By Carol Phillips
For many people, the New Year brings thoughts of anticipated resolutions and a wide variety of ideas on what we’d like to accomplish. We often hear people sharing their desires to exercise more, eat healthier, or begin projects that have been neglected. While these are great goals to set, too often these same goals end up being short-lived.
Our lives tend to be busy to begin with, and adding additional goals can leave us ill-equipped to successfully follow through on our best intentions. Just as we need to clean out a room in our house to bring in new furniture, we also need to make room in our lives to implement new behaviors. As with the saying, “Out with the old and in with the new,” we need to mentally and physically make room in our lives for these positive changes.
Here are some ideas to simplify your New Year:
• Learn to take “You” breaks. Being “on the go” from the moment we wake up until our heads hit our pillows at the end of each day creates an enormous amount of chronic stress that can, over time, lead to illness and disease. Take small breaks throughout the day to let your brain catch up with your busy schedule. Breaks can include taking a short walk outside, walking around your office for a few minutes, or simply shutting your eyes and letting your brain unwind.
• Make a list of everything you do in a typical week. How can you reduce this list to free up time, money, and energy? Become cognizant of what excites you versus what is becoming more and more of a chore. For example, to save time and stress, you can hire a housecleaner and trade that time to do something relaxing and stress-reducing.
• Simplifying your home or office by decluttering can make your space calmer and more inviting, and calms your life and mind in the process. A win/win! You can also read a book, such as Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and plan to follow just one of her recommendations. You can also institute one recommendation per week, per month . . . you choose. An added bonus can include donating items to those in need.
• Identify the people in your life who truly make you feel safe and loved. Spending more time with them will automatically enrich your life. Likewise, identify the people in your life who cause you stress and leave you feeling down. For each person, make a plan to either improve the relationship, spend less time with them, or take your life in a new direction that doesn’t include these individuals. Moving away from negative people will certainly make room for a calmer existence.
• Exercise daily, but choose activities you enjoy instead of thinking of physical activity as an overwhelming task. Spending an hour playing hide-and-seek with your children or grandchildren is much more fun and goes by faster than spending ten minutes on a physical activity you dread.
Having one focus of simplifying your life will make room for countless positive changes. Let this New Year take you in a gratifying and joyous direction!
Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol on WTPL-FM. Her company, Health Design, helps businesses significantly reduce costs and increase productivity by prioritizing health, wellness, and safety practices. Health Design is a SHRM Recertification Provider. Based in Manchester, NH, she can be reached through her website at www.HealthDesignNH.com.