New year, new you. I bet you’ve heard this phrase a million times in the past months. But here is the thing: you don’t need a new you. How about a better you, instead? The pressure to create a completely new you can feel extremely overwhelming. You feel like you have to change everything. You have a long list. There is too much to do. It’s too much pressure. And what’s the result? There are no results. You will throw out all your goals and habits within a few weeks. You will feel defeated and think, ‘maybe I will try again next year’. I have some good news. You don’t need to wait until next year to transform your health and well-being. You can do it one step at a time.
New Year, Better You
By working through achievable steps, one at a time, you can create a real difference. The new habits will be sustainable and can bring actual results.
How can you do this? You just pick one new habit that can make a difference. The key here: make it slightly challenging but achievable. If it feels way too easy, you may feel that such small things wouldn’t matter, and you may not feel motivated enough to actually incorporate it. But if it’s too challenging, it may feel daunting. Again, if it feels way too hard, you will give up quickly. But if it’s an achievable step, you will follow through.
Start with one new habit and incorporate it into your life. Do it every day or every week, depending on the habit. After a few weeks or a few months, it will feel easier. Eventually, it will be second nature.
Once you feel like you have a good grasp on your new habit, choose another one from the list. Once that feels easier, add something new. Rinse and repeat.
Depending on your habits, you may be able to add something new every month. Don’t pressure yourself though. Whether you add a new habit every month or every three months, your life will be better for it. Small things add up. And this is not a competition.
What Are Some Things You Can Do to Transform Your Health in 365 Days?
So, what can you do to create a better you? There is no one right answer here. It really depends on you: your personal situation, health, challenges, and goals. If you are already drinking enough water, adding an extra glass is not the right move. But if you are not, paying attention to hydration may be a great first step.
I don’t want to leave you hanging though. Here are some general ideas you can use for brainstorming and choosing your next step.
Focus on Better Sleep
Sleep is so important for your health. Telling you to improve your sleep probably feels too general though. Trying to incorporate ten sleep-enhancing habits may feel too daunting. Here are a few tips you may try to improve your sleep:
- Avoid eating at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Reduce your use of electronics 2 hours before going to sleep. If you do use electronics, use blue light-blocking glasses.
- Pick one stress-reducing activity to practice for at least 10 minutes before bed. This may be meditation, breathwork, journaling, taking a bath, coloring, or reading.
- Ensure that you have a supportive mattress and pillows. If you don’t search for the right one and get new ones.
- Go to bed maybe 30 minutes earlier to try and get more sleep.
Remember! Only pick one habit from the list at first.
Improve Your Morning
Starting your day with the right food can set you up for a better day. No, I’m not telling you to have a 2-hour morning routine. That’s not realistic for most of us. But you can get up just 10 – 15 minutes early to add one simple activity to start your day on a good note.
So how can you spend those extra minutes? Here are some options (pick one!):
- Stretch your body or do some yoga moves
- Go for a short walk around the block
- Do some breathwork
- Visualize your day
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for
- Drink a big glass (32 oz) of warm lemon water
Add More Movement to Your Life
Exercise is important for your physical and mental health. So, how can you add more movement to your life by committing to some time-consuming training plan? Here are some ideas to help you choose your one step:
- Start your day with some stretching, yoga, or pilates
- Jump on a rebounder for 10 minutes
- Set your timer for every 30 minutes to remind you to get up and stretch for a few minutes
- Take a stroll during lunch or after dinner
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work
- Park further from the store entrance allowing for a longer walk to the door
- Commit to one exercise class a week–can even be online!
- Join a walking group (maybe that lunch time walk with coworkers)
Better Your Nutrition
Your diet is one of the foundational stones of your health. Most of us can always find a way to better our nutrition in some way. Here are some tips you can pick from:
- Add one new vegetable to your diet every week
- Add a salad to your lunch
- Start your day with a green smoothie for or as part of your breakfast
- Try one new recipe each week
- Start cooking at home instead of eating out
Remember, start with one step at a time. You may notice, none of my recommendations said ‘remove’. While removing refined sugar, refined oils, junk food, and other unhealthy options is a great idea, starting by adding in some good stuff is a better way to go. Removing things, especially comfort foods, can feel like depriving or even punishing yourself. Adding more healthy foods will help to change your taste buds. You will start finding joy with more nourishing options. Eventually, these new foods will ‘crowd out’ or reduce those overly processed foods.
