“I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me.”
- Anais Nin
Okay, it's February, one month after New Year's, one month after jumping into those New Year’s resolutions ready to cleanse, refresh, and change some health habits for good this time. So, how are you doing? Have you already lost some of that lovin’ motivational feelin’? Maybe it's already time for some revamped resolutions...
Why can’t you get your act together and make some resolutions that might actually stick?!
However, it’s pretty darn easy to ignore your body and submit to internal (e.g., those voices in your head) and external (e.g., what everyone else is doing) influences instead.
Many New Year’s resolutions miss the most important point: Connecting with yourself.
Here are three common resolutions and three ways to help them stick:
Resolution #1: “Get healthier” by exercising more
Trying to exercise more to lose unhealthy weight, gain lean muscle mass, or improve things like cardiovascular health? While these are all beneficial goals...
Revamped Resolution: Choose exercises that you enjoy in order to connect with your body and what feels good to you.
Rather than joining a gym and forcing yourself to go every day for a few weeks before petering out altogether, think about what you might actually enjoy doing. Do you hate spin classes? No problem! Try a dance class, or go for a run, or ski in the winter, or swim in the summer. And maybe try something new! You won’t know unless you try it, right? Maybe you, in fact, absolutely love taking a weekly row class. Who knew?!
FYI: Don't underestimate the empowering effect of including strength training somehow. Increasing strength (which, contrary to popular female belief, will not result in exploding Schwarzenegger-style muscles) can increase your confidence and ability to tackle challenges mental as well as physical!
Approach exercise as an opportunity to learn about what physical activities make you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. That increases the likelihood that you make exercise a part of your lifestyle!
Resolution #2: “Get healthier” by going on a diet or “cleanse”
Trying to improve your health or your waistline by vowing to [insert diet or cleanse option here] for [insert time period here]?...
Revamped Resolution: Choose nutritious foods that feel good three-fold—in your body,in your mouth,andin your mind.
If you approach food by “shoulding” yourself into “being good” and “staying on track”, you might lose out on more than you think. Diets and cleanses not only feel like chores, but they can also hinder your ability to make sustainable habit changes by disconnecting you from yourself and your individual wants and needs. They can induce feelings of deprivation and frustration—not to mention guilt when you “fail”. In short: They stress you out!
Did you know that unpleasant emotions inhibit your body’s ability to digest? As the author of The Mind-Gut Connection puts it: “Feeding is only half the story.”
- When you feel angry, your digestion becomes spastic—and half of that meal you just ate remains undigested in your stomach.
- When you feel sad, your intestines barely move at all.
In short: You can be the healthiest eater on the planet, but it won’t do you a great deal of good if you are chronically stressed or in otherwise unpleasant moods.
FYI: Start with one change at a time. For example, if you want to prepare more meals, choose one meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and prepare a simple recipe x 3. That way, you are good to go for three days and don't need to cook every day. Good news if you are short on time!
Approach nutrition as an opportunity to learn about what foods make you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. That increases the likelihood that you make it a part of your lifestyle!
Resolution #3: “Get more organized”
Feel like you never have time to do what you really want to do? Feel powerless and unable to get out of the heap of endless to-dos?
Like many New Year’s resolutions, the idea of "getting organized" can feel overwhelming at the very least and downright impossible at the most. You want to get organized and have more time, but there are just never enough hours in the day!!
"There is time. Even if we are busy, we have time for what matters. And when we focus on what matters, we can build the lives we want in the time we've got."
So, instead of attempting a complete organization overhaul...
Revamped Resolution: Schedule a weekly Power Hour with yourself.
Look at your weekly calendar and find a steady hour that will work each week. Block that time on “repeat” in your calendar (e.g., Google calendar). You can even color code it, using a color that makes you feel good.
FYI: Friday afternoons, say 3-4p or 4-5p, tend to work well. Odds are, you feel less-than-productive around this time. Plus, Power Houring on Friday afternoon allows you to plan for the week ahead. But find a time that generally works for on a regular basis.
Every week, during your Power Hour, you will sit alone, possibly with a hot and soothing beverage of your choice, and plan the week ahead, including:
- Work responsibilities and deadlines
- Family responsibilities/schedules
- Social events
- Other life happenings
- Exercise time
- Meal prep time—e.g., two hours on Sunday
- Self-care time
Include at least one hour a week (preferably several more!) of something that you do just for you. That could mean getting a massage, going for a hike, reading a book, taking a class—or something else that really and truly brings you pleasure.
Approach organization as a weekly opportunity to check in with yourself and build your life by prioritizing what matters most. That increases the likelihood that you have time for what really matters to you!
It’s February and, whether or not you made and/or already “failed” at your New Year’s resolutions, it’s never too late to revamp them.
(Revamped) resolutions require habit changes, which are rarely easy. Help them stick by connecting with yourself and what makes you feel good.
Stay tuned this month for simple step-by-steps to incorporate nutrition, fitness, and financial health into your weekly Power Hour!
Our 6-week online course is all about helping you identify the root causes of your feelings and learn healthy coping strategies. It offers tools for increasing conscious awareness of the ways in which you seek pleasure, helps you increase connection to your body and needs, and supports the development of a new relationship with your body--one that preserves pleasure while building a sustainable approach to eating, exercising, and even intimate relationships.
Healthy habits that actually feel good
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