With the New Year about to tick over, there will undoubtedly be many ambitious resolution's being set across the globe. It is definitely a time to feel excited about the possibilities of the year ahead, and reflective about the decisions made in the one that has just past.
New Year's resolutions are a natural part of life. But what can we do to harness the enthusiasm of this time of year and transform it into meaningful change to our lifestyle and health? These ideas might help.
- Consider using your resolutions to take small steps, in place of big leaps. Although this might depend on your personality, I often see the success and satisfaction of small meaningful change in my clinic.
- Try to have a have a plan to back up your resolution. Decide on a concrete start date and how you have decided to implement the change you have chosen to make. Also worth noting is everything you stand to gain from making your change for motivational purposes.
- Reflect on why your habit began in the first place. What are you really trying to replace?
- Brainstorm what you are going to replace your habit or behaviour with. The easiest way to change a habit is to replace it. Have a few options of substitutes to see what works for you.
- Highlight potential barriers to the change or problems you could encounter. Now come up with ideas of what you can do to be proactive about them.
- Choose somebody to tell about your resolution. Accountability can be very motivating!
- Look back on your success or failure at intervals. Don't give up if things don't go to plan. Try to understand what didn't work and adjust your approach accordingly.
- It's not worth being hard on yourself, so try to avoid unnecessary stress or negativity. The decision to make a change is admirable in itself. Keep pushing gently ahead in the direction you would like to go, and the process will most likely be a productive one.
As an example, I would like to experiment with reducing my caffeine intake this year. Despite not having a large caffeine intake, I notice a difference in my mood and digestive system when I skip my weak daily coffee. I believe that a break from most things in our lifestyle or diet is beneficial, even if it is just to clarify how something is effecting your body.
A small step in this situation may involve a direct swap to a naturally decaffeinated coffee. In my situation, I feel another step that would suit me would be substituting my morning coffee (which is usually at home) with a cup of herbal tea. Green tea would still satisfy my desire for productivity and concentration while being much lower in caffeine than coffee. I will aim to make coffee a weekly pleasure instead of daily - think weekend family breakfasts in the sunshine in place of groggy morning-time guzzle in the kitchen.
A big barrier for me is the habit of ordering coffee at cafes when socialising, and the feeling of indulgence it provides. My back up plan is to order a fresh juice, which I enjoy but can never seem to be able to justify buying. This way it will hopefully feel like a reward instead of a restriction.
Here is a recipe for a tea I made the other week, with fresh mint from my garden at home. It takes a little time, but leftovers can also be enjoyed as an iced tea. It is a great tea for your digestion, with the combination of ginger and mint being especially good if you suffer from pain, cramping or nausea after food. Maybe this tea will come in handy during my New Year's resolution!
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
- Place 2 cups of water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil
- Add the ginger and mint
- Simmer for 20 minutes
- Add honey if desired
- Share or place leftover tea in the fridge
I hope that your New Year is full of health, happiness and productive resolutions.