Even if you’re not a New Year’s Resolution type of person, something about the season makes it the perfect time to focus on bettering your life.
Improving yourself is a lifelong endeavor, and it’s likely that those goals will change over the years.
Instead of thinking about what you think needs improvement, focus on self-care and wellness. “Improving” yourself can be a dangerous mindset because we so often think about the physical body and validation from others. Real self-improvement is steeped in self-care and improves more than just the body.
Wellness is a holistic, comprehensive approach that includes the mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health, too. Many times, this extends to the body, but it’s usually a side effect of a more well-rounded sense of wellness.
Self-improvement is better for you, not just your Instagram likes. It shouldn’t come with a side helping of self-loathing, it shouldn’t be harmful or dangerous, and it should be sustainable. In other words, crash diets have no place in a healthy approach to self-improvement.
1. Commit to a cup of green or black tea each day (caffeine-free is another option).
Both green and black teas are considered “wonder cures” for many ailments. Studies have linked them to lowering the risks of just about everything from arthritis to dementia. If you drinking coffee daily, caffeinated tea can be a great way to lower coffee consumption or even eventually wean yourself off of it. However, going cold turkey on any drug (caffeine included) can be dangerous. Tea offers caffeine in at a lower dose with many more health benefits that coffee simply doesn’t. Try a cup of tea instead of your first cup of coffee in the morning, knowing that you can always enjoy coffee later in the day if necessary.
2. Practice positive self-talk.
We all have self-talk, which can also be referred to as cognitive reconditioning when we make a conscious effort to be kinder to ourselves. Our internal voice is powerful because our brain goes above and beyond to what we think come true. Many of us are in the dangerous habit of talking negatively to ourselves (i.e. “I’m so fat,” “I’ll never be able to achieve this,” and so on). The more we talk negatively to ourselves, the more we’ll believe it. Our physical and spiritual selves suffer a hit with this, too. Consciously make an effort to be your own best cheerleader.
3. Start a new exercise.
It is often said that exercise is the key to self-improvement, but that doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon or become a competitive body-builder. Simple things like choosing to walk to the store, or taking the stairs will often jumpstart your body and prepare you for more vigorous workouts. Many people find that yoga not only helps them become more physical and flexible, it also enables them to become more spiritual and overcome bad habits.
4. Find ways to be kind to others daily.
It doesn’t have to be a big gesture. Smile at a stranger on the street, hold doors open, and offer compliments up freely. The kinder we are to others, the better it makes us feel about ourselves. Empathy is powerful.
5. Go barefoot whenever you can.
Our toes are chronically atrophied thanks to wearing socks and shoes so often. Go barefoot, and if that’s not possible wear shoes with minimal lift (you’ll have to seek these out since most gym shoes also have considerable lift). It’s making our calves and feet weak. Combat this.
6. Consider a no-poo year, starting with minimizing how often you shampoo.
All shampoos strip hair of helpful, natural oils. When you first start shampooing less, you can expect hair to look greasy at first. There’s an adjustment period. Dry shampoos can help in the interim.
There are many fast and surprisingly easy ways to improve yourself, optimize your health, and make 2018 one of the best years yet. Write down a few of your goals and make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T.: Sustainable, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
What goals do you have in mind for the coming year?