Here we are again: days into the start of a New Year, the cushion of holiday indulgences straining our waistlines, reminders of the self-control we lacked for weeks (or possibly months). Leftover cookies litter the counters, and dusty hand weights sit neglected in our home gyms. We know we should put on sneakers and head outside for a run, but the call of the couch beckons, the incomplete to-do list nags our minds, and the thought of the cold air stinging our lungs keeps us stationary.
A new year always brings a renewed sense of hope, while the end of the last curdles with hindsight and perceived failures. I know personally I tend to set sights too high, and then feel tremendous frustration when the path takes unexpected turns that do not lead me to where I envisioned. It’s human nature to hunger for more than we can deliver, more than we have or can create.
So how do we reconcile this disappointment with the surge of a new beginning in 2018?
I have no fool-proof answers, or magic shortcuts to weight-loss or wellness. Ultimately, success lies in your dedication to make it happen. But I do have steps that can help us each get off on the right tract, and hopefully carry us through the challenges and setbacks that life will inevitably throw our way.
Here are a few simple strategies that will reap great rewards over the course of the next year.
S-P-A-R-K in 2018
It is often the things that seem insignificant that become the greatest springboard for change over time. What is one small step and goal you can set that will give you momentum into a healthier lifestyle and happier you? Do you rely on a soda in the morning at your desk? Try gradually reducing that habit with substitutions and additions of healthier snacks and drinks. Can you spare 10 minutes on a break to do wall push-ups and body-weight squats? Even a simple habit like this can build into something greater over time.
When it comes to change and redirection, it is not what you do 10% of the time that matters, it’s what you do 90% of the time. Practice repetition of your small habit. When you catch yourself longing to ignore or brush it off, stop and remind yourself that this step will give you the foundation for the next step and the next. When you slip up and make a choice counter to your goals, return to your simple habit and value the practice of consistency most of the time. Practice may not make perfect. But practice makes consistency possible.
Advocate for yourself
You are a priority. Your needs and goals are a priority. When you start advocating for your own wellbeing and your goals, you make space for change to happen. If you are constantly putting yourself aside for others, and neglecting your needs, you wear yourself down and cannot offer your best to anyone or anything. This new year, start being your own advocate. What it is YOU need to feel better?
Rest and rejuvenate
Continual mental and physical energy forward requires recovery time. Even from small bouts of repeated self-control exercises, you need to award yourself the time and space to rest. Reconnecting with your spiritual health can be a profound way to rejuvenate in times of stress and intense attention.
Know your long term goal
How would your year shape up differently if you framed your choices around your long-term goal and dream for yourself? If you wake each day with your vision in mind, and your action steps in place to consciously create the reality you desire? Keeping your long term goal for yourself in the forefront of you daily decision making can radically redirect your life and your health. Who do you want to be in 2018, and how can you take small steps each day to make that person your reality?
As we head into a fresh new year filled with great potential and possibilities, I hope you can keep these simple strategies in mind to reignite your “SPARK” for your health and wellbeing.
Today, I challenge you to write a brief mantra and reminder for your first small step to begin. How will this year start off different than others? What will set your year up for accumulative success that does not stall at January’s end?
Let 2018 be the year for your wellbeing.