(A shorter version of this article was published in Green Living AZ Magazine, January 2017. Visit www.greenlivingaz.com to order your subscription!)
Everyone is busy being busy year round. However January 1st seems to trigger a knee jerk reaction to stop for a few and put pen to paper. Most of us end up listing the same goals from last year. From a health standpoint, it’s no surprise the gyms are packed in January. The automatic charges for gym and weight loss memberships start leaving a pang of buyer’s remorse by springtime, assuming we dare scrutinize our credit card bills. Getting excited about a fresh start is a great thing. But how do we stay excited and motivated long enough to write a fresh new list next year?
January 1st makes sense for financial goals but when it comes to health: body, mind and spirit, make it personal. Here’s a suggestion: Use your birthday to re-evaluate, re-define and re-create a new and better you. Why? Using this strategy can make it a personal feat and accomplishment rather than a seasonal trend-following task. I’ve seen people, including myself, subconsciously slip into Resolution Burnout with everyone else by February. Did we overschedule? Did we set our expectations too high? We easily get charged up by surrounding hype, mass media and peer chit chat around New Year’s Day. It fires up your motivation. And then, along with the bandwagon, we find ourselves saying…… ”What list??”
New YOU Resolutions……..The Strategy.
Start by listing the Top 3 to 5 areas you want to improve. Post it in at least two locations where it is seen at least twice per day, such as your bathroom mirror, door to your garage. Read it out loud. Don’t just look at it! This will program your brain to commit to lasting improvements. If you really want to move forward this time around, here’s some ways to avoid Resolution Burnout and set the stage for a success!
- Set goals when you have a clear mind. Create some undisturbed space and time to list them. Most of us multitask our way through goal setting, like a fleeting idea while driving the kids to soccer practice. Can’t focus? Reasons for brain fog and focus issues usually go beyond overscheduling and overdoing habits. These may include neurotransmitter imbalance, leaky gut, leaky blood-brain barrier or an autoimmune condition. Don’t be alarmed! A functional evaluation which addresses neurology, biochemistry and integrity of nerve pathways through your spine may be warranted.
- Keep it Flowing. Movement is life. A stagnant, unhealthy digestive system lowers your immune system and can also affect brain function. Waking up to a cup hot water infused with lemon or ginger (or straight up water) before that cup of coffee, can help facilitate a bowel movement within minutes. Chronic digestive issues, fatigue or other concerning symptoms should be addressed by a qualified physician. Acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal therapy are effective for achieving healthy bowel function and restoring vitality. And of course, exercise is crucial for many functions, including brain oxygenation. It stimulates creativity and helps clear the mind of negative thoughts. (More simple recipes for bowel health coming soon in the e-guide!)
- Are you catching your breath? Or taking a breath? When we focus on everything but ourselves, we don’t tend to breathe properly. This leads to tight, painful necks, headaches and potential adrenal burnout. Our stress handling capability goes down the tubes and drags our health with it. Practice a few cycles of deep slow inhalations and exhalations throughout the day. Make sure your belly expands with each breath, not your chest. This improves mental clarity and digestion and calms you down to a rational state.
- Express Gratitude. Each day is a gift. So honoring it with a moment of gratitude for at least one thing in your life daily sets the stage for attracting more abundance to you.
- Simplify. This may just be one of your resolutions so why not activate it now and keep these goals simple?
- Giving is getting. One way to create balance is volunteering in your community. It can boost your “feel good” hormones.
- Believe you can do this! Set your goals with certainty. Own them and your intentions! If you are uncertain about your ability to reach the finish line or you’re not sure how to get there, consider a coach to hold you accountable. Investing in services of a holistic, licensed practitioner or doctor who combines life coaching with therapeutic intervention will leverage your investment of time and money.
Don’t Look Back… Well, I say DO look back! Evaluating what did and didn’t work in the past helps identify your areas in which to focus.
Whenever your new year begins, use it as an opportunity to step back look at your life and how you are living it, without judgement or self-criticism.
The desire to continually grow and develop is a foundation for internal happiness and healthy relationships. Celebrate your accomplishments and take on these challenges with a healthier approach. This can be the greatest gift to you and your loved ones. For each year that passes, the time we have left becomes even more precious and mortality becomes a fierce reality check. I always encourage patients to look at the long term picture. How do you want to live 10 years from now? How about 20 years from now? Everything you do, eat and think now will have an impact on your quality of life down the road.
Oh, and if you were born during the holiday season, it’s challenging but try to take some time off from all hype and festivities to do this. It’s still about you!
Need personalized guidance on meeting your goals? Click HERE to send a question my way! Let me know the area of your life/health you are concerned about. Signing up for my newsletter qualifies you for a free 15min phone consultation.
Specific recommendations and “Step by Step” guide on Clearing the Brain Fog is coming soon! If you are subscribed to my blog/newsletters you will receive the announcement directly.
Brain-Gut Series: Forgetfulness, Anxiety, Overwhelm
Proper Breathing for Clear Thinking
Fear of Change