By Caryn O’Hara
A new year is upon us, which means we may easily fall into two common traps: We can use the momentum for a fresh start or carry on like we did during the holidays, enjoying extra sweets and skipping workouts to have another glass of wine. Clearly these aren’t the only two options, though they tend to be the camps we fall into.
How about we treat this year differently? How about we look at what feels inherently good to the system – mind, body and soul – and do more of that this year? How about we align with what brings us the most comfort and joy? How about we choose moderation, neither perfection nor procrastination?
To stay aligned with the version of ourselves we enjoy most, we need to get clear. We need to understand what it feels like.
Let’s ask these questions to gain insight:
When do I feel my most rested? How many hours of rest does it require?
How much quality time with loved ones does it take for me to continue feeling connected to the people who matter most to me? How much alone time do I need?
What foods sustain my energy? Which foods are difficult for my body to digest?
What are the trends that contribute to moodiness? Bloating? Indigestion? Fatigue? Illness?
What are the foods I love that keep my body strong and resilient? What foods do I pay for with multiple uncomfortable trips to the bathroom or interrupted sleep?
We don’t need a static plan. Life always creates change and reinforces the need to remain flexible. So what are the non-negotiables?
When we stay curious about our health, we gain knowledge. When we instill certain practices and experience the benefits from them, we gain wisdom. When we choose to eat poorly or overlook the importance of quality sleep, we gain wisdom, too, about the things that are best left off of the to-do list.
The best way to achieve a vibrant lifestyle that supports our goals and personal moral code is by setting intentions. Every day when we rise or every evening before bed, let’s take a few moments to decide what our focus will be. Let’s decide how we want to be in the world.
Intentional living is deliberately being someone we respect, living up to our word and doing what supports our vision. If we want to receive goodness, it may go without saying we need to inject it into our days. The conversations we have, the company we keep and whether we engage in trustworthy or risky business make it necessary for us to revisit what we want the bigger picture to look like.
Getting to the heart of the matter requires a clean lens. When we zoom out, we can look at the different aspects of life: personal, family, career, home, health, relationships, travel, self-development. It’s important to give ourselves credit in the areas in which we are already hitting the mark.
Following the holistic model, we understand that January and February are months of reflection and release. It’s not a matter of avoidance if we aren’t jazzed about shifting old patterns into new habits on Jan. 1. In fact, it’s more in line with our true nature if we continue gaining clarity through the winter and spring into action during March.
Here’s to starting 2019 with more flexibility and more forgiveness.
Start small. Make three simple lists.
- Write a list of what makes life easier.
- Add a list of stressful situations in life.
- Use the first two to log the easy buttons and stressors in your current daily routine.
Setting Intentional Alignment
By next month, make a point to shift your daily routine by reducing one or two from the stress list. Raise the bar by adding two habits from the easy list to the daily routine.
Let’s be gentle with ourselves. No shame. No blame. No guilt.
Doing the best we can with each day is a great place to start. During stressful times, let’s intend on taking each moment at a time. After all, there is no finish line. One step at a time will keep us truckin’.
Caryn has wisdom beyond her years and offers it to the world by connecting clients to their innate healing wisdom. Caryn is an expert in surviving cancer. She is a published writer, public speaker and yoga and meditation instructor. Caryn is a natural connector who inspires others daily with her vulnerability and force-to-be-reckoned-with ability to create and hold space for others.
On Feb. 2, Caryn will co-host What is Soul Food? with integrative nutrition health coach Dana Bufalino, where guests will learn about Ayurveda and integrative nutrition through a brief presentation over tea with plenty of time for Q&A at the end.
Learn more about Caryn and her programs at carynohara.com.