1. Create Mini Goals
Don’t start this year with a broad New Years Resolution. You know, the resolution that isn’t specific and part of you already knows you won’t follow through on. There is an art to goal making as well as a certain psychology we don’t appreciate. It’s more important to complete a small goal, than only partially complete a large goal. When we repeatedly fail to reach our goals we reinforce a psychological behavioral pattern that sets us up for future failures. What is your main goal? Write it down. Now, break it into smaller mini-goals you know you can easily accomplish. Be specific. Each time you reach a mini-goal you reinforce a pattern of success. Each mini-goal is a victory that breeds confidence to tackle the next.
2. Try Something New Every Month
It’s important to break out of old patterns and try something new from time to time. New experiences are our catalysts for personal growth. Every month plan on checking out a new restaurant you saw on the way home, check out that concert you heard was coming to town or take a class that teaches a hobby you find interesting. Watch your world expand.
3. Think Less, Do More
I think Yoda once said, in his backward way of speaking, “There is no think, only do.” Most of us tend to think too much and act too little. We tend to distract ourselves by endless fact gathering followed by a never ending pro/con debate. Sometimes when we are trying to put a plan into action we over analyze. We gather so much information to make our decision that we are too overwhelmed to mentally move. They call this Analysis Paralysis. Don’t let it happen to you! Remember, nothing is going to ever be quite perfect, so just make a decision and go with it. Let it ride. Make adjustments as you go. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
4. Attitude of Gratitude & Gratitude Journal
One of the largest factors for happiness is the amount of gratitude one has in their heart. Gratitude is a sincere appreciation and gratefulness for things in your life. Don’t think you have anything to be grateful for? Of course you do. You have plenty. You need to cultivate that gratitude. You can do this by keeping a Gratitude Journal. Write 3 things you are grateful for in your Gratitude Journal at the end of each day. Don’t just think about what you should be grateful for, you need to connect emotionally and really feel that sincere thankfulness. Small or big… doesn’t matter. Go further and challenge yourself to write down why you are grateful for a friend and then call them up and share. You’ll be amazed at the effect.
5. Plan A Trip With Friends or Family
Family, friends and the relationships we enjoy are paramount to our overall well-being. Nurture and maintain these relationships by planning a fun vacation or simple outing with a group of friends or family members. Experience something new together, reconnect and laugh. It will charge your spiritual batteries and boost your gratitude and happiness.
6. Meditate 10 Minutes Every Day
Meditation not only relieves stress, anxiety and a blue mood but it also sharpens the mind, opens personal awareness and has been proven to help you perform tasks better. You don’t need to sit in some fancy, eastern lotus position or anything exotic. You can simply sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, close your eyes, relax, focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale and clear your mind. Thoughts will pop in… just brush them away. You’ll get better at keeping the thoughts from intruding. Meditation is a great way to start the day or regather your wits during a stressful day. Enjoy all the benefits of meditation!
7. Balance Your Brain
Do you tend to always think concrete and logically? You are probably mostly a left brain thinker and would benefit from adding some activities that exercise the abstract, right side of your brain. Try drawing, painting, singing, playing a musical instrument or just letting your imagination wander while you listen to music. Do you tend to be emotional, artistic, a little scatter-brained and a bit of a dreamer? You are probably mostly a right brain thinker and would benefit from adding some activities that exercise the logical, left side of your brain. Try a few Sudoku puzzles, reading an interesting non-fiction topic, or find a controversial subject and list your arguments for your position. Many of us have a blend of both but we can become imbalanced. Strike that equilibrium!
8. Create Your Own Superhuman Supplement Blend
Taking a multi-vitamin and a few supplements is an easy way to boost your body’s nutrition and optimum functioning. Everyone has slightly different needs so research what supplements you need to take to remedy what you lack in or what you want to boost. In addition to a good multivitamin, here’s a great supplement cocktail everyone can benefit from. Take after food.
9. Give More Hugs
It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that physical affection makes us feel good but many of us don’t know how far the benefits go. When we hug someone our brain releases serotonin and oxytocin. These two happy chemicals strengthen the bond between two people, make us feel happy and also make us feel more secure. Our immune system also responds to hugs. It’s like a magical GO! signal for enhanced immunity. So make sure you’re getting your hugs in!
10. Read For Leisure
A recent study conducted at the University of Sussex found that reading fiction is actually better at calming our nerves than listening to music, taking a walk or having a cup of tea. In fact, the study found that reading reduced stress by an enormous 68%. Reading effectively reduced heart rate and stress levels after only 6 minutes of reading. Not bad. Reading is also a great activity to relax the mind before bed, for good sleep hygiene. Add it to your before-bed regimen.
11. Expect Less, Give More
In our society we expect a lot and often times don’t give nearly as much as we think we do. Most problems and arguments arise from unmet expectations. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be some basic, realistic standards within our relationships but let them be just that… basic. I’m also speaking mostly about personal relationships not business or work relationships. When we let go of expecting things from our friends, family and significant others we begin to appreciate and enjoy the things they do for us to a much higher degree when we receive them. Everyone is happier. Try to love and give without expecting anything in return. It will transform your world.
12. Get A Massage Every Month
We store of lot of our stress, worries and fears deep in our muscle tissues. Men tend to stores theirs more in the neck and shoulders while women in the hips. Get a deep tissue massage at least once a month to release this tension and negative energy. Massage stimulates blood flow, removes toxins, enhances immune function, relieves anxiety and depression, improves sleep, relieves digestive issues, increases alertness, relieves headaches and body pain… the list goes on. During the process we feel relaxed and afterward we begin to feel revitalized. Massage is even being covered by many health insurances now.
