Rather than making a huge list and then feeling compelled to stick to it, resolutions are far more likely to last if we make gentle, gradual alterations to how we live.
We can then incorporate the changes into our daily routine so they feel natural and not forced.
Here are a few very simple resolutions that can very easily be mixed into every day life and will benefit us in the mind, body and soul:
- To get the best start to the day, enjoy a bowl of good old-fashioned hearty, healthy and nutritious Scottish porridge. Even better if it is homemade.
- Drink a mixture of warm honey and lemon water every morning and every night.
- Replace table salt for natural unrefined salt, for example Sea Salt, Himalayan Salt or Celtic Salt. Refined salts are not good for us, however, unrefined salts contain over 80 traces of minerals and are exceptionally good for us and essential for balancing our body’s electrolytes.
- Replace cosmetics, especially moisturiser, cleanser and hair conditioner for a large tub of coconut oil as it has health benefits for almost every part of our bodies.
- Turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bed and don’t sleep with a mobile phone or laptop plugged in and on next to where you sleep as they cause a build up of harmful electric smog. Use traditional wind up alarms instead of mobile or electronic ones.
- Pay attention to your breathing as often as possible throughout the day. Focus your attention on inhaling and exhaling. Fill the lungs breathing in through the mouth, and then exhale very slowly through the nose. Repeat regularly throughout the day.
- Reduce refined sugar intake, which has no nutrients at all, and replace with unrefined sugar which contains all the nutrients and minerals that have been stripped away from refined sugar.
- Either quit or dramatically reduce reliance on something that is bad for you, and replace the habit with something healthy and nourishing. For example, drink one fewer cup of coffee a day and replace it with a hot cup of herbal tea.
- Rather than texting or emailing, call the person you want to communicate with. We can spend half an hour sending impersonal texts forwards and backwards that can easily be misinterpreted, when a call can say everything we want to say in just a few minutes. Plus, calls are far more endearing. And because we can say everything that needs to be said in a few moments, they give us plenty of spare moments to catch up on all our other news.
- Whenever possible cook from scratch, even if it is only once a week or once a month. Cooking can feel like a waste of time when there are so many ready made options available. However, when we cook with fresh ingredients and lovingly prepare our food, we enjoy it more, feel better for it, enhance our cookery skills and, most importantly, know what’s in our food.
- De-clutter. Hoarding totally zaps all of our energy and also makes our mind feel chaotic and messy as well as our external surroundings. If we try to clear out one area at a time, rather than all in one go, we are far more likely to make progress. We can start with either just one draw, or a kitchen cupboard, or the laundry room. When we detach from clinging onto our belongings, we practice a great Buddhist principle which is known as “letting go,” as one of the beliefs of Buddhism is that attachments create suffering.
- Express kindness. Spend a small amount of time each week taking time for someone else without expecting anything in return. Whether it’s volunteering at a local dog home or charity store, helping an elderly neighbour with gardening, baking or cooking for someone who may appreciate a little company and nourishing food, or taking clothes to a homeless shelter, there is always someone out there who would be deeply appreciative of a little bit of loving care.
- Ask yourself how you want to feel in 5-years time, rather than where you want to be. Then, spend precious time and focus your attention, meticulously looking at what it will take to get to that feeling. With dedication, you will reach that feeling far sooner than expected.
- When possible, hand-make cards and gifts. Not only are they thoughtful and more personal; they also take us straight back to our childhood and bring out our creative flair. Plus, we may even find that we are so skilled at crafting we may be able to turn it into a small work-from-home business.
- Practice gratitude. Every day there are a limitless amount of things we can show gratitude for. We can give thanks to Mother Earth for providing all that we need to exist, for shelter, for food, for family and friends, for the seasons, for challenges, for blessings, for love. We sometimes feel as though we can never repay the kindness of others, but we can simply by being grateful.
Rather than making many resolutions in one go, we can keep all these resolutions in the back of our minds and start them whenever we get around to each one—for example, the next time we are at our local health store or farmer’s market.
We should never put too much pressure to start or stop doing anything, as we will likely set ourselves up to fail by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Every step in the new direction is strengthening our will power and determination, and falling by the wayside can inadvertently help us to become stronger and become more disciplined. Therefore, we should try to look at setbacks as one step back and two steps forward, rather than seeing it as failure when our targets aren’t met.
January is the perfect time to reflect back on the previous year and look at ways to improve the next year. Even if it takes us the whole year to try each resolution on the list and keep it, our lives will alter with each one we embrace.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Caroline Beaton