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals can really help sticking to a nourishing diet. Cooking at home may feel overwhelming at first. Saving one day a week for grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week may save you a lot of time and energy.
If this seems too daunting for you right now, you can try a healthy meal kit delivery. They send you all the ingredients with simple directions for some quick, healthy, and home-cooked meals. If this feels too much, start with ready-made healthy meal options in your area that deliver.
Reduce Your Stress
Let’s be honest: life is stressful. But chronic stress can lead to chronic inflammation, chronic pain and health complaints, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. You want to reduce stress as much as you can and learn to deal with stress better.
How can you do that? Here are some stress-reducing strategies you may find helpful. Remember, only try one at a time. Add a new one once you’ve incorporated the first.
- Meditate for 5 – 15 minutes a day (you can start even with 1 minute!)
- Do some breathwork once a day
- Listen to a guided visualization audio once a day
- Journal for 5 – 20 minutes daily
- Write a daily gratitude list (just 3 items to start!)
- Try yoga, Tai chi, or Qi Gong
- Exercise for 20 to 30 minutes 5 times a week
- Sign up for therapy
Add More Joy
Taking care of your health doesn’t have to be so serious. We all need joy and connection with others. It’s critical for your physical and mental health. Here are are few ideas to create more joy in your life:
- Try a new hobby
- Take a class and learn a new skill
- Volunteer once a week or even once a month
- Plan a date night every week with your partner or friends
- Plan a fun family night every week with your kids
- Cook a meal together with your partner, kids, or friends
- Watch a funny movie or read an uplifting book
- Dance to your favorite song
Take Your Supplements
Remembering to take your supplements or medication can be tricky, especially if you are taking a list of things. Don’t worry. Combine it with another event. For example, you may take them with your morning lemon water or breakfast, pair them with dinner, or take them after brushing your teeth. If pairing it with another activity doesn’t help, setting an alarm on your phone or setting up reminder emails may be a great option.
You can use the same strategies for other health-supporting tools. Commit to a specific time of the day to use your red light therapy device, infrared sauna, castor oil pack, heating pad, or whatever other healing tool you’ve been recommended. Set up some reminders on your phone.
Or perhaps you want to commit to seeing a physical therapist, personal trainer, chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, or other health professional or bodyworker. Make the appointment ahead of time for the next 3 or 6 months. Write it down on your calendar. Set phone reminders.
See Your Doctor
Seeing your doctor may be a great step for you. Schedule an appointment to check on that one health-related thing you’ve been procrastinating on. Get some bloodwork done to see where you are at. Getting bloodwork or other tests done regularly can help you measure progress or spot issues early, beyond your symptoms. Working with a doctor may also help you to decide the next health-changing action steps strategically.
Remember: Be Gentle with Yourself
Now that I have given you some ideas to improve your health and well-being one step at a time, I want to remind you of something important. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Don’t rush anything. Remember, don’t compare yourself to others, especially not to people you see or things you read on the internet.
Don’t be upset if you can’t follow through perfectly. Embrace your imperfections and imperfect journey. You are doing your best — the best you can right now. And that’s enough. Give yourself a big hug, and don’t give up. You’re worth it.
Remember, this is just a list of ideas you can choose from. Don’t try to do it all. Pick one thing you want to start with. I recommend saving or printing this article to come back to as a reference point.
If you haven’t read the book Atomic Habits, I highly recommend ordering it or downloading to your favorite source (Audible, Kindle and the like). It can help you understand this idea better and create new habits more effectively.
Remember, pick realistic goals and go one step at a time. If you need some support along the way, ask for it. It may be support from a friend or family member, a community group, or a professional, like a doctor or a therapist. For medical support, you can always reach out to me and my team.
If you are looking for ways to improve your health and wellness or overcome chronic health issues, I invite you to a consultation with us. Together, we can uncover the root causes of your condition and create a personalized treatment plan to regain your health and energy naturally. Schedule your free consultation today here.