosing to eat nourishing foods first, then I can decide if I want something more.”
3. Schedule Fun Into Every Day
This may seem arbitrary and self indulgent but that could not be farther from the truth. Play time is battery recharge time. We all have busy lives that are pulling us in a million different directions, and for most of us the new year is not going to be less busy than the last one was. But you can make this year more joyful, more meaningful and richer by adding time where you intend to just have some fun. What doing this will do is help you decrease your stress levels, help you clear your head, help you become more creative and it will make you a better friend, partner, parent and family member. One cannot give from a cup that is empty. So fill your cup with things that bring you joy for at least 5 minutes each day and watch how it transforms your life.
This is my favorite little resolution. I think that everyone should go out right now and purchase a journal that is visually appealing to them, get some pretty pens and set aside 5-10 minutes each day to write. Write about what you are thinking about. Write about your hopes and dreams. Write about your disappointments. Write your goals. Write what you are eating. Taking the time to write each day helps you to become more self aware. It will help you identify your patterns, and that is a powerful tool for life change. Allow yourself time to sit and reflect, to indulge your thoughts and feelings. Journalling will help you process things and will help to bring more clarity to your life.
5. Schedule 5 Minutes A Day To Sit, Close Your Eyes And Breath
You do not have to have any formal meditation training or practice to sit and connect with your body and breath. There is no right or wrong way to do this. For me, taking 5 minutes each day to be in my body, to feel the weight of my sit bone on the floor, to notice the air as it passes through my nasal passages into my lungs and back out again has been one of the most transformative habits I have ever gotten into. You hold the key to your life. You have everything you need, right here right now. Sometimes you just need to slow down long enough to hear your own inner guidance. The new quote for this year should be “I really regret that time in meditation, said no one ever.”
What are your goals for the new year? How are you going to make them happen? I would love to hear from you!