With the new year, most of us planned (or dwelled on) all
the things we want to “give up” in order to get the body we want- dessert,
alcohol, carbs, late night snacking, etc.
How many of us thought about our
behaviors, relationships, and attachments, rather than drastic diet changes to
get happy and healthy? If looking better and feeling happier are part of your
goals, consider the non- diet and exercise aspects in getting there. Happy
stress free people make good decisions.
Here are some resolutions, which I consider to be very
reasonable, enjoyable even (not scary like giving up chocolate!). In fact, how about we add more of something instead of less.
1. Read more. Now,
while reading tons of articles and blurbs online ultimately makes you wiser,
I’m talking about a more therapeutic version of reading—real books (or
readers)! It could be an informational book, a memoir, or better yet, a novel--
do not underestimate the benefits of tapping into your imagination and getting
lost in a made up story. The idea is to connect to one subject or text rather
than a sea of clicking on links. This is more calming and focused than surfing
the web. Even as little as five pages each day will give you some fundamental
2. Give more. Volunteering
your time is a great way to do this, especially if you’re tight on money. Think
about who you enjoy being around- animals, children, elderly, special events-
and combine that with your strengths or availability. If you’re available
during afternoons, you could tutor at an elementary school. If you never know
when you’ll have some spare time, become a volunteer to socialize animals at
the local shelter where you can drop in. The time commitment may seem overwhelming
at first so treat it like a real part of your schedule. The rewarding feeling
3. Cook at home more. I
will say that I truly love to wine & dine, but I appreciate it more if I
have worked hard all week to feed myself healthily, budgeting my funds and
avoiding add-ons to every meal like drinks and dessert! Buying and cooking
large batches of everything and having leftovers available is a good way to
avoid the urge or need to dine out or stop on the way home to get food. You
also won’t want all your groceries to go to waste!
4. Sympathize more.
This will help you to get angry less. Technically, you allow the anger but you
choose to not react. Of course there will always be frustrating
and unfair people or situations but how you react is your choice. Think of one
reason in every situation as to why that
may have understandably happened. This always helps me leave the situation
peacefully. For example, what if that driver who cut you off is someone’s
grandma, you wouldn’t want someone to flip off your grandma if she made a
mistake! Sure, it could have been a jerk who always drives like a maniac but
you don’t know that. Give people the benefit of the doubt, assume they’re
trying their best even if it doesn’t show. For your own sanity if nothing else!
5. Call friends and family more. Yes, on the phone, not just a text message! Where would you be
without those people? Relationships feel more meaningful when you are up to
date on each other’s lives. Make that blue tooth your best friend- make use of traffic or road tripping time and catch up with someone.
Going for a walk while talking is a double whammy (see #9).
6. Forgive yourself more. Have
you ever eaten two slices of cake and told yourself you will definitely start a
juice cleanse on Monday morning, only to realize you are hungry for breakfast
Monday morning and no thank you juice cleanse…? Stop making drastic promises!
You are setting yourself up for failure and habitually doing this is a vicious
cycle. Sometimes I’ll dwell on what seemed like an awkward social interaction I
had with someone. Look, its all said and done, just bounce back and move on!
7. Separate from your phone more. I am so guilty of checking email as I’m walking down the street, as
if walking were just too simple a task. Take in the fresh air and your
surroundings instead of looking down at that little screen all the time. (Did
you hear about the girl who fell into a manhole while texting?!). Leave your
phone away from you when you are involved in a task such as dinner at a restaurant,
in a meeting or class, or – god forbid- sleeping!
8. Be early more. Being
habitually late is not a good quality to have. It reflects several other
unbecoming qualities- lack of self discipline, organization, and even common
sense. Resolve to set your alarm 8 minutes earlier or set your clocks ahead.
Think about how good it will feel to comfortably arrive places with enough time
to settle in.
9. Go outside more.
Last winter, while feeling a bit restless, I went to a psychic and, while she
may have been mostly bogus, she told me that it was my assignment for the next
3 days to walk on the beach with my bare feet in the sand for an hour. The
chilly weather had me holing up inside and thinking lots of negative thoughts.
So I bundled up and realized I could get warm if I just got moving!
The fresh ocean air and gentle exercise was just what I needed. Maybe she could see the future.
10. Waste less! I heard
a phrase, “green your habits,” while watching this video
about an app that can help you to do so. Doing your part for the environment
can give you great purpose when you commit to it. Always keep reusable bags in
the car in case you decide to stop at the store on your way home, turn off the
water while you brush your teeth, and hey, the less processed foods you eat,
the less in your trash!
Sometimes the only thing standing between you and your best
health is your priorities. Resolve to take care of your emotional and spiritual
self. Happy people tend to have no battles in their diet. They listen to what
their bodies tell them about what and how much they need. Maybe you will drop
some pounds or maybe you will realize that you’re beautiful just the way you
are. Start from within.