Happy New Year SHL followers! Maybe you’ve made a resolution to lose your baby weight, gain some muscle, or to stop eating junk food…regardless of your New Year’s resolution – there’s five things you need to start doing differently this year to set you up for a GREAT year.
1. Let go
That’s right. And no, it’s not easy. Sometimes the best things we can do is forgive the negative things that have happened to us, let go of what no longer serves a purpose in our life and move forward. A glass of water is not difficult to hold up, but if you hold it up for too long you will become weak and it will be too difficult to hold it upright. Stress, negativity, things that weigh in your thoughts – don’t let these things be like the glass of water – learn how to put it down, errrr — learn how to let go. However you cut it, lose some “weight” from your shoulders this year, not just your body!
2. Become Curious
Remember when you were a kid and you had endless questions for your parents, teachers, siblings, and friends? Bring yourself back there! Curiousity is healthy! Question things, dare to learn something new every week (or daily!). This is called cognitive activity and it’s a great habit to make. Frequent cognitive activity has actually been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s Disease (a 42% reduced risk actually!). Plus, being curious can give you different perspectives on things you already know – and having a few perspectives on something means having more to chat about at your next dinner party!
3. Embrace challenges
This is going to be a hard sell – I know it. But I can promise you this – I have struggled, and I have groaned and complained through some periods of my life but it didn’t help. I vented and it may have provided temporary relief but the best thing I had ever done when a problem confronted me was face it – head on. Maybe the situation wasn’t fair, or things should have been different but they weren’t. And there was nothing I could do about it except complete the task at hand and learn from the situation. So next time life sends a huge wave your way, try and roll with it. See where it takes you and try to pull out the lesson. Sometimes we’re put in situations that teach us more in the future than they do in that moment – so don’t be too upset if the struggle doesn’t make sense just yet. Learning how to work through and stay positive about your challenges is going to be a golden lesson – especially if you’re like me and struggle with staying on track of your healthy eating habits. (But we’ll get there more in number 5!)
4. Take time for yourself
Be selfish. Just for a few moments every day. Sit with yourself and your thoughts and check in. Make sure you’re not putting others’ needs ahead of your own. It’s easy to let this one go but if you do daily check-ins with yourself you won’t have to “catch up” on missed “you time”. Taking care of yourself and giving yourself a few minutes here and there means that you can help manage some of your stress. You can remind yourself about things you love and who you are. Translation? Perhaps less grumpiness by the morning water cooler at work. Give it a shot and see how a few minutes of alone time can impact your life at work and home.
5. Focus on progress not perfection
I mentioned this a bit in number 3…I struggle with this and I’m going to try and follow it this year. I have struggled with attaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight for years. When I go off-track I don’t derail by one wheel or one train car – I derail the whole freakin’ train. Why? Because in my head it’s either perfection or I don’t do it at all. This is what I hear with so many of my friends, too! And it’s time to ditch the all-or-nothing idea to health because we have a whole lifetime to be healthy. If I eat unhealthy on Monday, why should I throw away the next week? What I do think though, is that the habit you’re trying to develop shouldn’t be skipped for two days in a row. Creating a habit can be difficult so if you’re going to skip the all-or-nothing approach (a not so hot approach anyway) then at least don’t skip that habit for two days in a row. I.e. if you’re trying to not eat junk food, don’t eat junk food two days in a row…try not to…! Progress can take months, even years, and often when we don’t see results in just a couple weeks we often become discouraged. But take it from someone who has struggled (and still struggles) with this concept – it’s time to change how we look at it – progress is important, not perfect. If you set your goal but are shy of reaching it – think of what might have been had you not tried to reach it. Progress is progress is progress. Remind yourself of the great work you’re doing and don’t lose hope.