Every New Year is full of opportunity! New Year’s Resolutions help you to define new directions for reaching your highest potential throughout the coming months. But, the big changes you make are going to be the product of the small changes you make consistently, every day. And we have some ideas to help set you up for success.
Arising to the Occasion
The tone of your day begins as soon as you wake into consciousness, making the first moments of your day vital to creating a feeling of empowerment and hope. May we suggest:
Breathing—deep breathing (inhale to the count of 7, hold to the count of 4, exhale to the count of 8…or something like that)—for a full two minutes before you throw back the covers, plant your feet on the floor and make your way to the shower.
Yoga—once you’re out of bed, strike a few poses—five to ten minutes of a mixture of restorative (like child’s pose and rag doll) and invigorating (who doesn’t love a Warrior sequence in the morning?!) poses or just a couple rounds of Sun Salutations to get the blood flowing, focus on your breath and experience your stress-free body.
Intentions—now that you’re awake and present, what would you like to do today? Take a few minutes (really, only about five more minutes before you hit the shower) to define in writing what you intend to accomplish during the day…and be specific. Don’t cop out behind statements like “I intend to have a good day.” Clarify what a good day means: “I intend to contribute the discussion of how to balance the budget in today’s meeting and leave work no later than 5:15 so that I can make it to cardio kickboxing class.”
Affirmations—you’re more likely to fulfill your daily intentions when you feel emotionally and spiritually supported, and you can offer that support to yourself through daily affirmations. It may feel odd at first, but reaffirming your beauty and place in the world will become more natural with time. Just make sure that your affirmations are always stated in the positive—there’s a world of difference between telling yourself “You don’t look half bad today” as “You are beautiful and ready to greet the world with a smile today!”
During the Day
Now that you’ve prepared yourself physically and mentally to meet the challenges and experience the blessings of the bigger world, why not really try greeting it with a smile? That’s our first suggestion to keeping up the positive energy you generated in the morning:
Smile before you walk through any door. (We’re pretty sure you’re going to be amazed at how much nicer and more receptive people are to you after a few days, maybe weeks, of this new practice!)
While the facial muscle tugs are uplifting, most of us need a little more to get us back to the empowered, energized feeling we had before we left the house. To nurture yourself throughout the day:
Take a real lunch hour. Get away from your desk, maybe even your colleagues, and do something—savor the flavors and textures again from last night’s dinner; take a walk, ideally barefoot in the grass (if it’s safe and the weather’s cooperative); finally call your college roommate who you’ve been meaning to catch up with for the last six months (even if she’s not available, at least she knows you’re thinking about her). Whatever you do is up to you…it’s just important to take time where you get to not work (and that means not running errands, too!).
Check into your breathing—set an alarm if you have to, but every few hours, take time to observe your breathing. Are you nearing hyperventilation? Are you holding your breath and clenching your jaw? Whatever it is you’re doing—reset. Take two more minutes to do the breathing exercise you did before you left your cozy bed.
Hug—experts on mental and emotional health are suggesting that to fight depression, anxiety and foster a positive self-concept, you need eight hugs every day. Hugs are powerful at the same time you are being nurtured, you are nurturing someone else, too…so get hugging!
Before You Go to Bed
Sleep is vital for rejuvenation and repair of your tissues (including your skin) and stress management. You can prepare yourself for a restful night’s sleep (and a good morning full of opportunities to be who you want to be) by:
Using aromatherapy—provide your body with the aromatic signals that it’s time and that you are in a place where you can relax and unwind. Some of our favorites include lavender, chamomile, sandalwood and jasmine. (Avoid stimulating scents like citrus, spices and mints.)
Practicing gratitude—before you close your eyes on another day, take a few minutes to reflect on five things—people, events, possessions, etc.—that you are grateful for. Write them down so that you have a record of your blessings that you can revisit on a “rainy” day.
No matter what you resolved to be or do this year, you can make 2013 the year that your resolutions stick by cultivating an empowered, loving approach to yourself and the world. If you have other ideas, tell us on Facebook!