As the phrase ‘New year, New you’ flies all around us this time of year, I stop to think about what that really means. To me, a New Year means a time reflect, analyze, and pivot. It’s the perfect time to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and make the necessary changes to point your life in the direction you want it to go.
I think as human beings, we are incredibly lucky to have the ability to make cognitive decisions and changes to continually better ourselves. Now, I don’t care what anyone says, NO ONE is perfect and in EVERYONE there is room for improvement.
This year I am putting my energy into the improvements of mind, body, and soul. It seems in the past, I have always made 1-2 big New Years resolutions (that of course never stick) but this year I am thinking about the small changes I can make that will ultimately affect the bigger picture. I am celebrating the small victories and not letting myself get discouraged by the slip ups.
For me, the mind refers to the surface level of the conscious. Meaning emotions, reactions, thoughts, fears, the things that make us act the way we do. In striving to improve my “mind” I have one saying that I tell myself at least once a day (usually more) “You cannot control what others do, you can only control how you react to it.” This mantra has gotten me through innumerable situations in my personal and professional life.
As someone that has struggled with anxiety and control problems my whole life, I cannot stress enough the importance of learning and reminding yourself that you have ZERO control over what other people do. The sooner you truly understand this, the sooner you will be able to let go of those little aggravations that can make your blood boil and ruin your mood and day.
Example: You are a bride and one of your (jealous) bridesmaids says to you “Are you really going to wear your hair up on your wedding day? It looks weird - I would never do that!” You could easily respond with an explicative or 2 and then let the anger in OR you could simply say “Yes, I am! Now are you ready to stand beside me as I marry the man of my dreams, or what?”
Simply responding with positivity to negativity not only makes you feel like you are glowing inside, but it also makes the person acting negatively stop, even for just a split second and reflect. Again, you have NO control over what anyone says or does, you can only control how you act and react.
Positive mind, positive speech, positive actions.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Eat right, work out, drink water, sleep. Sounds simple, but as most of us know it’s definitely not! Now personally I have never really had a hard time with the eating part. I have never had a big appetite and I love to cook so eating healthy and proportionally comes somewhat natural to me. That’s not to say I am always on the healthy food train (I type this as I just scarfed down an éclair from Rhodes bakery lol), I definitely eat poorly now and again, but in general my body ‘demons’ do not lie here. They also do not lie in the sleeping or drinking water categories, leaving just one – the dreaded working out (ugh, I sigh as I type the words).
I was never an athlete growing up, as in during the fitness test every year you could make a solid bet that I was coming in dead last in the mile test – and still would. Over the last 10 years I have tried EVERYTHING to try to get myself in the habit of working out. NOTHING has worked. I really hate it all, but I know for my future self I MUST do it. Thankfully, I recently joined a studio in Atlanta called Atmasphere. It was game changing.
This studio is unlike any I have ever been to in the sense that they truly care about
their members. The community aspect of the studio is just as important as the working out part. So for me, finding a place that I really felt welcomed and cared for made me want to drag my butt out of the office and actually work up a sweat. I can now say, I don’t really hate it anymore. So if you are like me, I highly recommend finding a place where you feel a real sense of support and community – it seriously makes all the difference.
Oh! One other little thing that I have done for years - every night before you get in bed, stretch! I do just 10 seconds for each muscle and not only does your flexibility improve, but you sleep much better too!
Soul, to me, is the unconscious. Not in the philosophical since i.e. Freud, but in more of a spiritual sense. Meditation has been an amazing tool to feed my soul. It has taught me to calm my mind and truly learn the importance of stillness. Stillness is necessary to recharge the soul. With all the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is just as important to care for your soul as it is your physical body.
I know to some meditation may sound crazy or super new age or even voodoo, but it’s not. It is simply the practice of stillness, mindfulness, and breath. If you have never meditated before, I highly recommend following a guided meditation. You can find plenty of free ones on YouTube or I have been using a fantastic app called Simple Habit that is great for finding short moments of stillness and breath during the busy days.
Also, smile. Even when you don’t want to – actually more importantly when you don’t want to. It really does make a difference.
I sincerely hope you find inspiration from my experiences. I would love to hear what tips and tricks you have for improving your mind, body, and soul. Wishing you all peace, happiness, and health in 2017!