One of the things I like best about the end of the year, is the prospect of a new one around the corner. I’m always eager to start fresh! But over the years, I’ve discovered that I’m much more likely to make good on my New Year’s Resolutions, if I take the time to ask myself two questions first:
“What worked really well for me this past year? What do I want to repeat or continue?”
Maybe there was a healthy habit I successfully launched and stuck to, or an unhealthy one I managed to let go. Maybe there was a perspective I took that helped in a difficult situation. Maybe I found a product I loved that made it that much easier for me to take care of myself or my family. I make a quick list, celebrating my successes and noticing what I’m excited about doing more.
“What didn’t work well for me? What got in my way, or didn’t help me the way I thought it would?”
This can be harder to face, but it’s a crucial piece of the process. If I’m not clear on what didn’t work, I’m so much more likely to fall into the same traps again. Maybe I tried a new habit that didn’t stick, or fell back into an unhelpful habit. Maybe I thought a methodology or program would have a particular impact on me, and it didn’t. Maybe I found it a lot harder to change my mindset about a particular issue than I expected. I make a quick list, without blaming myself for anything that didn’t go as planned. I’m human, after all!
Once I’ve pondered those questions, I’m ready to look ahead to that tantalizingly fresh new year. I’ve come up with five ways to set myself up for a happy and healthy new year. Try them yourself, and see what you think!
#1: Give your body a chance to start fresh.
After all the delicious treats of the holidays, it’s so helpful to give your body a reset. It doesn’t have to be long, or complicated, or brutal - just a few days of eating well can make a big difference in how you feel. And I don’t just mean physically (though that’s huge!). Our guts have a big influence on our moods, so when you take steps to clean up your diet, you’ll see a change in your emotional well-being, too. Here’s more on the five-day reset I’ll be doing myself.
#2: Start or recommit to your meditation practice.
Being in silence for just a few minutes each day is a great way to keep yourself grounded, centered, and clear on what’s most important. Even if it’s just three breaths while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew or the tea to steep first thing in the morning, it can make a difference in how the rest of the day unfolds. Here’s more on how to get started.
#3: Make a pact with yourself to try new ingredients or recipes.
When you’re facing the prospect of another week of the same meals you’ve made a hundred times, hours (or minutes) before heading to the grocery store, it can be overwhelming to try to find something new. Instead, make a pact with yourself to go looking for inspiration on a regular basis. Maybe you commit to one new recipe a week, or one a month; or you pick an ingredient and riff on it for a few weeks. Make a personal ritual out of looking for those recipes, and plotting out when you’ll try them. See if you can push your own limits of what you think you can make, and what your family will like. You’ll probably end up with some recipes you never want to try again - but you’ll also end up with some true gems.
#4: Support your body with supplements that are potent, effective and pure.
We’re all only human, and humans need all kinds of nutrients to keep us going. Even if you buy organic and cook for yourself, it’s tough to get everything you need from food alone. But there are lots of supplements out there, and it can be hard to tell which are actually going to help, which aren’t going to do anything, and which might be harmful. What you’re looking for is a reliable source of high-quality, bio-available nutrients that will do what they say they’ll do on the package. When you find that, you’ve got a source of support for your physical well-being that you just can’t get from anything else. Here’s more on the supplements I take myself.
#5: Choose at least one thing to say “no” to.
It’s so much easier to add things to your plate, than to be real about taking something off! Now that you’ve taken the time to get clear on what isn’t serving you, make space for what you want more of in your life by saying no to something that isn’t. Is there a group or organization you’re a part of that’s draining you? Or a tradition you’ve upheld that has lost its meaning? Pick something you’re going to stop giving your energy to, and make a clean break.
Take a few minutes to answer the two questions at the beginning of this blog post. Then, look at the five ideas again. Which are appealing to you, or spark another idea? Tell me in the comments below!