Last year was extremely tumultuous and stressful. It upended our daily routines, the way we interacted, worked and how we view the world. It caused many people to reevaluate what they were doing and why and the changes they would have to or want to make to not only survive but thrive during this pandemic.
With hope that herd immunity and a vaccine will end the pandemic, there is no doubt the world will be different. The New Year gives everyone an opportunity to reflect and commit to some resolutions. Sadly, most resolutions fail. People tend to fall back into old habits and the resolutions go by the wayside.
What if you had a new way of thinking about resolutions?
Each day and every moment you can begin anew, and each choice gives you an opportunity to change for the better. I never forgot what a highly successful person I met at a conference said: “When things don’t go your way, you can either be bitter or better.” Choose better in as many moments as you can.
What if before you choose habitual responses you would pause for a few seconds and ask yourself in the moment: Will what I am about to think, say or do enable me to reach a goal or enhance my health, wellbeing and happiness or detract from it?
- If you are craving sweets, look at your choices: ice cream or a piece of fruit, you get to choose mindfully.
- If your goal is to lose weight or exercise more and you are faced with the choice to lay on the coach and mindlessly watch news or taking a walk or doing some yoga stretches, you get to choose mindfully.
Having a goal in mind, being mindful and asking yourself what will move you towards your long-term goal, pausing, breathing and making a conscious choice to be better can move the needle in the right direction
Making a conscious not habitual choice, choosing better in each moment and making small incremental changes that add up can be transformative for any aspect in your life such as relationships, health and money. Mindfulness or being aware can help you achieve your goals. All you need to do is take a pause and breathe then act not react. Chances are you can break a habit and make more beneficial choices.
The home confinement during the pandemic had people decluttering which for many was liberating. Marie Kondo in her 2015 book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” said if an item doesn’t bring you joy, toss it or donate it. “A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.”
What if you used the same principles to reorganize and declutter your life?
Donating something that no longer brings joy to you may bring joy to someone else. It is an act of generosity. She said: “The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.” “By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.”
You can apply these principles to declutter your life as well as your home.
Opening up space whether it is time, place, people, or things allows new things to enter your life. Relieve yourself of the people, time drains, clutter and habits that no longer serve you. Free yourself from the past and live for the person you are becoming now, not for the person you were in the past.
Use Money for Happiness
In her book, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending Elizabeth Dunn, author and social psychologist writes, “rather than suggest that you stop trying to get more money, our goal is to help you use the money you have to get more happiness.”
Taken from an article from Forbes, Dunn suggests five key principles of happy money:
- Buy experiences: Buying experiences rather than material goods can inoculate you against buyer’s remorse.
- Make it a treat: When something wonderful is always available, people are less inclined to appreciate it. Limiting our access to the things we like best may help to “re-virginize” us, renewing our capacity for pleasure.
- Buy time: By permitting ourselves to offload our most dreaded tasks, from scrubbing toilets to cleaning gutters, money can transform the way we spend our time, freeing us to pursue our passions.
- Pay now, consume later: Delaying consumption allows spenders to reap the pleasures of anticipation with the buzzkill of reality; vacations provide the most happiness before they occur.
- Invest in others: New research demonstrates that spending money on others provides a bigger happiness boost than spending money on yourself.
Being aware, making space in your life and spending for happiness may be just what the doctor ordered. Yes, you can still be aware of what you are eating and how much you exercise to lose weight, change your diet and find more peace and happiness. Using these principles may be the best way to proceed with new resolutions that can transform your life. If it is health and wellbeing you are after, consider getting an evaluation and support from a functional medicine doctor like Lorraine Maita, MD at HowToLiveYounger.com