Breaking up (with old habits) is hard to do

The other day, I was working with a client on a food and mood journal (something I strongly recommend whether or not you’re looking to lose weight) and it made me think—especially in this season of overwhelm—about goals and resolutions.

We all know about SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. They’re basically precise data points that you set so you can stay on track and measure your progress. Over time, you realize, “hey, I can do this!”

But before you can be SMART, you have to be self-aware. Why are you setting these goals? What’s your motivation? Is it based on something someone else thinks is right? Or is it something you truly desire—and are willing to work hard for? Like so many things, unless you know the “why” behind the want, you’re just paying lip service.

Change is hard. Recognizing what you need to do to shed those limiting beliefs or get out of your comfort zone—or own way—is harder still. It’s scary. But with a mindful approach and some courage, change can be exhilarating.

Experimenting with a new you, envisioning success in a new way, and yes, keeping a journal, can be just the first step you need to becoming your best { self  } in 2018.

Do you have some old habits you’d like to change or kick to the curb? Please share in the comments below.

What’s your question for 2017?

It’s been quite a year. And for many of us, it’s good riddance to bad rubbish. We’re now hunkering down, devoting ourselves to hygge (life’s simple pleasures—the new trend according to the hip and happening) and hoping for the best. In short, it’s resolution season, a time of big thoughts and promises.

Rather than limiting ourselves to--and failing to achieve--these bold declarative statements (lose ten pounds, read more, volunteer), what if we posed our goals for the year as a question? How can I live more healthily? Learn something new? Bring comfort and hope to those in need?

Old school resolutions are like “shoulds.” They imply there’s only one path. Questions give you options. They foster creative thinking, new ways to get to where you want to go. Without the judgment or expectations of a specific outcome. Sometimes they lead you to an entirely different direction and a level of self-understanding that bring you more joy or lessons than you could imagine.

As for me, I’m asking myself “how can I be more open? More, um, vulnerable (my particular bête noire)? How can I connect to my truest self and build deeper connections with others? I’ll let you know how it goes.

So this year, take a breath, ask a question and then toast the new year and your best and happiest { self. }

P.S. Lots of new stuff coming in the coming year. So watch this space!

 

Get ready, go, set your intention

This time of year seems to bring out the Puritan in everyone. After the glorious excesses of the holiday season, it’s time to “repent” and turn away from rich food and drink and re-commit to healthier habits, greater mindfulness and good works.

While there’s something appealing about this mother of all fresh starts, keeping those resolutions going past January 31 takes some serious work. Some tips:

1. First, set your intention. Take some time to think about what you want to improve or change. Is it diet? Fitness (physical or fiscal)? Career? Your social life? Ask yourself why do you want to make this change? And why now? What’s your motivation? If you can understand what’s driving this decision, it’s easier to keep your resolve—and your eyes on the prize—when times get tough (and they will).

2. Don’t overpromise. It’s great to be aspirational, but be realistic. Rather than say, “I’m going to lose weight…find a new job…exercise every day…” break the bigger goal into smaller, more measurable and achievable steps (e.g. substitute water for soda, build stamina by walking more, find classes that can advance your career or develop new interests). Build on each goal and review your progress.

3. Stay accountable. To yourself, if no one else. A food/mood diary is an excellent way to track your appetite and the triggers that push you off course. A stream-of-consciousness morning journal frees your mind for the day and helps you identify behaviors you may want to change—or keep. As I tell my clients, I don’t have to see what you write but it’s in the writing that you find wisdom.

4. Forgive yourself if you don’t always make your goals. It’s not the mistake; it’s the recovery that counts. What happened, what did you do in response and what can you learn from this experience?

5. Reward yourself. Change is hard. And a little self indulgence (fresh flowers, a new mascara(!), a walk around the block, making time for a friend or hobby you love) can go a long way in restoring balance and joy.

We’ve resolved to bring you lots of new programs to help you find your best  { self  } in 2016. So stay tuned. And let us know what you hope to accomplish in the new year.