Showing posts with label change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label change. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year’s Resolution Revolution

Rumination. According to Webster’s, it means to go over and over things in our minds. And this time of year, many of us do just that: we reflect on the last year and our perceived failures and lack of accomplishment. We beat up on ourselves with “cheery” New Year’s resolutions like, “I will stop eating junk food and lose 20 pounds,” or “I will stop smoking and start exercising,” or my personal favorite, “I will stop being negative and complaining about everything.” These lofty goals, usually touted along with giving up one of our vices, set us up for failure. It’s not that we can’t do these things. It is that we handle ourselves with iron fists, demanding we give up our favorite foods, our long-held habits, without any room for error or forgiveness.

So, rather than making New Year’s resolutions that may be unattainable, why not try out some New Year’s “revolutions,” instead? What’s the difference, you ask? I’m so glad you did.

1. Want to lose weight? Try out this instead: I will learn to love my body, regardless of my clothes size. Here’s the reality of the equation that a friend of mine who lost a lot of weight discovered: Even if you lost all the weight and looked exactly as you desired, your problems in life, love and work would remain. Your frustration with your least-loved body part would still be there. It’s truly about loving ourselves completely, embracing the imperfections, and valuing who we are as people, that will make us happy. The weight? It will probably come off in time, if you just love yourself up enough. Because when we love our bodies, we want to give them what they need, rather than just eat out of emotional desire or social dictates.

2. Quitting smoking? How about something like this: I will discover what things make me happiest, and do those instead. We smoke because of many different factors. And those that push past tough addictions often do so because they find something else to fill the void that the addiction has been disguising. So instead of putting the focus on “quitting” something, why not turn it into finding something you love? Whether it’s a new hobby – parasailing? Scrapbooking? Building replicas of machinery? Or engaging in more social activity, or joining a dating site, or finding new folks to spend time with via Whatever it is, when we place our attention on positive changes, the old negative ways are much easier to let go of.

3. Looking for a more positive outlook? Add this to your daily self-talk: I acknowledge the good and the bad in life, though I choose to dwell on the positive aspects most of the time. Truth is, while paying attention to only the negative is dangerous, positive thinking can be just as treacherous. Finding a balance, allowing yourself the normal emotional swings that accompany life, while still seeking the silver lining, tends to be healthiest – and most achievable – mindset when it comes to altering our attitude. So go for acceptance, with a side dish of positive thinking.

One of the downsides to New Year’s resolutions is creating ideals that we can never reach. So let’s revolutionize our thinking, go for a more reasonable approach, allowing for human error, balance, and life’s twists and turns. You’ll be able to craft the change you want to see in your life, while drawing happiness and satisfaction to you, as well, by simply tweaking these small elements.

What have been your most successful life changes? What steps did you put in place to get there? How have you revolutionized your thinking?

Live Healthy. Live Smart

Monday, December 23, 2013

Making Healthy Changes for 2014

About this time of year, we’re faced with two seemingly opposing tasks: Making delicious feasts for our loved ones, and pondering New Year’s resolutions, in which we will improve our health and eat better. So while we’re elbow-deep in shortening-laden creations and butter-and-cream rich recipes, we shake our heads in defeat, convinced we can’t do anything about our health goals until the new year.

Tea with honey

It rarely occurs to us that we can start our efforts in the middle of these festive seasons – after all, isn’t this the time when endless cookies, pies, and cakes abound? How could you possibly attempt to improve your health as you race between holiday parties, school plays, and family obligations? In truth, because any lasting change to and for our health comes in small adjustments. If you are counting on the first of the year to be your catalyst for change, I encourage you to nix that thinking, and start now! Focus on the small changes and adapt your life gradually, and you’ll discover that permanent changes are possible and easy.

Make small substitutions. Rather than attempt an all-out kitchen cupboard makeover while baking snickerdoodles, start with the little things: pick up some local honey at the farmer’s market, and use that for your tea. Substitute real butter for cheap shortening. Ever tried coconut sugar? It makes an excellent replacement for brown sugar.

One thing at a time. Often, when we want change, we want it all at once. Downside: we push things hard and fast, and then we burn out our focus and excitement. If your kids love to eat fast food, this isn’t the time to make radical rules. Instead, suggest grabbing a meal at a local burrito restaurant, where they make them by hand (like Chipotle or Moe’s) instead of Taco Bell. Do you have kids that love chips and dip? How about making some homemade salsa and picking up some organic corn chips? And if you love a good cookie, crowd around the kitchen and make them from scratch, rather than buying premade logs in the refrigerated section.

Don’t step too far off the beaten path. So you tried kohlrabi tarts, and no one liked them? You might want to stick to tried and true favorites, like whole-food based traditional recipes. If you aren’t sure where to start, review recipes online that are focused on whole sources, less-processed ingredients, and add one or two to the regular menu. If you typically make a pumpkin pie for Christmas, try making your dough from scratch rather than buying a pre-made crust. Love turkey for a holiday dish? Visit a local turkey farm and pick out a locally raised bird.

Buy local produce

Involve your family…as they are able. This is your journey, and sometimes your partner or children won’t see it the same way. Let them go. Focus on what you can do, make dishes for everyone to enjoy with little tweaks when possible, and allow others to adjust at their own pace.

Moving towards a healthier lifestyle and feeling better takes time. It won’t all be changed overnight. Set yourself a goal of improving your health in 2014, with a yearlong outlook. It takes at least that long to create a lasting lifestyle change free of stress and guilt.

What small changes have you made already? What changes are you most looking forward to?

Contributing Writer