*This article based on a FRED talk I gave the other night; I realized six minutes isn’t enough to share all of these great tips, so here they are.
Have you made any resolutions? Is the thought of committing to them stressing you out?
Then this list is perfect for you—now and throughout the year.
First, I’d like to point out that stress makes you sick; it keeps you awake at night. Makes you crave the bad stuff even more. It even makes you gain weight.
I’m not saying don’t put pressure on yourself to do better and more. But setting yourself up for failure and then beating yourself up isn’t going to make you healthier…and definitely not happier.
1. Make realistic goals for the year. Make goals that you know you can keep.
You know what you’re capable of. If going cold turkey on alcohol, sugar, or coffee or maybe all of the above terrifies you, then don’t do it. Pick one thing you want to give up—commit to it daily. Set the intention to keep this commitment every morning. For all of you 12-steppers reading this—one day at a time does help. Thinking: “I can never have another pint of ice cream ever again in my entire life,” will make the most sane of us go crazy.
2. Want it. You’ve got to really, really want it.
Whatever your goal or commitment is, every cell in your body should crave it. Whether it’s adding a daily yoga practice or giving up meat. People come to me all the time to get over an addiction—unfortunately, most of them aren’t really ready. They usually do it out of pressure from loved ones. If that’s the case, you might not even last a day.
A great example: someone came in to quit smoking a few weeks ago. They called me the day after their first treatment to tell me acupuncture wouldn’t work for them. They had a cigarette on the way home from my office. They hadn’t even gone two hours. They still had cigarettes in the car. So, of course acupuncture didn’t help. It reduces cravings, detoxes your body quickly and helps you deal with any emotional stuff that comes up.
But you have to be ready to let go.
If you really want to give something up, don’t have any of it in your home. Throw it away. Give it to a neighbor. Make that commitment.
3. Stop buying stuff. Yes, I said it: stop shopping.
Buy only what you need. If you see something you like, wait a week. Stop buying stuff. Yes, I said it. I know that’s considered blasphemy in our culture, but it can be done. Stop shopping. Obviously, buy what you truly need. If you see something you like, wait a week. If you can’t stop thinking about it, then indulge.
Give away whatever is in your home that doesn’t inspire you. Go through your closets and cabinets. If you don’t love it or haven’t worn it, it’s time to say goodbye. Many charities will even come pick up for you.
4. Eat more plant-based, locally grown whole foods.
I don’t consider this a diet; it’s a lifestyle. Going to your local farmers market or even having organic produce delivered to your doorstep by a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.) You can find recipes for anything online. Start today. Why not? Your body, the planet, and our fellow earthlings will all thank you.
5. Give yourself a treat.
I’m not talking about cupcakes or a third cocktail; I’m talking a massage or a day off in the middle of the week. Visit your best friend. Go to your favorite restaurant or yoga class regularly. You deserve it.
A lot of my readers already do this; there’s nothing more fulfilling than helping others. Whatever your cause. Getting out of your head and giving back will definitely bring more joy in to your life. It helps gain perspective on our own lives.
An added benefit is that we end up learning so much. So, whatever your passionate about—protecting children, the environment, animals, find a group. Maybe use your expertise to help your favorite cause.
6. Consume less caffeine and sugar.
They might make you feel great in the moment but believe me there are consequences. No way around it. The crash can make you cranky, tired and want more of it.
So why not just stay away? I have to say that out of all the articles I’ve written, the one on coffee upsets the most people. It wasn’t the ones on giving up plastic, meat, or sugar. It was coffee. Luckily, I’ve never had it. But I can relate when it comes to sugar. Especially after all of the desserts I had in the last week.
Most of us are so busy, we don’t take the time to get outside. Which is really sad for any of my followers living in southern California. We can comfortably be outside 300 days out of the year. Go on a hike. Get to the beach. Or just go to your local park in put your bare feet in the grass.
8. Forgive yourself and others.
Do a meditation apologizing to yourself and the person. I like this guided meditation to help. Visualize the person you feel has hurt you. Forgive them. Then apologize to them for any harm you may have caused them. Then forgive yourself.
Pick one person or event a night; see how the weight has been lifted.
What I want you to end with this thought: what are you wiling to change in 2013?
Live natural. Live Well.
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