Reconsider the New Year’s Resolution

I think everyone should ditch the old way of doing New Year’s Resolutions. I think you should instead incorporate a monthly ‘promise’.

Here is how it would work: Each month you have a promise. It can be anything you want…walk the dog more, exercise 3 times per week, go meatless during the week, start meditation, eat or drink less of something, etc. Any change you feel your life needs. And I wouldn’t even plot out each month in advance, just make a list of changes you want to see for yourself. Before each month starts, pick a promise and write out realistically how you can incorporate it during the month. You are only promising to do what you picked for that one month. Towards the end of the month note what worked and what didn’t and decide if it’s something worth keeping in your life. If it is something that worked, then keep it, tweak it and decide how it works going forward. If it didn’t work, ditch it or even come up with a different promise for the list, especially if it was a change you really wanted. The idea is that you set these goals in smaller bite sized pieces and in a short time frame that has a very visible end. There are twelve months in the year and plenty of time to start new habits. I have even ‘revisited’ one month’s plan later in the year with a new plan for that same promise as I too have my struggles. But I wouldn’t do it two months in a row unless you think that is how you operate best.

Each month you do repeat the process. Pick a promise, make a plan and you have that one month to execute it. Each month is a fresh slate, each month can be the determining factor for what you pick off your list. If a months’ promise worked, then leave it as a regular part of your life. If not, pat yourself on the back for making the attempt or trying something new. The idea is that you have these experiences and they are more pleasant and rewarding.

Happiest and Healthiest New Year to you!

 

There will be setbacks

Life is all about the hills and valleys. Not the pretty straight line we want it to be. Fitness is the perfect example of this. We will spend the last two months of this year steeped in caloric food, holiday drinking and plenty of interruptions to our fitness routine. It takes a strong, strong soul to keep it on track and sidestep the merriment of the season. And honestly that’s not fair, please do enjoy it. But do so in moderation and then more importantly, don’t beat yourself up over it. The ability to roll with the punches is the key to long term success. I often hear how one night of indulgence has ruined so much. But if it’s one night, it’s going to be OK. If that one night made way for nights 2, 3, and 4, only then do you have a problem. So the next time you have a party in the schedule, make your plan to enjoy it. But don’t let that sidestep off your routine be the thing that ends your routine. So I leave you with another favorite quote:

Motivation quote: "Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat." - GnomeAngel.com

Cold Weather Fun

Now that the weather has turned cold, staying inside sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately sitting on the couch and binge watching Netflix is not the healthiest choice. My husband and I started using Sunday to explore healthy new recipes for our food prep day. We found a couple great cookbooks that we are loving. We both eat plant based diets and like most people we eat the same meals over and over. The idea is to pull out the cookbooks, pick a couple recipes each and open our options. We make our grocery list, hit the store and prep our meals. There have been some hits and sadly some misses, but we are enjoying learning what other great food items we now love.

If you are into plant based living the cookbooks we love are Thug Kitchen, Eating the Alkaline Way and Meatless. I also have a couple Paleo cookbooks that we pull meatless recipes from as well. The internet is also a great place for recipes and we have tried and loved many from www.mindbodygreen.com.

It’s a great way to hang out and chat, taste new food options and our week is always set up for success.

 Thug Kitchen Eating the alkaline way mealtess

 

More Joy Please

There is quite a bit of information out there on the power of positive thinking. There are so many books, articles, programs and workshops on positive thinking and its amazing benefits that you would think we would have daily public hugs parties. But we do not…so I have two questions. Why do we need so much help being a positive person and why does there seem to be so many negative people? If it’s so great and powerful, why are we not all happy positive people? We all experience hardships and pitfalls in life and some people still find that silver lining and others fester and stew in it. I myself prefer the happy outlook but it’s such a battle at times.

I spent the entire weekend in Yoga Teacher Training learning about Chakras and Meditation. Our instructor Michael Hibberts was fantastic with his peaceful and very Zen persona. We had some great discussions about finding peace amongst the chaos. He mentioned a study of brain receptors for negative thinking/thoughts/actions/information being 4x wider than positive receptors. Wow, how is that for insight on why it’s so easy to get down when around so much negativity? Being a science major, I had to start reading more about this. As I said, I found plenty of articles on the power of positive thinking but had to really dig deep to find information and articles on the science of both negative and positive. Once I got in there, there are plenty of studies and articles supporting what Michael Hibberts mentioned. They even go on to say that negativity is addictive or contagious. Direct quote from Physiology Today article and scientist Rich Hanson describing this as “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones” (link to article). That means we really need to try hard to stay positive and doesn’t take much to feel negative. They go on to say that some people are naturally wired to be more positive and some more negative. I understand this as I think about my friends and family and their natural reactions to events or situations.

So how does this play into our own happiness? For me…this is what I think I need to do to ensure the positive energy stays stronger than the negative. I need my tribe. A group of friends and/or family members who are positive and happy and create more positive experiences than negative. I keep the negative people to the perimeter. This is a tricky subject because I am not saying get rid of friends or distance yourself from family. I am saying if there are negative people in your life and you wish for more positive energy you need to make choices about who you spend the majority of your time with. When topics turn to negative subjects turn them back to positive or even ask that everyone consider more positive subjects. But ultimately who you spend time with will determine your level of positive or negative feelings. The next step I need in place is less television. The news is so negative that after watching even a few minutes I am sad and stressed. They report on so much hate and violence that I begin to feel depressed about the world around me. I need less of this and therefore keep television to a bare minimum, including the news or especially the news. When bigger news stories are out there you will see or hear of them. I also use that time to research what is going on and often find that I am very well informed without watching the local news programs. So this is not shutting me off from the world, just shutting off the negative noise. Another item I need in my life is gratitude. I need to acknowledge the parts of my life that are great. I have things that I would like better but I focus on what is great instead. This takes practice and daily efforts. But when you do this, you really do feel better.

Even though I am referring to what I need to make me feel more positive I believe that I am not alone. I think we all want more joy but it’s not going to happen on its own. It’s going to take a concerted effort to ensure that happens. So now I understand why there is so much information on the power positive thinking. And I am grateful for all the help.