13. Connect Spiritually Each Week
Spiritual connection doesn’t have to be religious. All I mean by connecting spiritually is finding something that provides you a deeper or larger connection. It could be time spent in the woods, personal reflection by a lake, fishing, star-gazing, a church service or even getting lost in a philosophical idea. Whatever brings you spiritual nourishment, or in other words, fills your soul with a deep sense of appreciation, connection, reverence and awe. Provide yourself an activity of this nature at least once a week. You’ll find it calming and help you conduct your life from a better vantage point.
14. Fast Once A Month
Once a month give your digestive track a break and do a water or juice fast. A simple thing like not eating for one day a month has enormous health benefits. Everything that we are made of as a human being is assimilated from the food we get from our gut. If its not working right we aren’t incorporating quality ingredients for our body to construct us. You aren’t what you eat… you are what you digest and absorb. Your GI tract is constantly working and it’s easy to get it gunked up over time. By giving it a break, your body can do a little maintenance and repair; a little detox and destressing. Also, try to do a cleanse this year. One of the oldest and most common is the Master Cleanse. Read more about it here. Fasting and cleanses can provide mental clarity, revitalized energy, detoxification and a positive outlook.
15. Clean Out Your Closet
Literally and figuratively, clean out your closet. When we are surrounded by clutter our minds naturally pick up on this environmental cue and it feels cluttered and scattered as well. Make your environment clean and tidy. Also, go through your belongings and make a Goodwill bag for anything you no longer need. You’ll feel lighter after you do. Emotionally and mentally let go of past grievances, issues and other things that weigh you down. Read this article on attachment and letting go for a little food for thought.
16. Plan But Don’t Control
John Lennon gave us that great quote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” It’s good to think things through and make well laid out plans but life is going to throw you curve balls. We have to face it; we can’t control everything. When things don’t quite go according to plan, don’t let it bring your whole world down. Greet the challenge with an expectant smile and adjust accordingly.
17. Start Each Day Drinking 2 Cups of Water
First thing out of bed, start your day by drinking 2 cups of water… warm water if you can. This energizes the bowels, organs and metabolic systems. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water throughout the day too. Approximately half a gallon to a gallon of water a day is a good healthy range. Your body will thank you and you’ll feel much better.
18. Exercise You Enjoy
Exercise at least 20 minutes 2 to 3 times a week but choose something you actually ENJOY. If you hate running then figure out something else to get you in motion and elevate that heart rate. Play racquetball with a friend, swim, play pick-up games of basketball, ride your bike, take a hip hop class… you get the point. Exercise can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be a complete chore. It should be enjoyable.
19. Donate 1 Hour Weekly
Donate 1 hour of your time to some form of charity or community service activity. You can walk dogs at the Pet Shelter, volunteer at one of the local soup kitchens or organize a food or clothing drive. When we freely give of ourselves in this capacity we are happier and we will find many blessings naturally start to manifest in our lives.
20. Customize A Healthy Diet
Tailor a specific, healthy diet to your tastes. You don’t have to choke down what the latest health blog or Dr. Oz told you. Take a list of healthy foods and pick out what you like and what makes you feel good. Look for some recipes to liven things up a bit. And don’t get intimidated by the word ‘recipe’ (especially guys). Most recipes are only a few ingredients and few easy steps. We aren’t making 5 star Master Chef cuisine here. Prepare food in advance and place in easy to seal and carry containers to conveniently take to work, events, etc.
21. Eat Dark Leafy Greens Daily
I’m sure you’ve heard this tired speech 100 times but I’ll give it again anyway. Dark leafy greens are alkaline forming foods that keep your waist slimmer, your immune system at top defense and leaves you feeling better. I agree, sometimes getting in these vegetables is difficult, especially the recommended servings. I recommend making it a little easier on yourself by adding a supplement like Super Green Formula to a yogurt and berry based smoothie once a day. It’s a quick, easy remedy to the situation and just watch how much better you’ll feel after just a week!
22. Daily Positive Affirmation(s)
Definition of affirmation: “The assertion that something exists or is true.” Personal affirmations are statements we repeat to ourselves to affirm, and psychologically instill, certain life circumstances or personal qualities. Let’s say someone has low self-esteem they’re trying to improve. First, you must state personal affirmations in the present tense, as if they already exist. Second, you must state them in a positive context. You would not say, “I don’t have low self-esteem.” You would say, “I am a confident person.” These embed themselves into the conscious and subconscious mind to help manifest the desired outcome. Associating symbols or imagery along with the affirmation is even more powerful. Make your own personal affirmations or get ideas from a good book.
23. Eat Less Processed Food
We all know the drill but instead of just saying yeah, yeah, I’ll eat less processed food, make a game plan to avoid it. You can prepare meals in advance for portability and convenience. You can add those dark leafy greens and implement more whole foods which will naturally decrease your desire for those preservative loaded, highly processed foods. You’ll be feeling better and with more energy in no time!
24. Overcome A Fear A Month
Fear is a natural and beneficial adaptation but sometimes we let a healthy fear balloon into an irrational fear. Sometimes we let social fears keep us from trying the things we’d love to try the most. Tackle each fear one baby step at a time. Have a fear of spiders? Become comfortable with photos, then replicas, then a real spider contained in a mason jar. Afraid of public speaking? Join a Toastmasters chapter and sit in on a few meetings until you feel more comfortable, then add your opinion during topic discussions and finally give a short speech and go from there. Break down overcoming your fears into bite sized increments.
25. Bookmark DoctorScottHealth.com
Bookmark this website and visit us at least once a week ; )