We’re well into the New Year, and that means we have probably made resolutions and changes to diet and lifestyle. We all want to be healthier and happier, and this time of year represents a new start, a clean slate, which is encouraging.
So what have you been doing? Have you started using a personal trainer, or are preparing for that marathon, or began a new Paleo diet with home-cooked meals? These are all healthy, wonderful changes. But how much is too much? And can you stick to your resolutions?
The problem is after we sign up at a new gym, begin a new healthy diet, or supplement our to-do lists with social activities or volunteering to make us feel better, we can soon be overwhelmed. If you are pushing for too many changes at once, you could be setting yourself up for failure. As soon as life’s every day challenges come into play and January passes, you could find yourself reverting to old habits and feeling bad about your inability to follow through.
Instead of beating yourself up over failed resolutions, it’s time to take a different approach. Instead of focusing on everything you need to change and trying to do everything at once, it might be more helpful to take a bite-sized approach. It also helps to look back on the past year and see what helpful changes you have made in adopting a healthier lifestyle, and focus on your accomplishments to give you forward momentum.
Here are five different resolutions you can still make for this year:
Reflect on the past year.
Perspective is everything, and chances are, you’ve already made some healthy lifestyle changes that you aren’t considering. For instance, have you let go of a toxic relationship this past year? Have you become more involved in your community or volunteering? Have you begun cooking more meals at home rather than eating out? Make note of all the positive changes you’ve made in your life over the past year, and write them down. Reflect on where you were this time last year, and see how far you’ve come. Starting the New Year with a more positive outlook of what you are capable of can help you stick to your long-term healthy lifestyle goals.
Practice gratitude for where you are now.
Far too often, we focus on the negatives. Going into the New Year, why not try and cultivate gratitude for where you are right now? Sure, there are always changes we’d like to make, but what are some of the things you love about your life? Think about your daily activities and see what makes you happy. Practice more of that, whether it’s a morning yoga session or a taking a warm bath before bed. Gratitude helps shift our thinking from lack to abundance, a healthier mindset overall if you want to cultivate a healthier lifestyle.
Schedule monthly creative time.
Make a point to set aside a weekend morning or afternoon once a month to focus on something creative that has nothing to do with work or daily chores. Whether you go for a hike, journal, paint, meditate, or play music, do something that brings you joy and gives you a sense of peace and calm. Far too often, we get hung up on our daily to-do lists, and we forget to cultivate joy in our lives from simple acts of creativity and reflection. Schedule it in so you don’t forget!
Take a digital detox each month.
This seems simple, but many people are so addicted to their devices it seems almost impossible. Once a month, turn off your phone, take a walk, get outside. Pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read. Walk around some art galleries. The point is, get in touch with the real world around you.
Journaling is a crucial part of cultivating a healthy lifestyle. For one, it helps you express emotions that otherwise might build up inside of you – it’s a good release. Another benefit: it helps you process information and see how far you’ve come. By this time next year, you can look back on your journal entries and see your journey, the highs and lows, and feel proud of yourself for moving forward. It’s about the process, not the destination!