This past year was full of ups and downs for me. Yes, I am human and just like so many others experience, it's not always a perfect life. I was doing so good early in the year with focusing on physical health and exercise to complement my accomplishments of building and maintaining a healthy mind. Then summer hit and I just went off on a tangent. I went off my exercise routine, ate really bad, drank too much on the weekends and gained most of the weight back that I had lost in the year prior. Then to top it all off, my birthday weekend (last weekend) I went overboard with the partying. I'd love to blame my son who just kept handing me drinks that tasted oh so good when I wasn’t in my right frame of mind, but I shouldn’t have gotten to that point so indeed it was my fault too (yes Curtis, I am publicly admitting it wasn't all your fault LOL). I spent my actual birthday in bed the entire day. I literally had a 24-hour hangover. I felt the worst I had in many years. So here I am, admitting to all of you I'm not perfect (although we are all perfect in our own way) and declaring to make some major changes this year and going forward.
Next year I’ll be 50 and I want more to show for my birthday than cake crumbs, burnt candles and a hangover. From this point out, I want each annual celebration to serve as a trigger to develop habits that contribute to a longer and healthier life.
Take a look at my plan and maybe you’ll consider joining me on this journey.
Habits to Enhance Your Mental Health
1. Let go of expectations. While many events may be beyond our control, we can decide how to respond to them. Welcome whatever comes our way and use our experiences to learn and grow.
I’m letting go of expectations I have of others. Their choices are theirs and theirs alone.
2. Give generously. Focusing on others brings more happiness into our life. Sharing time, expertise, and possessions with others is meaningful and fulfilling.
I’m donating more financially to well deserving charities
I’m going to hold more low cost and free coaching workshops to help others on their journeys. Starting this month with the Habits That Relieve Stress Online Workshop on Wednesday, October 27th 7pm EST.
3. Practice forgiveness. It’s time to take a load off our minds by giving up any grudges or resentments. It’s time to wish others well even when we disagree with their actions. And we can’t forget to show compassion for ourselves as well.
I personally don’t hold any grudges or resentments any longer against anyone. I learned how to let that shit go years ago and now teach others to do the same in my Massive Mindset Shift® 12 week intensive coaching program.
I’m forgiving myself for the damage I’ve done to myself over the past months and doing what it takes to get back on track!
4. Develop a hobby. Putting leisure time to good use is super important. We can’t waste time watching TV all day or scrolling through social media for hours on end.
I’m vowing to read more this year. Reading will help improve brain connectivity, increase my vocabulary and comprehension, and prevents cognitive decline as I age.
If you follow suit, you can even reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate and even fight depression symptoms.
5. Communicate directly. It’s time to start expressing our true thoughts openly and tactfully. Offering constructive feedback. Asking for what we desire and require.
I hope my courage will help others to do the same.
6. Deepen relationships. It’s time to start concentrating on the quality of relationships. Making time for family and meaningful conversations with old friends.
I’m going to pick one family member or old friend each week to reach out to just to say hi and let them know I’ve been thinking about them.
7. Look on the bright side. List the things you are grateful for and start each day by giving thanks for your blessings. When we’re feeling challenged, we need to think of what we have to gain.
I have a gratitude journal and until just now, I didn’t realize that I haven’t been consistent with this. It’s time to get back on track here also.
8. Meditate and pray. Take care of your spiritual side. Follow your faith tradition or invent rituals that are meaningful for you.
I say my prayers every night. Meditation is another area I stopped focusing on as summer hit. I used to meditate everyday before I exercised and as the exercise stopped, so did my meditation practice. Wow, self-reflection here “could this be why I spiraled?” Totally, time to get back on track here.
Habits to Enhance Your Physical Health
1. Exercise regularly. It’s so important to keep our bodies strong and limber. We should aim to work out for at least a half hour three days a week. Finding a variety of activities you enjoy will help you stay motivated.
Before summer hit I did yoga 2-3 times a week and walked at least a mile on alternating days. Totally putting my best foot forward here again!
2. Move around. Building more physical activity into common tasks helps in so many ways. Stand up when talking on the phone. Take a walk around your apartment, room, office every couple of hours.
I’m setting an alert on my computer so that I remember to stand up and move at least every other hour that I’m working. Time to stop sitting on my ass!
3. Sit up straight. Good posture requires no extra time out of our busy schedules. Straighten your back, lift your head, and lower your shoulders. This little adjustment helps us to instantly feel more alert and protects us from back pain.
4. Sleep well. Our bodies need good quality sleep and rest to keep running efficiently.
I vow to go to bed and wake up on a consistent schedule. Summer weekends totally threw me off here.
5. Eat a balanced diet. It’s time to stock up on nourishing whole foods. Fill your plate with fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Cut back on processed foods that are full of sugar and empty calories.
Last year I had cut down to half sandwiches at lunch and counted how many chips or crackers I had as a side. This year, I’ll be adding more salads to the diet and going back to counting the sides vs. mindlessly eating till I feel full.
6. Apply sunscreen. Putting on sunscreen year round instead of saving it just for summer and reapplying after sweating or swimming can help in the prevention of skin cancer.
Yup, as summer came to an end, I totally didn’t think about sunscreen and got a burnt forehead when we took the boat out for its last spin. Gotta remember this one!
7. See the doctor. What lifestyle changes would have the greatest impact? Maybe you want to quit smoking or lose weight. Maybe you want to manage your diabetes or reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
I used to go to the doc religiously for my annual check up. Since COVID hit, I haven’t gone. It’s time to get back, get my cholesterol checked, go for my annual skin screening and get all the other checks done to make sure I’m staying on track.