New Year's resolutions tend to trod the same old paths: eat better, lose weight, exercise.
These goals, though incredibly important, carry a lot of old baggage for most. There's nothing new or exciting here to grab our brain's attention. There may be plenty of memories of failure, shame and desperation around similar attempts in the past to sour our new efforts. Our self-talk (if we were aware of it) might be peppered with criticisms and attacks on our self, our abilities, and our commitment. Yeesh, at this point, you may have arrived 30 days early at your ultimate New Year's resolution destination: nowhere different.
This year, why not try something new? Set yourself up for success in the new year by turning your attention NOW to the root of the problem: how overwhelmed, crummy, and uninspired you feel.
Do something about these 3 areas, and within 1-2 months the eating, weight, and exercise changes you initially wanted will be on the menu as real possibilities.
Here are my 3 best tips for treating yourself like a human being at the start of 2018 - a great way to actually make some headway with your health goals.
Make a list. Writing down what is giving you conniptions takes a swirling tornado of ambiguous worry and makes it concrete - and manageable. If you aren't sure if something should be on your list, ask yourself, "If that wasn't happening, how would I feel?" If you'd immediately feel better, it IS something you want to tame - so put it on the list. Then, write down 1 step you could take in each area to begin to manage it. Do one of those things in the next 24 hours, and watch the fog of overwhelm begin to lift. Rinse and repeat until you're feeling in control and less stressed about that area, then tackle another. Write it down, identify a small step forward, do it without delay. You've got this.
2 Feeling crummy
Start with sleep. Most adults need 7-8 hours. Many watch TV, streaming video, or are on electronic devices until they fall asleep which may reduce the quality of sleep we do get. Give yourself the gift of an extra 30-45 minutes of sleep, and stop the electronics at least an hour before bed FOR A WEEK and notice how much better you feel.
Make sure you're drinking enough water. If you're drinking sweet drinks, immediately replace at least EVERY OTHER ONE with water. Build hydration into your routine - keep a water bottle or large glass near you at all times, and keep drinking. Do this for a week and notice how much better the hydrated yet un-sugared you feels!
Nourish yourself. If you are constantly having junky snacks throughout the day, pick 3 healthy go-to snacks (15 unsalted nuts, a fruit, a 0 sugar added Greek yogurt, some baby carrots/red pepper/ green beans) and substitute them in for a week and notice how different you feel. If you have dessert for breakfast (donut, pastry, muffin, pancakes, sweet cereal, sweet breakfast bar), have unflavored oatmeal with berries and a few nuts, or a veggie omelet without added fats, or true whole wheat toast with a T of peanut butter or 1/2 smashed avocado for a week and notice how much better you feel. If you get busy and skip meals, plan the weekend before and gift yourself one week of eating at least 2 meals and a healthy snack each day, and notice how much junk you are able to avoid and how much better you feel.
3. Feeling blah and uninspired
You may have already noticed your days shifting from black and white to technicolor as you've slept a little more, hydrated, and focused on nourishing your body. A few more things to try:
Get moving. Our mood improves as we move our bodies - plan a morning walk, or take 15 minutes at lunch for a stroll, or get back to yoga or dance. Don't get stuck on what you DON'T like - pick a way to move that intrigues or engages or soothes you.
Don't rest until you've identified SOMETHING that really fires, you up, that you love but haven't been doing recently, or that sounds cool that you've never tried. This could be a hobby, visiting with a friend you rarely see anymore, getting out in nature, hosting get-togethers, taking an art class, learning a language, training for a 5K or joining a bookclub or zumba class.
Ready. Set. Go.
Allow yourself to be center stage in your life and treat yourself like the awesome, one-of-a-kind human being you are in the first months of 2018. Then see yourself reach and even surpass your New Year's resolutions for weight loss, eating better, and exercise - with a lighter heart and a smile on your face!
Happy 2018 from Cheat Diabetes!
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