My New Year’s Resolution Wish for You

If feeling better in your body is one of your New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to skip the diets, detoxes, ridiculous rules and rigid regimens.

Instead, resolve to be kind to your body.

Really, truly kind.

Here’s what body kindness might look like for you:

  • Giving your body enough rest and sleep.
     
  • Moving your body in a joyful way (no punishing, compensatory or boring workouts).
     
  • Speaking to your body—and about your body—with respect, appreciation, compassion and tenderness.
     
  • Honoring your body’s internal cues of hunger and fullness.
     
  • Eating foods that equally satisfy your body’s need for nutrients and pleasure.
     
  • Dressing your body in clothes that are comfortable and make you feel fabulous.
     
  • Immersing your body in nature, nourishing it with sunshine and fresh air.
     
  • Relaxing your body with deep breathing, meditation, acupuncture, a massage, bubble bath, etc.
     
  • Thanking your body every day for everything it does for you (like breathing!).

Staying on Track
To stay on track with this resolution, when making a decision that will impact your wellbeing, pause and simply ask yourself: Am I being kind to my body?

For example:

  • I want to watch another episode, but it would mean losing an hour of sleep. 
     
  • I should skip breakfast since I ate a big dinner yesterday, even though my stomach is growling.
     
  • Running aggravates my knee, but I must do it to control my weight.
     
  • I think I'll eat lunch at my desk while answering email and scrolling through social media.
     
  • I'm compelled to join in when my friends criticize their bodies; it's how we bond. 
     
  • I’m not hungry but I want to eat chips/cookies/candy to alleviate my stress.

Remember, if you truly want to feel good in your body, kindness is always the answer.

Resolving to Adopt New Habits? Use this Mantra...

In my early 20s, my cooking was pretty much limited to:

  • boiling water for pasta and mixing the noodles with store-bought sauce
  • heating up a can of tomato soup while making a grilled-cheese sandwich 
  • toasting a bagel and dipping it into microwaved spaghetti sauce
  • shoving a frozen cheese pizza in the oven
  • pouring a bowl of cereal

When I moved to San Francisco 16 years ago, my boyfriend and I got hooked on Jamie Oliver’s cooking show, The Naked Chef. While I loved watching Jamie whip up mouth-watering meals, I wasn’t as inspired as my boyfriend was to actually take what we were learning from the couch to the kitchen.

Although I enjoyed looking at the sumptuous photos in Jamie’s cookbooks, I was daunted by the recipes, overwhelmed by the unfamiliar ingredients, equipment and techniques. They were really quite basic (e.g., coriander, mortar and pestle, blanching), however they seemed exotic and complicated to me. I couldn’t be bothered. It all seemed like so much…work.

I knew, however, that I needed to step up my cooking skills and let go of my college way of eating. So, eventually, I joined my boyfriend in his cooking experiments. And, wouldn't you know it, I evolved into a passionate home cook.

It Looked So Much Easier
Learning how to cook better was definitely not as easy as Jamie made it look. I had to seek out ingredients I’d never heard of and suffer from embarrassment when I mispronounced them to store clerks. I had to buy new cookware. There were more plates to wash and pots to scrub. And, of course, I had to deal with the disappointment when a recipe flopped.

All of this inconvenience, however, was temporary--and, it undoubtedly led to permanent improvement. I started eating more varied, wholesome and pleasurable fare. I discovered an unexpected outlet for alleviating stress and expressing creativity. And, I developed a deep commitment to supporting my local farmers and producers.

The Initial Pain of Change 
As we embark on a new year, many of us are resolving to change our ways, whether it’s to eat less sugar, cook more dinners, drink less booze, start working out or meditate daily.

And, for most of us, adopting these new habits will be hard, uncomfortable and inconvenient at times, like getting out of your cozy, warm bed before sunrise to exercise, dealing with the pain of sore muscles, cooking dinner instead of ordering takeout, or forgoing your 3 p.m. sugar fix or nightly glass of wine. Not always easy, I know.

When you find yourself faltering and hitting bumps in the road, I encourage you to think of this very helpful statement that's often posted on construction signs:

"Temporary Inconvenience, Permanent Improvement"

Make this your mantra. It will motivate you to stick with it by reminding you that the initial "pain" that often accompanies positive behavior change is often short-term, absolutely endurable and totally worth it.

6 Tips for Sticking to Your Yearly Theme

In my last post, I shared the idea of selecting a yearly theme instead of making New Year's resolutions.

With our busy lives, it's easy to forget our intention so I've gathered a few tips to help you stay on track and put your theme into practice. 

1. Journal About It
Journal about what your theme means to you. Reflect on how it will impact your thoughts, behaviors and actions. Consider how all aspects of your life (e.g., health, relationships, career, finances, etc.) will change if you live in accordance with your theme.

2. Question It
Craft a check-in question that will keep your thoughts and actions in alignment with your theme. For example, if your theme is "joy," ask yourself, "Will this experience/ action/person/thing bring me joy?" Or, if it's "health," you could ask, "Does this thought/action/person/thing promote or demote my health?

3. Post It
Stick reminder notes on your fridge, mirror, computer, desk, steering wheel, cookie jar, etc.

4. Schedule It
Schedule a daily, weekly or monthly reminder in your calendar to check in with yourself and assess how well you're living in alignment with your theme.

5. Visualize It
Create a vision board with a collage of images that represent your theme and hang it on your fridge, in your office, above your bed, etc. 

6. Support It
Seek support and accountability from a partner, friends, family members, mentor, therapist or coach.

And, lastly, consider tattooing it on your forehead. :)

To Your Best Year Yet!