By Dr. Frank Lipman and the Be Well Team
Resolutions. So many of us make them, break them and then throw in the towel till next year rolls around. For many it’s a disheartening ritual. Frankly, I think the idea of resolutions is somewhat outdated. Instead of making big, hard, doomed-to-fail resolutions, let’s break ‘em down, call them “life tweaks,” and commence making a few little adjustments every day. Look at what’s not working or dragging your body or spirit down and then start the break up process, like ending a bad relationship. If going cold turkey works better for you, then by all means do so. No matter how you go about it, the idea is to start letting go of stuff that undermines your body or soul. And if you backslide, acknowledge it as a minor slip-up, not a major derailment, just get back on track and keep moving forward. In other words, let’s bid farewell to the old-school notion of resolutions and embrace those small changes and life tweaks that over the course of a year add up to major life improvements.
For a little inspiration, here’s a round-up of the “life tweaks” that the amazing Be Well team and I will be working on in the months ahead:
Dr. Frank Lipman
Meditation’s benefits are legion, and I try to do it every day, but I plan to consolidate my practice, and do 20-30 minutes of sitting meditation, first thing in the morning, right when I get out of bed. Sitting and focusing on my breath always leaves me feeling more calm, clear, centered and ready to take on the day.
And not just by relying on Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart to make me laugh, but laughing more in everyday life. Laughter has tremendous healing properties. Adding humor to our daily activities is fun, free and easy to do – so sign me up!
Eat more fat.
Yes, you read that right. I plan on giving good fats, like those from coconut oil, coconut cream, olive oil, nut butters and butter from grass fed-cows, a much bigger role in my diet. And in 2014 I will encourage others to do the same. This is the year to help our culture let go of the idea that fat is bad for you and get folks to embrace good fats!
I know I can commit to making one change, one month at a time – so that’s my plan for 2014. Breaking it down into smaller, 30- day increments, making change feel less overwhelming. And besides, I love the idea of a fresh challenge every month!
Practicing “right speech.”
In Buddhism, there are some helpful tenets of right speech — that which is true, beneficial and pleasing to others. It’s so easy to stray from these, but it never feels good. For January, my first life tweak will be to practice right speech and check in on my progress every Sunday. As Kris Carr says, you have to pay attention to what you put in your mouth and what comes out of it!
Katrine van Wyk
Breaking up with sugar.
Instead of vague goals like “eating healthier” or “work out more,” my life tweaks need to be specific, so this January I’m letting go of sugar for the month – and possibly beyond. Pregnancy and breast-feeding brought on some serious sweet cravings, but now it’s time to say, “Hey, the sugar party is over,” and move on without it. Funny thing is, I’m really looking forward to not “needing” sugar anymore.
Learning to go with the flow.
So much stress and anxiety comes from the pressure I put on myself, so I’ve decided to let myself off the hook! I’ve learned that when I relax more and stop pushing so hard, life flows more easily. In 2014, I’ll be learning to take my foot off the gas more often and ask myself which of my “priorities” are really necessary, simplify accordingly, have more fun along the way and go with the flow.
Loosening caffeine’s grip.
I plan to rely on caffeine less, and hydrate more. Too much stimulation from caffeine, especially when I’m already tired, can really affect the adrenals and make me feel so much more fatigued, so it’s time to taper off. I’m going to crowd out caffeinated drinks and make lots more room for stabilizing, non-addicting, simply good-for-me H2O!
Greeting the day with energizing exercise.
Daily exercise always makes me feel terrific, but long days can make it tough to find time. In 2014, I’ll be waking up 20 minutes earlier to fit in some mini-trampoline jumping or living-room yoga on the days I know I won’t be getting to the gym.
Embracing the gift of sleep.
I love the quiet productivity and much-deserved downtime I get from staying up late, but boy, do I hate feeling groggy the next day. So my life tweak for 2014 is more of a sleep tweak: I am committing to getting 8 hours of sleep every night!
Sharing the love.
Living in New York City with a baby, this year I have experienced so many beautiful acts of generosity and kindness. They’ve inspired me so much so that for 2014, I’m making it my practice to be mindful of reflecting generosity back to others. Connecting with others through kind words or deeds that go above and beyond is not just nice for them, it also sows the seeds of profound happiness in our own lives, and so everybody wins.
Taking the time to slow down.
They say less is more, so in 2014, that’s exactly what I will be doing. Over the past few months, I’ve been spreading myself too thin, caring for my newborn and my toddler, getting back into shape after childbirth, and trying to focus on my business. Time to shake things up a little, so this year, I will be learning to prioritize more and slow down.
Making time for my physical health.
Exercise is a big part of my life. It makes me feel better both physically and mentally. Since I have limited time, I tend to fall into the rut of same exercise routines. This year, I’m going to set some new goals – like competing in my first triathlon! Not only will it keep me motivated, it will keep me moving in different ways.