HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Here we are, embarking on another new year full of opportunities for adventure.
Adventure, like life, is different for everyone. One person’s adventure could be to finish high school and move on to a new adventure in college. Another person’s adventure could be to run a marathon. Another person’s adventure could be to start a new business. Yet another person’s adventure could be to make it through chemotherapy and into remission. Each of these adventures has a “big” goal in the end but in order to be truly successful you have to meet “little” goals along the way. You can’t finish high school if you don’t focus on mastering each individual class along the way. In addition to mastering these classes you have to meet the goal of discerning what it is you want to do in college and now meet the goals or prerequisites the college has to enter a specific program. There is also the requirement of money to go to college; maybe a job will help you meet this requirement, looking into loans or scholarships, then meeting the requirements for these things. My point here is that each “big” goal can be broken down into steps to achieve “little” goals along the way.
UNIQUE & THE SAME
Every person is different with unique goals in life. One thing remains true across all of these different adventures and goals. In order to succeed you have to put yourself first! You have to be your own number one priority. Some people feel that putting yourself first is in some way selfish. That was something I had to “unlearn.” Being of service to others is beautiful and can be as rewarding for you as it is for the person you are helping. BUT, if you don’t make your own self your number one priority, then you won’t have enough left TO be of service to others.
PUT YOU FIRST
This concept is so simple, yet is easily pushed aside when life gets busy. Whether pushed aside for children, a spouse or significant other, parents/family, work, friends, etc, you can’t truly be of service to anyone else unless you care for yourself first.
Having children is a prime example of when this often happens. Whether you are taking care of a new little baby, a toddler, an adolescent or a teenager, they all need love, nurturing, guidance and support. These acts in and of themselves are necessary and bring joy to you and to the child. However, if you lose sight of keeping yourself as a priority, this becomes a daunting chore at times.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
We are at the beginning of a new year and this is when many new year resolutions are made. I personally think this concept is beautiful; a time to examine your life and discern what needs and wants take priority in your life. The problem for many is that these resolutions are sometimes made without a realistic plan and without kindness and caring at the core. This may lead to “failed” resolutions and a sense of failure overall.
LOVE, KINDNESS, RESPECT
We should treat ourselves with at least as much love, kindness and respect as we show other people in our lives. We tend to get frustrated with ourselves for so many things in life: weight loss, exercise, an injury that occurs from overtraining, or a business prospect that doesn’t play out the way we had hoped. Imagine these things happened to your best friend, spouse or child. If they came to you with their frustration you would most likely listen and offer support, guidance and encouragement. We can, and should, allow ourselves the same love and care.
Consider making a commitment to YOU this year with kindness and compassion at the forefront of any goals you may want to achieve. Take time for self care!
Change your perspective on exercise & movement. It is a great feeling when you get that endorphin release from a great workout, but not everyday has to be a strenuous workout to be great or to achieve your goal. Consider making a “little” goal to move your body EVERY DAY! This may be a walk around the block or another day with the sun shining on your face, you feel motivated to walk farther. Or one day it is a walk with a friend and you feel like you could walk forever, just enjoying their company. From there you can always make your plan for incorporating yoga or weight training or running or any other type of exercise that you enjoy. This creates a habit over time for you to simply move your body EVERY DAY! Carving out that time, whether it ends up being 10 minutes or 2 hours, creates a space in your day dedicated to you and your body. Meeting these “little” goals makes it possible for you to achieve the “bigger” goal of weight loss or a race of some sort.
Another great daily goal is setting aside time to create or to learn. This, again, can be just 10-15 minutes every day to read or doodle or write or paint or even to clean up a flower bed in your yard. You are worth that 10-15 minutes everyday and often once you get started, you will find that you want to “gift” yourself even more time. This habit can be helpful to achieve your larger goals of finishing a book, or writing a book, completing a course or finishing any type of project you can imagine.
The third area that is vital for overall well being is giving yourself time for spiritual self care. Exercise seems to be one of the most popular goals for setting this time of year, but nurturing your spirit is equally as important. Give yourself time to meditate, pray, journal, write morning pages or anything else that allows you to go inside yourself. You are definitely worth claiming that 10-15 minutes each day for you to just be with you. You will be amazed at how meeting these “little” goals will positively impact your entire life and your overall wellbeing.
NURTURING WITH NUTRIENTS – PERSPECTIVE WITH KINDNESS
Of course nurturing your body with life giving nutrients is so important to provide you with energy to devote to the care of you. Making huge dietary changes can be rewarding and exciting, but sometimes adding a simple change each week, or every 2 weeks, can be more sustainable.
This is a great area to change your perspective on what you are putting in your body. Commit to focusing on putting only healthy nutritious food into your body. If you are tempted to put something in your body that you know is not healthy, examine the “why.” Is this food bringing you comfort? Is there another way you can comfort yourself without using that particular food? If you do decide to eat the comfort food anyway, acknowledge that you are not consuming it for its nutritious value but for comfort or for escape. Allow yourself to feel the comfort it provides and write it down in a journal. This can be very helpful in uncovering other ways you can nurture and comfort yourself. These eating habits could have been instilled from childhood or maybe something you incorporated knowingly or unknowingly later in life. You can look back at these journal entries every week or every month and see if you notice a pattern; it may allow you to take a deeper look at how you can self soothe and love yourself in other ways; going for a quick walk, calling a friend, sitting or lying in meditation, letting yourself feel the emotion that is coming up and cry or laugh or let it out in some way, rather than soothing the feeling with food. This can be a learning experience rather than a reason to be frustrated and upset with yourself.
For example, week one you decide to cut out gluten and focus on all of the other delicious food you are able to enjoy. Week 2 you cut out dairy and explore recipes that are new and exciting and teach you new ways to prepare food for yourself and your family. Week 3 you make a commitment to cut out sugar, and so on. When done with love and compassion at the core, this can be a wonderful way to instill lifelong changes to your diet without focusing on the deprivation. Maybe there is a time that you find yourself wanting a particular food, maybe it is to have some french fries when you are out for dinner with a friend. You could choose to order a salad or sauteed vegetables instead, knowing this is a healthier choice, or you could choose to order the fries on occasion, knowing they are not nourishing your body. Notice if they make you truly happy and if they cause any immediate or delayed effects on your body. If they make you happy, then enjoy them knowing they are bringing you happiness and comfort in the moment. They are not nurturing your body but perhaps they are nurturing your spirit. Let go of any guilt. If the guilt persists, explore why this is the case. Next time you have that choice you may just choose differently.
Choose you! Make yourself your number one priority this year; nurture your body, mind and spirit and enjoy everything life has to offer you.
Happy New Year!!!