Hello dear readers, and blessings of the New Year ahead of us! Despite my best intentions, I found the end of 2021 quite exhausting, and though I spent a wonderful holiday with my family, I felt great need to take a step back from my business duties and practice a bit of self-care. I hope the holidays treated you with joy, and you were surrounded by much love and peace.
As we head into this new year, I am feeling very aware of the emotional impact the last few years has brought us during pandemic, and I take that into consideration as I write my New Years post. In the past, my excitement for a fresh new beginning was very evident in my writings, and I wrote of setting goals and making changes with nothing but inspiration and motivation in hopes that most would be feeling the same way. I realize, after speaking with friends, family, and clients, that for many, excitement for the new year has diminished to simple hopes, a sense of uncertainty, and a bit of exhaustion.
Usually, at this time of year, I encourage people to find a word to be their defining start to the new year. In recent years I have focused on yearly words like “boundaries”, “balance”, and “mindfulness”. I would choose a word to set my intention for the year, and work towards that one word as needed in all aspects of my life. (My word, when heading into 2020 was “balance”, it may have saved me, or perhaps, just simply been an impossible word!)
Although I absolutely believe in my “word of the year” philosophy, and I encourage you to give it a try, I decided to encourage another line of thought as we head into this new year. That thought is-take charge of the things you CAN control, and secondly, simply focus on finding some joy!
In this time of constant change and uncertainty, we absolutely hold the capacity to control some of the most important aspects of our being. We have the power to control how we nourish our bodies, how we tend to our physical well-being, how we manage the stress.that is placed upon us daily, and the control of our spirit-creatively, passionately, and mindfully. In the general busyness of life, it is easy to lose sight of the ability to control these things, and in turn, we ultimately pay the price with feeling and being unwell, feeling fatigued, and losing interest in the things that can bring us joy and contentment.
I encourage you to put routines ahead of resolutions this year. Creating routines in life builds habits and allows us to ease into making time for the things that bring us joy. Take a moment and consider these questions:
~What routines could you create in your daily or weekly life that would help you achieve the life you desire?
~What routines can you create that will lead you to find the health and wellness you desire? ~When approaching this new year, who do you want to surround yourself with to ensure feelings of happiness and love?
~And, lastly, what things do you want to add to your life to bring yourself joy, and how can you create a routine that brings those things into your life enough to FEEL that joy?
Taking some time to consider these questions, instead of making some huge, blanket, lofty resolution of change, can help provide some clarity, and clarity is what helps us see where/who we are, and where/who we wish to be. Once we have clarity, it’s only a matter of planning and taking the SMALL steps that can ultimately lead us to making BIG changes in our lives over time.
When exploring the prospect of finding the life you desire, consider journaling your ideas, plans and thoughts as we start this new year. In 2018, I began journaling regularly in hopes of discovering who I was going to “be” after 22 years of devoting myself to homeschooling four children. Journaling led to sketching, which led to painting, and I began to tap into the artistic and creative side of myself that had been completely focused towards educating my family for so many years. It brought me a sense of renewed joy that I had long forgotten.
If health and wellness is a focus of your upcoming year, be sure to set SMART goals for yourself. Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals. These are small goals with reasonable objectives that can be reached without frustration or pressure, which makes them easier to achieve with many small successes along the way. Instead of making a resolution to say, lose 20 pounds or eat a cleaner diet, a SMART goal would focus on cutting out sodas or sweets, or perhaps planning your meals out for better nutrition. Adding to these small goals as you move with success will lead you to your bigger goals. It’s the small steps, one by one, that provide us with the motivation and inspiration to continue our journey towards the big changes! As you plan your small steps, create a routine to ensure that they become a part of your daily life-a HABIT! Building upon these small routines (habits) as you go will create a pathway to success.
When planning out your goals, be sure to know your ultimate WHY. Knowing your WHY will always bring you back to the inspiration you need when things seem tough. The WHY is the thing that keeps us focused as we complete the small steps along the way and is the main purpose of achieving our ultimate goals. Deciding to run a 5K is a great goal-but WHY do you want to accomplish it? How will it make you feel? How will it lead to positive changes in your life? Losing 25 pounds can better your health, get you into clothes that you love, and make you happier with the scale-but the WHY may be more important; perhaps you want more energy, perhaps it’s needed for better health, or maybe it’s because you want to feel more confident about doing activities you enjoy. Every goal has a true WHY. Be sure to find yours, write it down, keep it visible, make it a part of each day. Use that WHY to plan the SMART steps and routines you need to hit those small goals, and each small success will bring you closer to your ultimate goals.
If nutrition plays a part in your goals, be sure to start small. Cutting out ALL the foods you love only sets you up for failure. Some examples of small steps that can lead you to success would be cleaning processed snack foods out of your pantry, buying and preparing more fresh vegetables, replacing sugar drinks with water, learning more about basic nutrition, setting up a pattern of meal prep and planning or removing sugar from your diet. Pick one goal to work on each week, creating a routine, and adding another goal and routine as you find your success each week. A routine could be adding a new fruit or vegetable to your diet each time your grocery shop or making sure you start each day with a glass of water. Add to these as you go.
If adding more movement to your life is a goal, follow the same idea. First, find something you enjoy! If you hate to run, don’t pick running. If you have no access to a pool, don’t pick swimming. (seems crazy-but I’ve literally had clients do this!) If you enjoy dancing, try a dancing workout. If you haven’t worked out in forever, and have no idea where to start, try a little yoga to get you moving, stretched, and limber. Plan your choice of exercise, make sure you have the equipment needed, and physically schedule your workout times on your daily calendar. Start small-2 days a week for 20 minutes and build on days and times as you hit each goal. And, if you can’t seem to find an exercise you are comfortable with, just WALK. Add distance each day, explore new areas and routes, and just get out and move. Make it part of your daily or weekly routine, and it will be a habit that is easy to build upon.
If general wellness is your goal for the year, consider the 8 pillars of wellness and decide which one will bring you the most satisfaction first. The pillars are nutrition, movement, emotional well-being, hobbies/creativity, intellectual growth, sleep, spiritual health, and relationships. When these pillars are balanced, we find overall wellness. Which pillar feels most unbalanced in your current life? How can you grow within it? How does the unbalance affect the other pillars of wellness in your life? Discover this, and that is where you need to start. If you are lacking in sleep, you are likely too tired to get proper exercise, or maybe being tired affects how you plan (or don’t plan) your meals. Focus on your sleep routine, create a healthy sleep routine, and see how that affects your overall life. Building healthy habits in one of these areas is likely to have a positive effect on other aspects.
Find time for a little joy in your life this year. Times have been challenging and we all need a bit more joy in our lives! If you are not sure where to find joy, take some time to think about a time in your life when you had more joy. Perhaps a hobby or favorite pastime that has been forgotten over the years is waiting to be rediscovered! Spend a little time and thought and explore what it was that brought you happiness at a more joyful time of life, and bring it back-add it to your routine, and build on it!
I’m wishing you happiness and great health and wellness in this new year! If you are considering acquiring assistance with your goals, I hope that you will reach out to me to chat about how health and wellness coaching can greatly change your life. I do not sell products, and I am not salesy/pushy in my approach. My only goal is to reach, motivate, educate, and inspire others to find and live their best, healthiest, most joy filled life possible. My education, experience, training and knowledge, mixed with personal motivation and inspiration focused on YOU and YOUR life provide a path to success and great health! Please feel free to contact me to see how I can help you reach your goals.
Be sure to check out my newest freebie, The Not So Sweet Ultimate Guide to Sugar Addiction