As we usher in another new year in the throes of a global pandemic, it’s time to call BS on diets that don’t serve us and habits that distract us from what we want to be doing with our lives. For 2022, I’m playing hardball by tossing soft and meeting you where you are — in your home, trying to make the best choices for your own health and that of your family.
New Year’s resolutions are personal and, crucially, optional — you don’t necessarily need to make any. But if you’re inspired to make small changes that could have big impacts on your overall well-being, here’s a list that might help.
Lean into a ‘slow morning’ routine
Think about the best possible start to your day. Does it involve savoring a cup of coffee while you read a book? Working out as the sun rises? Going for a quiet walk around the block? Listening to music or playing with your dog? Whatever it is, use the New Year as a new opportunity to refine your morning routine and slow it down for the things you love. Everyone’s ideal “slow morning” will be different, but carving out time for things that bring you purpose early in the day can lead to a more present work day, whether it requires waking up 30 minutes earlier or just reprioritizing your time in the AM.
Stop checking your phone first thing in the morning
We live, communicate and work through our phones, so it makes sense that they’re the first things we turn to when we open our eyes. And it doesn’t take much scientific study to conclude that scrolling social media or going through your inbox isn’t the best way for your brain to start (or end) the day.
But there is some science behind it. As Forbes reported, by reaching for your phone first thing in the morning, you’re “priming your brain for distraction” and disrupting the brain’s flow of different waves that allow you to be more creative and purposeful about your day. Staying on your phone for work-related matters hours after signing off can also inhibit you from getting a good night’s rest.
If you’re like many people who’ve considered cutting back screen time, there’s no better time than 2022 to start. There are different ways to improve screen hygiene, like using blue light glasses for work and reading a book instead of scrolling through your phone before bed. To cut back on screen time this year and reorganize your screen time, check out these tips.
Find a diet that keeps you satisfied (and won’t restrict you)
Finding an eating pattern that’s both intuitive and satisfies your nutritional needs can be tough, and daunting New Year’s resolutions that require you to completely switch gears for a diet that might be downright unhelpful.
This year, try subscribing to the advice of nutritionists and experts that work with you to create sustainable meal habits (also called the “anti-diet dietitians”). Chances are, you’ll start honoring food as the fuel our body needs to live and be healthy, make nutritious choices accordingly and become more expert about what your body needs.
Restricting calories can sometimes trigger binge eating, which can make you feel ill or lead to unhealthy habits. If you want to eat healthier but don’t want to sign up for a restrictive diet, make sure your plate is full of things your body needs first.
Practice your most creative hobby every day
In 2009, caregiver Bronnie Ware wrote a blog post detailing the top five regrets of dying people. A lot of news outlets reported on the list, it turned into a book and even inspired a TED talk. The number one thing on the list? “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Many people may push aside their more creative pursuits because it doesn’t make them money or they feel they don’t have the time.
For 2022, I suggest you make the time, whether it’s 10 minutes of active daydreaming or an hour of active crafting, writing music, poetry, painting, graphic designing, figure skating, playing chess or anything else that inspires you. If you’ve been keeping it on the back burner, imagining the day you’ll have the time, 2022 is your year to make the first step.
Treat yourself the way you treat other people
Be as understanding with yourself as you are with other people: It’s the inverse of the Golden Rule. If your friend set a goal for themselves to exercise for 15 minutes each day, but they missed two days in a row, would you consider them a failure or would you tell them to just pick it back up tomorrow?
Probably the former, because unless you’re a robot, you know that someone experiencing a hiccup or less-than-productive day doesn’t undermine the value of their goal and all of the work they’ve put in so far. Sometimes, people just need a break to reconvene and figure out the best way to fit their new passion into their busy schedule. So why can’t we see that in ourselves?
Many people fall into the trap of thinking something has to be done perfectly or not done at all. While you may have already heard the phrase “done is better than perfect,” it’s worth repeating here. Picture it in the context of someone else’s creative journey, then give yourself the same space and grace. By learning to understand yourself the way you understand others, you’ll also start practicing self-compassion and you might just end up accomplishing more in the process.
Original Article and Author available here.
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