Strategies for mind and body health
It’s hard to believe that the new year has come and gone and that we are already knee deep into January. Did you make any new year’s resolutions? A lot of people focus on personal growth at this time of year and make heroic efforts to instill good habits into their daily routines. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t able to make these changes stick past the first few weeks of the year. Consider these 10 tips to help you to achieve success in your life.
- Set goals - Before you can achieve your goals, you need to take some time to reflect on your goals for your life, family and career. What is really important to you? Dream big and picture your ideal life in vivid detail. Once you are clear on your goals, it will be a lot easier to figure out how to make your dreams come true.
- Schedule it - Make a plan for what you need to do to move toward your goals and schedule it. If you don’t schedule it, you will never find the time in your busy life to do the work. Put first things first and take a good look at how you are using your time. Take a good look at how you are using your time. Cut out those things which you don’t love and which aren’t serving you.
- Be mindful - Put your phone away and spend less time on social media. Taking time away from the parade of notifications will help to reduce stress and to give you space to relax. Try to establish a regular mindfulness practice. I really like using the Calm app. Take a break from Netflix and read a book!
- Move - Let’s be honest. Exercise isn’t just for trying to lose weight, it offers so many other benefits - such as boosting your energy, improving your mood, increasing your bone density and optimizing your blood pressure and blood sugar. Recognize these benefits and exercise for the right reasons. If you only exercise to fit into a smaller size then you may become discouraged when this doesn’t happen. If you have trouble with accountability, think about hiring a personal trainer or exercising with a friend. Pick an exercise/activity that you enjoy or you will hate it and you definitely will not stick with it.
- Sleep - Sleep - Never underestimate the importance of sleep. Sleep is critical time for the body to relax and repair itself. Getting adequate sleep is beneficial for optimal mental function, athletic performance, and it lowers your risk of many diseases - including diabetes, depression and stroke.
- Be gentle with yourself - Tomorrow is a new day. Look to the future, not the past. Don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes or fall short of your goals.
- Fuel your body - Eating right is the key to weight loss but it doesn’t have to involve depriving yourself. Eat to fuel your body and give it the nutrients that it needs. Think of food like medicine. Get rid of unhealthy processed foods that you find hard to resist. Don’t leave them on your kitchen counter and rely on willpower to curb your bad habit of mindless eating. Replace them with healthy treats that you love and stop eating before you are too full. This will help you in the long term.
- Write it down - Stay on track with your goals and celebrate your successes. Start every day with a quick 10-minute journalling session to focus your attention on the important goals and activities of the day and track your progress. Try adding in a quick journalling session every evening to reflect on the day. What went well? What didn’t go so well? How can you make tomorrow better? Don’t wait until Jan 1 to reflect on your life. Take stock of every week and every month and re-evaluate your goals to ensure that you are staying on track.
- Be grateful - People who express gratitude have been shown to have better physical and psychological health. Don’t let the small troubles in life get you down. No matter how bad your day may have been, you likely still have something to be grateful for. Take a moment to acknowledge that. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you will be happy when you find the right partner or get your dream job or make your first million. Being grateful for what you have today is what creates joy in your life.
- Play - It’s important to keep your eyes on the prize - but it’s equally important to take a break now and then. Don’t wait for your annual vacation to relax and explore. Schedule fun activities regularly. Visit a greenhouse. Have afternoon tea in your finest china teacup. Take a walk in the forest. Have lunch with a friend. Take a break from your taxes to cuddle with your dog.