By Lisa Smalls
There is something about the start of new year that leads us to believe we must reinvent ourselves, vow to keep 437 commitments that will change us “for the better”, and make a laundry list of self-improvements that will lead us to live healthier more productive lives in 2019. By doing this, we already set ourselves up for failure. Because in reality, creating a list of resolutions, or should we say rules, can end up hurting us more than helping us, with every broken commitment resulting in another blow to our self-esteem.
So before you continue reading, let’s get one thing straight: today, right now, you are the best version of you. There is nothing about you that needs changing. You are as beautiful, strong and capable today as you will be tomorrow. That’s why we have decided to nix the term “resolution” and rather suggest five manifestations to consider in 2019. In other words, declarations that express desired areas of grow when it comes to health and wellness in the New Year.
The best part? It doesn’t take the dawning of a new year to desire to grow and evolve for the better. Whether it’s January 15th or October 12th, every day is a new day. The door is always open when it comes to self-growth.
So without further ado, here are three unexpected manifestations to consider when it comes to improving the health and wellbeing of your body this year:
1. Exercise your mind
This day in age, our lives take place on a screen. Most of us work on a screen, watch a screen when we get home, and sometimes purchase our household items on a screen. Although we can read online or solve puzzles from our computer, exercises that are helpful for our brain, research still shows screens are damaging our brains. In fact, our memory, attention span, emotional processing, and decision making skills are negatively impacted by our addiction to the internet.
Once when I was in college, I went home for the weekend to visit my family. When I got back to school, I realized I had left my iPhone in my hometown, an hour away. It wasn’t just my phone. It was my alarm clock, email, music for my walk to class, my entertainment for killing time while I waited in line for my coffee or the professor to begin his lessen.
I learned something amazing that week I didn’t have my phone. I begin to process all that had happened that day while I walked home from campus. I made observations while waiting for that cup of coffee that I would have missed if my head had been buried in my Instagram feed. I began to meditate on my morning walks and notice the beautiful houses on the street in which I lived. I read books which eased me to sleep rather than Facebook which stimulated my mind. It felt like for the first time, my mind wasn’t occupied—it could breathe. In 2019, I plan to unplug and exercise my mind so much more.
2. Listen to the needs of your body
Our bodies are powerful and intricate, and they deserve to be taken care of. In fact, they are excellent communicators. Hunger, pain, even exhaustion, are all sensations that communicate to us what our body needs. For something so fascinating and capable, it’s time we started listening to it. In 2019, learn to be more in tune with your body and what it is communicating to you. Fuel it with the right nutrients—which means occasionally committing to a sugar detox. Allow it to get adequate rest. That may mean learning to say no when your body is begging for a break or even investing in a new mattress because the only you have been sleeping on for 10+ years is causing you pain. Whatever it is your body needs, don’t be so quick to ignore what it is telling you.
3. Develop an attitude of thankfulness
Did you know gratitude has been scientifically proven to increase health, happiness, how we relate to others, and overall satisfaction with life. In fact, it goes hand in hand with learning to be mindful in its focus on the present and appreciation for what we have now, rather than wanting more and more. Choosing to be thankful may be the best thing you could ever do to take care of your mind and body. However, it’s not easy to combat our brain’s natural tendency to focus on threats and worries. Yet, there are plenty of habits you can develop to make thankfulness become more of a second nature rather than a conscious choice. Spend time in nature, meditate on the blessing in your life, think and surround yourself with people whom you love, and remember that our life and breath is a gift.
Remember, it doesn’t take a new year to decide to grow. Any time, any day, the door is always open to develop new habits you’d like to embrace.