The New Year brings with it the strong desire for change. No other time of year are we more determined to improve something in our lives. The gym floods with determined bodies, the fad diets begin, and the self improvement courses fill up. The problem with new year’s resolutions is that we almost set ourselves up for failure right out of the gate. Rather than making huge changes this year, why not try adapting a few small and simple achievable changes to our lifestyles that will ultimately lead us to our goal?
Wean Bad Habits
Smoking is a perfect example of a habit that can be defeated. Ideally, the American Cancer Society recommends having a plan for a “quit day” where you quit entirely. While this is best, if the idea of quitting entirely is unfathomable, try smoking less. Make a plan to no longer smoke in your house or in your car. If you are an enabler or people pleaser, start saying no sometimes.
Achievable Exercise Goals
If you would like to make exercise a part of your daily or weekly routine but rarely exercise, perhaps your goal should be to go for a long walk once a week rather than planning your first Ironman triathalon. Test the waters before committing to an exercise regime that does not work for you. If you have always wanted to give yoga a try, look for a beginner class that offers drop in rates before signing up for the full course. Be sure it is something you enjoy doing and can remain committed to.
Don’t buy into the quick fix weight loss achieved through a water or metabolism pill. This is not the healthy approach. Do begin slowly replacing the unhealthy foods one by one. If candy is your weakness, try eating candy only once a week. On the days you would normally eat something sweet, replace it with your favorite fruit. If chips are your achilles, replace them with a more nutritive snack like popcorn or pistachios. If you love soda, try (as with candy) drinking it only once a week. Enjoy the foods you like, but the key is always moderation.
Create a simple and healthy routine when preparing food for work. Keep plenty of dried fruit and/or nuts in your work bag. Cook your work food for the week. Make a healthy soup or a fruity and nutty salad.
A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. One is unbalanced without the other. It is unhealthy thinking that often leads to overindulging or poor habits. Be mindful of your thinking. Pay attention to the internal voice. When the negative begins to creep in, replace it with something more positive. Find happiness in who you are right now, not tomorrow. If you have your health, wake up every day thankful for your health. If you have a home and plenty of food, wake up and remember how fortunate you are. Let self doubt, fear, jealousy, resentment be replaced with strength, courage, and forgiveness.
The downfall of many resolutions is that we sometimes set unachievable goals for ourselves. We approach our goals with an all or nothing attitude and are disappointed when we fall off the wagon. Isn’t it better to make a few small lifestyle changes that we can follow through with? Best of luck and Happy New Year Mighty Nurses!!
Lori is a travel nurse that has made her way to Sweden. She is also a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher. Follow her adventures working and traveling through Europe in her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.