A Simple Way to Start 2017
It Starts With You
As we kick off a new year, many of you may have big New Year's resolutions for 2017. Some of you may no longer call them "resolutions," but instead you choose to call them "intentions" or something deeper and more meaningful like your "yearly purpose." Whatever you choose to call them, you are likely taking some time to reflect on the year that has passed and think about the year ahead. You may want to add certain hobbies or habits to your life or you may need to let go of a few things. You might also be one of those people who doesn't believe in New Year's resolutions because January 1st is just another day after all, or maybe you haven't had success with previous resolutions.
However you are choosing to start 2017, here are some words of advice. Warning: I am not promising any life changing shakes or pills. What I do offer are some words of simplifying your daily, weekly, and monthly routines (i.e. habits). In our modern day when there are so many one stop solutions, diets, quick fixes, home workout routines, etc. to be found online, in every magazine, and on many commercials, we often get so caught up that we forget how simple the solution may actually be. Another warning: simple doesn't mean easy.
With inspiration from Gretchen Rubin who has many great, and simple, Secrets of Adulthood, this one is always one I find myself coming back to and one that I encourage you to reflect on: "What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE." What is your daily routine? How much of that daily routine actually has to do with YOU and your own self-care?
Think about these simple things that you do EVERYDAY and reflect on their quality and quantity*:
-SLEEP: Adults should aim for 7-8 hours as recommended by the CDC.
-EAT: Just think about this simple statement from Michael Pollan's book Food Rules, "If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t." and "Do all your eating at a table."
-DRINK hydrating fluids (non-caffeinated, non-sugar filled, non-alcoholic): There is so much info out there about what is the right amount, but start here with numbers from a 2004 World Health Organization (WHO) report: adult men 3.7L/day (that's about 8 pints), adult women 2.7L/day (that's about 6 pints).
-DIGEST/ELIMINATE: Let's keep this one personal for now and just take a few days to notice your daily digestion and elimination patterns. Do you notice a pattern of indigestion/heartburn after you eat something spicy? Does something go right through you? Does anything about your gut change based on stressful events?
-MOVE: To keep this one really simple, just notice how much time are you moving versus sitting and how much of that movement takes your joints through full ranges of motion?
-FIND MENTAL FREEDOM: What do you do to play, forget about time and turn off your thinking brain?
*These are the quick examples, each of these topics could have their own more detailed blog post. If any are of particular interest to you, let me know.
Take some time to really observe (and try not to judge or criticize) your daily, weekly, and monthly routines to see what you are repetitively doing. And start with just making a change to one of those routines, then once you have made a new routine find another and slowly build from there.
My final piece of advice is to spend more time focusing on "why" and less time focusing on "what" with your new 2017 routines. So often we make huge goals of WHAT we want to do, but skip over WHY we want to do them. If you do choose to focus on self-care in some way, remember that this is not a selfish act, but one that will have a ripple effect out to all of those around you. We hear it every time we fly, but we so often tune it out, "...ensure that you put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others." We can't be of the most assistance to others, unless we take time for ourselves first.
Cheers to 2017 with a new, simplified outlook on you and your daily, weekly, and monthly routines!