New year, new you? With very few exceptions, it’s been proven that charging into January with the mindset that you’re going to completely reinvent yourself doesn’t really work out. Nor is it 100% healthy for you! What typically precipitates the ‘failure’ of a big resolution (or two… or several) is intense stress and negative emotion.
That said, we still love the idea of starting a new year with a fresh mindset, positive energy, and a focus on feeling good about yourself. Feeling better, feeling healthier, taking better care of you. So how can we do that in a healthier — more sustainable — way?
New Year, Same You
You don’t need to reinvent yourself because you’re not broken or defective. Yes, this sounds wishy-washy, but stay with us — you don’t need to ‘fix’ yourself, but you might want to fix up your habits or get yourself on a healthier path. This becomes less about your identity and more about your actions … or even just your mentality. Ahead, some ways to reclaim your wellness without crashing and burning.
5 Ways to Reclaim Wellness in 2021
#1 Set an Intention
You know what you won’t fail on? An intention. This has blurred edges, loose boundaries, and no hard and fast quantification that can say “you failed.”
While a resolution of “working out every single day” can end in failure within the first week, an intention of “I want to feel more energized and active” can influence a number of your behaviors, including your exercise routine.
Some “I am” intentions that could help:
- I am active
- I am energized
- I am serene
- I am joyful
- I am healthy
You can also try this with “I want to feel” or “I do/make/feel” as well. Think about what you want to feel, how you want to exist, etc. in 2021 — and create your perfect intention. Think of it as a verbal, abstract mood board for the year. A vibe!
#2 Set Goals
Make some small, segmented goals and objectives to help keep yourself set on a positive focus point. The great thing about goals is that you can set several for the year, whether that’s one per quarter, one per month, or whatever other format works. Consider taking inventory of what works for your brain — does a quantifiable goal (i.e., add 5,000 steps per week) work better to keep you on track, or does it not feel great? Would “walk more each week” work best for you?
A few goals you might want to add to your year…
Be More Mindful: Execute this with a few benchmarks: Try meditation, and meditate at least once a month. Eat more mindfully at meals. Set an intention every day.
Expand My Health Food Repertoire: Execute this goal in different ways through the year; Learn to make a new healthy recipe, or try one new vegetable or health food every month this year.
Prioritize My Nutrition: You can learn how to meal prep one month and keep a food journal another month.
Prioritize Sleep: You can start by setting a bedtime in the first month, increasing your sleep time the next, starting a new bedtime routine after that, and so on.
#3 Fall in Love With the Process
If you love the goal, you have to love the process. Don’t make your goal to run more if you hate running. You’ll never do it! If you hate salad, don’t say “I’m going to eat salads once a week.” We say this a lot, but we’ll say it again: Find. What. Works. For. YOU.
If dance doesn’t feel like a workout, do more of that. If you’ve always wanted to try yoga, do that. If walking feels more feasible, add that in. Find healthy recipes you love. Make meal prep a family activity or something you do with a loved one, whether that’s your partner, parent, or roommate.
You have to love the path of getting to the goal, otherwise, your goal is unattainable. Think of what you enjoy and what makes you happy, and see how you can weave that into your wellness routine and goals.
#4 Make it EASY
You will naturally, as a human being, default to the past of least resistance. Make it as easy as possible to get to your goal. This means keeping it small and segmented (like a five minute a day task or a once a month to-do).
If your goal is to eat healthier, what are some easy, simple, segmented ways you can get there? Is it adding one green vegetable to one meal every day? What about learning one new healthy recipe this month? If your goal is to move more, can you add one walk into your weekly routine? Maybe walk to get a coffee nearby instead of making it at home?
#5 Reflect on Your Habits
When you’re aiming to make lifestyle changes, it’s important to reflect on your current situation: how you’re feeling, what you’re doing, habits you’ve had, changes you’ve made, and how you’ve made those changes.
It might be prudent to get some solid habit-changing books to come up with a gameplan on how to hack your psychology and find your own personal path to wellness. Atomic Habits by James Clear or The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg are two A+ reads that will help you reconsider how you make your own progress toward healthy habits and goals.
New Year, New Lease on Life?
Breaking apart resolutions and figuring out your own personal approach to healthy habits will help you reclaim your wellness. This strategy has more wiggle room — it rebrands “failure” as lessons and allows you to learn, restrategize, move forward, and grow.
Remember to make success easier for yourself; figure out how your brain works, make these tasks simple and doable, enjoy the process, and keep it exciting and varied. You’ve got this!