How to Create Sustainable & Lifelong Change this New Year
This year, instead of focusing on flaws and what you think you need to change, try and focus on renewal. Take a moment to recognise what you have done well, what you are grateful for, and then where a reboot is needed to make 2017 your happiest and healthiest year, for both body and mind.
Love is the key to a meaningful life, and our capacity to love ourselves determines our happiness. We often forget this, and allow ourselves to be consumed by feelings of jealousy, resentment, hate, regret, grief and anger towards others and ourselves. Let’s celebrate the New Year not with superficial and short-lived intentions, but with the intention to forgive and forget, be more mindful and grateful, and fill our hearts with love and compassion for others and ourselves.
Set your intentions. Create a new morning ritual, and sit down with a cup of hot water and lemon and write down your intentions for the day in a journal. What do you want to accomplish today? What are you going to do for yourself today? What are you grateful for? Try to find gratitude in your life every single day - this will set you up for a much more positive day (and year) ahead.
Cultivate self-compassion. Learn how to stop comparing yourself to others, love your flaws and differences, and silences that judgmental and self-critical dialogue in your head always telling you that you don’t measure up. Learn how to practice self-compassion every single day. What are you grateful for? What do you love about yourself? As humans we are not perfect, and learn that that is OK. Build another voice in your inner world that is gentler, wiser and wants the best for you.
Practice self-care. Even if it’s only for 5 or 10 minutes, take some time out to be with yourself and do something you love every single day, no matter how hectic your schedule is. You need to learn that you aren’t superhuman, and that that’s OK. Learn to listen to your body and rest, and feel from your heart as opposed to always allowing your mind to be in control. Love yourself with good food and nutrition, gentle exercise and being with nature, and know that your body deserves it.
Don’t look at any screens one hour prior to bedtime. That means no Instagram, Facebook, and even Netflix. The blue light interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, disrupting sleep. Create a new evening ritual such as making a hot chocolate or cup of tea, and sitting down with your family to catch up on each other’s day, meditating or reading a book.
Ditch the processed sugar. You may already be saving the cake for birthdays and dessert for those dinner party’s and special occasions, but try taking a closer look at the amount of sugar you are consuming. Some of the not so obvious suspects include ketchup, mustard, salad dressings and other condiments. Why should you cut them out? Because they raise your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Making your own is a lot easier than you think; you can find recipes for our favourite wholefoods condiments here
Reduce your toxic load. There are so many small changes we can make in our daily lives that add up to bigger ones. In addition to being mindful about what you put in your body, there are some other simple things you can do at home to reduce the toxic load on your body. Such as choosing non-toxic cleaning products and skincare, growing your own herbs and vegetables, getting some indoor plants to purify the air around you, and taking your shoes off at the door. Instead of focusing solely on what to eliminate from your diet, think about what you are going to add to it to help your body process daily toxins – such as ensuring that you eat plenty of leafy greens, beets and fermented vegetables every single day.
Reset your body with a regular detox. Like the rest of your body, sometimes a little R&R is just what your kidney, liver and digestive system need after a hard week (or festive month) of stress, caffeine and alcohol. Your body is exposed to toxins on a daily basis, including the pesticides, herbicides, additives and preservatives in the food we consume. A regular detox helps divert energy away from your digestive system and put it to good use in other areas such as helping to heal your gut lining and giving your liver a break from its daily grind of neutralising toxins. Try doing a juice cleanse with fresh organic cold-pressed juices, or a few days of a simple raw organic food diet, and supplement with organic aloe vera and liver herbs like milk thistle to help aid the cleansing and detoxification process.
Take it slow. Adopting all of these new rituals may seem a little daunting. You don’t need to take them head on all at once, try adopting one each week. Quality thoughts, water, sleep, breath, movement and good food are the key to better health and happiness. Be gentle with yourself and incorporate these new rituals into your daily habits slowly, in order to create more sustainable and lifelong change.