New Year, new start. This little mantra is ingrained into our collective consciousness, and come January 1st, most of us will have a couple of New Year resolutions up our sleeves that we hope will have a transformational affect in the coming year. Whilst I wholly believe in using the start of a new year as an opportunity to better oneself, I do think that to make the most of this time people need to be realistic with their goals.
Each year many of us, filled with great intentions, will set unattainable goals and after a couple of weeks they will be forgotten (until next year at least). To implement real change in your life, you need to start small. Setting yourself one, maybe two, small changes in your day-to-day life is entirely manageable and achievable, and WILL give results. In this blog, I want to not only explain the value of making small incremental changes, but also offer a few little tips on changes that can steer you towards a more balanced and healthy lifestyle as we enter the new decade.
Making Your Bed Every Morning
The small and seemingly insignificant task of making your bed each morning is one of the simplest things you can do to revitalise your day-to-day life. Perhaps the best advocator of this habit is Naval Admiral, William McRaven. In his commencement speech in 2014, Admiral McRaven shared his thoughts on the matter:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another...by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself. The sense of accomplishment you feel after making your bed each morning has a ripple effect into other parts of your day. Just by making up your bed (it doesn’t have to look like a cover of Good Living, just neat and un-rumpled) the entire room instantly looks pulled together, creating a subtle sense of tranquillity and competence which will release tension you may have been holding on to and lighten your mood. After all, tidy room = tidy mind. Getting into this habit will also bring a little structure and routine to your day, something which has been proven to balance us as human beings.
Switching Your Morning Coffee for a Cup of Herbal Tea
This small habit change may be a little more challenging for those of us who are fuelled by caffeine each morning. While not imminently bad for you, over time, increased consumption can be harmful to your body (especially if you take milk and sugar!) Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system – this can present as an increase in heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and a number of other things. Caffeine works on a chemical level to block adenosine — a neurotransmitter that triggers relaxation; your morning coffee could inadvertently be playing upon your anxieties and stresses.
Switching to a herbal tea, such as green or peppermint, in the morning, as opposed to a heavily caffeinated and often milky coffee, will give your CNS a break and if you take milk and sugar, reduce your calorie intake. Tea leaves do contain naturally occurring caffeine, and therefore this switch will have you feeling naturally more energised and refreshed throughout the day without any of the negative side effects. It might also encourage you to start making healthier choices in other areas of your life too! Start small, and work your way up.
Veg Comprises 1/2 of Your Plate
Of the three tips I’m offering today, this will be the hardest to maintain. If your New Year’s resolutions revolve around getting healthier or dieting, this is one of the best ways to ensure you’re sticking to a healthier food plan. If you commit to making sure that 1/2 of your plate is comprised of veg, you can be assured that you will be consuming the recommended daily amount, as well as striking a good balance of food groups which is essential when it comes to a healthy diet. Another benefit of this method is that you don’t have to rule out foods you enjoy. People tend to fall off the health bandwagon because they’re tempted by their favourites. This way, you can enjoy your favourites, but they are balanced with healthy and nutritional alternatives. Again, the key here is making small and manageable changes to your normal routine.
Wellness and Nutritional Advice
As a nutritional therapist, I see people every day who are committed to rejuvenating their diet and their lifestyle. My biggest piece of advice to every one of my clients is: start small. Just making one small change, whether that is making your bed every morning, or ensuring half of your plate is comprised of green goodness, it is a change that is manageable, and it is a change that is therefore stuck to. From here, more and more healthy changes will click into place naturally, and eventually that one small change will have catalysed a life changing transformation. If you want some more advice on making some small changes to your daily routine, please get in touch today for one of my free discovery calls.