Meditate, meditate, meditate. Eat healthier foods. Exercise. Practice patience. Love yourself. We’ve heard it a million times and we know we should, yet…
We are creatures of habit. Routine feels comfortable and safe even if it’s unhealthy. The New Year brings a slew of new promises and goals that we sometimes can’t sustain, though our intentions are good. One issue is that we tend to over commit instead of setting more personally achievable goals. For instance, a person who doesn’t like gyms and what they offer will join one with the idea that they need exercise and therefore will grow to like it. They usually don’t. Another person who dislikes diets chooses one anyway, only to experience personal misery, so they can’t stay with it. A person with a busy mind will try meditation, with the false idea that they need to think of nothing for up to half an hour a day, a nearly impossible task. It’s no surprise we don’t last. Another stumbling block is that we are professional self-critics who focus on our own lacks. We tell ourselves, “I should be this or that. When I change, I will be better. If only I could eat less, drink less, exercise more” and on we go. We compare ourselves to others and measure our worth by how we perform in life rather than who we are. How often do we celebrate our strengths and what we do well and use those truths as inspiration?
If the goal is to lose weight and eat healthier, why not start with a two-or-three-day-a-week food change? We can focus on cutting out a few foods we know create issues for us. For example, breads, sugar, pasta, butters, creams, processed snacks, etc. We can choose a few days a week to add vegetables, fresh fruit, lean meats in place of what we cut out and then see how we do. If we want to be more fit, why not take a walk, ride a bike, take yoga, jump rope, dance, hula hoop, run in place, or take the stairs instead of the elevator just three days a week to start? Meditate five minutes a day. We can listen to music, create a mental mantra like “I am at peace” while candle-gazing or watching a fish tank, the horizon of a setting or rising sun, listening to a guided meditation, or just focus on breathing. My husband Dylan began meditating for just six minutes, three days a week, building up to twelve minutes over a six-month period. According to bloodwork results, his cortisol levels (our body’s stress meter) dropped significantly, though his daily stress didn’t change.
Start with something manageable that you don’t dread and don’t forget to feel good about small accomplishments instead of berating yourself by thinking, “I should do more.” After you’ve stuck with it, you can choose to go further or stay where you are. If three days is too much, start with two, but be gentle with yourself and focus on what you’ve accomplished rather than what you haven’t. Mostly, love yourself and have an exceptional 2018.