How to change your habits
With the beginning of each new year, most people embrace the opportunity for a 'fresh start' - to let go of old baggage and create new, healthy habits that add value to their lives.
Over the years, in my own experience and in working with countless folks around the world, I've discovered that the biggest habits that can hold you back from being the best you, are toxic relationships, poor lifestyle choices and the biggest of all - not taking any time out to be about your passion.
A healthy diet, exercise, caring relationships and setting aside time to do things that light you up are the true keys to reducing tension, anxiety, stress and ultimately a happier, healthier you!
AND if you've struggled with any kind of depression or addiction, all of these things are critical to helping you break these destructive cycles.
Here are my top tips for helping you to break old habits that are weighing you down and to create new ones that will serve you this year.
The etymology of the word "diet" dates back to ancient Greece, meaning 'way of living'.
A diet loaded with 'food-less' foods and 'life-less' drinks is the quickest way to create overwhelm and chaos in your body, which ultimately will lead to mental and emotional pain.
By drinking more water, eliminating (or greatly reducing) processed foods and meat from your diet, whilst increasing the amount of raw plant foods that you eat, you'll have a powerful impact on your health and wellbeing.
Reduce meal sizes and snack regularly throughout the day instead and you'll see small energy boosts, improved digestion, you'll feel lighter and crave less sugary foods that cause you to crash and burn.
Depending on where you're at, I generally recommend taking baby steps - by making 1 or 2 small changes at a time - so that you don't run so fast that you'll trip over and fall.
Here's a few of my favourite principles around diet:
- 'Eat' liquid first each day i.e. drink 500ml-1 litre of cold water when you rise (with a pinch of good salt), followed by a juice and/or smoothy before you eat any solid food;
- Snack on raw nuts, popcorn, cornocopia or pulse throughout the day. By doing this, you'll be less likely to be hungry and make poor choices out of pure convenience;
- At meal time start with some raw greens or a small salad dressed with sea salt, olive oil and lemon juice before you eat your main meal.
This steps alone will have a dramatic impact on your health regardless of what else you do.
At the very least, commit to taking a 20 minute walk outside in the fresh air and sunshine each day (preferably early morning if you can). By making this a daily ritual, you will radically change your physical and emotional wellbeing.
And if you can, add some more strenuous activity at least 3-5 times per week where you get your heart rate up, create resistance on your muscles and work up a sweat e.g. cycling, cross training, light weights, pilates, swimming and yoga.
Let go of the past and attempt to heal important relationships that are causing you pain. One of the hardest things to do is say 'sorry' and yet it can be one of the most healing for both people involved, because it creates a clearing to move on.
Cherish those closest to you, spend quality time with them, hug them and let them know on a regular basis that you love them, particularly your children.
Avoid relationships that hold you back from being who you want to be and that don't add value to your life and always seek out positive, happy people and environments.
Identify the activities that bring you joy and be about those things as often as you can.
Our ancestors taught that 'pleasure is the greatest good'. Ultimately your life is meant to be enjoyable, so take time to do those things that bring you healthy pleasures.
If you happen to no longer know what your passions are, go with your curiosity.
Seek out new activities that you know you've always wanted to try and give them a shot. It could be as simple as creating your own at-home garden, making model airplanes or learning to play an instrument.
Try new things and before long you'll find the thing that lights you up and brings you inner joy.