As I sit and write, I am taking in all that has happened during 2013, and feeling so blessed and grateful to God for all the ups and downs my family has experienced. No doubt, you will be bombarded with the challenge to develop your own “new year’s resolutions”. I like to actually think of these as “goals” rather than “resolves” for myself. In fact, writing them as goals allows you to morph them as they may need to be morphed, and allows you the room to experience success and not regret.
Here are my top 5 tips for making a fresh start in 2014. You may find room for a goal or two after reading them! :
1) Give gratitude in every situation.
The physical power of gratefulness is healing to our bodies and souls. It is actually shown to repair damage to our bodies physically and emotionally. We all fall privy to the “cup is half empty than half full” way-of-thinking. We need to CHOOSE gratefulness, it doesn’t come naturally. When I am up against a tough situation, I like to think of the situation in a different light than my mind automatically does. For example, I force myself to look at my daughters’ chronic battle with diabetes as her life “nugget” that will grow in her strength and courage and also allow her opportunities to help others throughout her life. Because of her diabetes, she is able to have empathy for others with medical struggles. It is not easy, this way of thinking….and of course I fail at times, but I try to bring myself back into focus so I can move my mind to more positive thinking and bring her into a place of health and not regret. So, take a minute to breathe in positive thinking in difficult situations and feel the benefits flow swiftly into your mind and your body.
2) Breathe more, fret less:
At my nutrition school – Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Dr. Andrew Weil delivered a lecture where he said, if I teach you anything of value over this hour and a half, I want to teach you how to breathe. This will change your life for the better. He proceeded to teach us how to breathe for healing, especially while in a tough situation or just feeling overwhelmed by life. Here is what he taught us:
You are to breathe in for a 5 count, hold the inhale for a count of 7 then exhale slowly over a count of 8. Do this over several repetitions, then breathe normally for a few seconds and start again. Do this 1 to 2 times a day to begin working up to 2 times every day.
This brings your body into better rhythm and focus so you can make less impulsive decisions. It really is healing, and the more you practice this, the more automatic this practice will become.
3) Drink More Water and add fresh lemon!
You have all heard that our body is made up of 70% water, so it makes sense that we need to drink A LOT of it….actually the minimum amount should be half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 140 lbs, you would need to drink 70 ounces a day. AND if you are at all physically active, you should increase your intake from there. I need at least 20 more ounces daily due to running every day. Also, keep in mind, it is best to drink water 20 mins before eating a meal or snack, and try not drink with your meals. This is because by drinking water before we eat, we rev up the digestive system, allowing for proper digestion. If we drink with our meal, we actually dilute the enzymes ability to digest our food. The best way to start the day is with a warm cup of water with a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice 20 mins before you eat.
4) Do something fun for yourself every day!
The healing in this goes without saying….we tend to get into the routine of just getting through our day and getting things done on our “To do” list. We really need to make at least 15 mins in the day to appreciate our bodies for what they help us get done in the day….maybe it is 15 mins of yoga poses, 15 mins of meditation, 15 mins of TV or painting toe nails, or massage, reading a good book, the list goes on… whatever it is, write it down at the beginning of the day and schedule time for it….Be faithful in doing this! When we take care of ourselves, we are much better equipped to do for others….which brings me to the last tip:
5) Do something for someone else everyday!
Go out of your way to do something unexpected for someone in your day to day….this is actually more healing to us, than to the other person. It doesn’t need to be anything big or expensive, and doesn’t even need to be recognized by the other person. It is still healing when done in secrecy! The prime example is paying for someone’s coffee in the car behind you at the Starbucks drive-thru. I think of even simple tasks like cleaning up my daughter’s craft area, or saying a specific prayer for a friend, or helping out in your child’s class at school, or making that cookie recipe that you know your friend loves!
Remember to give yourself some room to morph:
One of the most profound things that I have learned this year is that unfulfilled expectations that we put on our selves are just as damaging to us as unfulfilled expectations that we put on others. Another way of saying this is that our internal thoughts towards ourselves can hurt us just as much or more than negative external thoughts from others. Remember to give yourself some room to learn from mistakes and move on, maybe changing your goals to fit your circumstances. Whatever your goals, make sure you have some to work towards this year, as that ensures positive thinking and efforts for the new year.
Wishing you many blessings throughout 2014 and feel free to comment below on what your goals will be for 2014!