Once again the time has arrived; January, where we all make a list of resolutions or goals that we want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Some of these we will keep, some of these we will break in a matter of days.
While I have not polled my friends, based on many conversations and Facebook statuses, it seems a common theme of most resolutions seems to be diet and weight loss related. These are also the goals that are broken the quickest. In this battle of the waistline that I have fought for the last several years, I have learned many things. The most important of those lessons is that winning the war for your health is a mind game.
Practicing mindfulness in many areas of your life is a sure way to make improvements! When you have your mind in the right place, the weight loss and good health often seem to follow, so today, I’m offering fifteen suggestions (in no particular order) to make your New Year’s resolutions that don’t involve dieting, but will improve your health!
*Organize your schedule. Buy a real day planner. Color code your family and write it all down. Don’t allow yourself to over-schedule your time and let busyness consume you. Be mindful of your time and what you are doing with it. Take a few minutes each Sunday night to look at your week and adjust what you can to make your week as stress free as possible!
*Say “NO” more often. It’s definitely OK. We tell our kids no on a regular basis; now learn to say it for ourselves. Don’t add more to your plate than you can handle or you will find yourself gasping for air wondering where your days, weeks and months have disappeared. If you are already in charge of multiple projects, try delegating so that you aren’t in charge of every detail. Save your sanity and say no to more.
*Unplug after supper. If you are spending your evening answering email and text messaging, it’s time to step back. Leave your job in the office and savor your moments at home. Set a pretty table and linger to talk with your family longer after dinner, read a magazine, cuddle with your spouse; there are so many better ways to spend an evening at home. There have been numerous studies that say unplugging helps you calm down and even sleep better.
*Speaking of sleep, go to bed early. Our sleep is when our body and mind recover from the day. We need rest. You can always record that late night show to watch on the weekend or even catch it onDemand. Rest is so much more important than a show. Make your room a sanctuary from the world (no TV, etc… ), dress up your bed with fabulous sheets and covers, and dive in to rest at night!
*Take care of yourself. Seriously, if you don’t take care of yourself, who is going to do it for you? Enjoy downtime and don’t fret if you are not busy.
Go to the gym, take a walk, indulge in a hot bath, read a book, eat more fruits and veggies and less Chick Fil A, get a hair cut… Little things go a long way to taking care of yourself.
*Go Outside. Yep, take a walk around the neighborhood. Head off to a dog park and play with your furry child. Plant a flower garden. Visit a local state park and walk. Try following a couch to 5K plan. Stroll through a farmers market. Just get out more and sit less.
*Explore where you live. I know we all don’t have a Central Park, Williamsburg or Stone Mountain …. OK I live 15 minutes from Stone Mountain, but there are plenty of options for exploring. Visit a state park and walk the trails or rent a canoe for the afternoon on the lake. Investigate a little local history and walk or drive around looking for historical locations. Take a day or weekend trip with the family to a touristy destination in your state. There is a big ole world out there, and it begins in your backyard!
*Turn the TV off. Open your mind to reading, enjoying a new genre of music, visiting with your family, or even preparing a gourmet dinner every once in a while. With so much negative and trashy stuff on TV these days, turning it off only enriches your mind! Turning it off also adds a considerable amount of time to your day! Just so you know, I’m not saying never watch TV. We all need our Chip and Joanna fix, the excitement of a Georgia Bulldog football game, and to enjoy the cheese of the Hallmark channel regularly, but don’t let it consume you!
*Let go of toxic people. There is always that one person who is never at fault for the things they constantly complain about in their lives. The one who spends more time being jealous of you than being happy for you. The one who demands all the attention no matter the occasion and is mad at you when they don’t receive it. And the one who is always at the center of drama “yet never knows why.” I’m not saying never speak to them and to just drop them, but there are far better people to have in your circle of friends, I promise.
*Eat out less and cook more! Not only does this benefit your checkbook, you know exactly what you are eating! Who wants a ton of additives and artificial ingredients as well as other people’s DNA going into their food, when you can easily control every aspect of what your are dining on. You can meal prep on your off day or fix a little extra with supper the night before. And there is nothing wrong with a yummy sandwich on whole wheat bread and crisp veggies for lunch at work. You’ll feel better eating real food, and you might find yourself tightening your belt a little as well.
*Drink more water. Replacing common beverages like cokes, juices, and booze with water can have a significant impact on your health and wellness. Staying hydrated with water can also improve your physical appearance and keep you feeling full. When your body is dehydrated, you often think you are hungry, when you really aren’t. If you are bored with plain old water, dress it up with fresh fruit and a little mint!
* Find a new hobby. Learn a new lettering technique, to cook French cuisine, a new language, try weight lifting or barre, or paint and rearrange your own house. Extend yourself!
*Give back. There are days I feel so locked up in myself its hard to remember there are people who need us. Read to the elderly at a nursing home, become a mentor, volunteer in a soup kitchen, work an after-school program… this list goes on and on of ways you can help others. You will encourage someone else by giving back, and you will feel better not focused on just yourself.
*Forgive someone. This is not for them, but for yourself. Holding onto grudges or feuds has a negative impact on your health both mentally and even physically as stress and anxiety develops over the issues. Sometimes you just have to say I forgive you, apologize for whatever you may have done as well, and let it go. What the other person does with the forgiveness and apology is on them.
*Finally, practice gratitude each and every day. We all have bad days, but even on the worst of days, there are little things that are still good. Practicing gratitude improves your mood and attitude. Try to keep a list throughout the day (write it in that day planner you’ve invested in) so that you are focused on the good things in your life no matter how big or small.
Happy New Year my friends, and I wish you much success with your resolutions!!