“I want to lose 25 pounds.”
“I am going to become vegan.”
“I am going to the gym 5 days a week.”
It seems like so many of us set very lofty goals – or resolutions – when we turn the page to January on the new calendar. All you need to do is watch the morning news shows or catch the gym ads on television to know that NOW is when so many people plan to start fresh for the new year.
So many of the goals focus on health. That is not a bad thing. I often wonder — and science seems to validate– that we are setting ourselves up for failure. Once we hit February and March, the resolutions we set January 1 are often broken, leaving us with feelings of guilt and self doubt.
What if — just what if — we resolved to be KIND to ourselves in 2018? How would we feel when the end of the year rolls around?
Let’s talk about some self-care resolutions that we all should make (and keep!) in the New Year. Who would like to join me?
1. Resolve to speak to yourself the way you speak to others.
Think about it. I want you to step back and think of the words you are speaking to yourself about yourself in your head. “Ugh. I ate like a pig over the holidays. My clothes look horrible. I look horrible.” Would you ever think to speak those words to a loved one? No. So why is it, then, that we can think such unkind thoughts and tell ourselves such unkind words? What would happen if we changed that dialog? Replace “I could never”, “I am not”, “If I were smarter/thinner/prettier/stronger” with words that build you up rather than tear your down. If you would not speak unkindly to your loved ones, why on earth would you speak poorly to yourself?
2. Resolve to be true to yourself.
Have you seen the graphic floating around on social media which reads, “Be fearlessly authentic”? When I say be TRUE to yourself, that pretty much sums up what I mean. Do you kind of just go with the flow for fear of rocking the boat, even if it means you are unhappy? I have a friend who used to be in a couple’s sporting league. She hated those three hours per weekend, yet she continued acting like she enjoyed it because she did not want to disappoint her friends. Finally, she confessed the she absolutely dreaded playing the sport and decided not commit to another season.
By disguising her true feelings, she was pretending to enjoy something she didn’t enjoy. She started to feel resentful, stressed out, and mad at herself for not saying anything. By remaining true to her heart, she decided to say no to activity she did not enjoy and said yes to herself. She still sees her friends, but has freed up time to enjoy painting classes instead, which is something she enjoys and nourishes her soul. Just be YOU. Your friends will still love you for who you are and will likely appreciate the fact that you love yourself enough to live more fully.
3. Resolve to spend less time on your devices.
We are constantly plugged into technology.
It is almost as if we panic at the thought of missing out on something important if we put the phone down. What would happen if you stayed away from social media for an evening?
Would it be the end of the world? Absolutely not.
By spending a few hours unplugged, you will find that you have more time to engage in conversation, play with your children, get lost in the pages of a good book or maybe even head to bed early.
If the thought of cutting that cord seems scary, take baby steps. Schedule hours of being unplugged to focus on your self care. For example, start with just one evening a week. Commit to this small block of time and see what happens.
4. Resolve to try Matcha for improved mental clarity.
Matcha — an antioxidant-rich green tea powder — was introduced to Japan in 1191 by Eisai, a Buddhist monk. Eisai is believed to have planted the first green tea seeds in Japan. He is even more well known for having developed the philosophy known as Zen. Since that time, Matcha and Zen meditation have been intertwined through the tea ceremony. It is believed that Buddhist monks drank Matcha to help them feel grounded and calm with a sense of clarity while meditating for long periods of time. The tradition has continued centuries later.
Matcha is not your typical green tea — it may take ten cups of green tea to give you the benefits of just one cup of Matcha. What is unique about this drink, as opposed to a cup of coffee, is that it is believed to increase your mental clarity while making you feel at peace. Next time you head to the yoga studio, try sipping Matcha — it will allow you to be in the moment while being better able to concentrate on each pose. You can also try Matcha before a big test, presentation at work, or any other time you feel the need for a bit more focus.
5. Resolve to show your gratitude more often.
The greatest gift you can give a person is your gratitude. Making someone feel loved and appreciated is a true gift. Don’t wait for “later” or a “more convenient time” to show your gratitude for the people you love.
Whether it’s your significant other, parents, friends, your child’s teacher or a neighbor, wouldn’t it be really amazing if you took a moment to show someone your gratitude each day?
There are scientifically-proven benefits to expressing your gratitude. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who express their gratitude tend to be healthier. In addition to getting more exercise, they tend to keep up with their regular doctor’s wellness visits, according to the study.
Additionally, Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. says that people who are grateful are less resentful and do not hold on to toxic emotions. His research in the field of gratitude concludes that people who express and feel genuine gratitude are happier overall.