Happy New Year, y’all! It’s hard to believe that yet another year is behind us, and here we are at the start of 2018. It’s hard to not get caught up in the “new year, new you” motto, but what does that even mean? Activities like hitting the gym and starting a new diet are often the norm this time of year, but I think we can do better than that. Making this year all about self-love and healthy habits beyond the tired old basics sets us up to make 2018 the happiest, healthiest year yet!
To develop or revisit an exercise habit is never a bad idea, but that doesn’t necessarily mean getting back onto that treadmill you hate. Finding and trying new methods to move our bodies can be rewarding and fun, and serve as a reminder to be grateful for our health in the process. I recently took up boxing, and while intimidating at first, it’s become one of my favorite ways to break a killer sweat and let out some of life’s daily frustrations. Try something new, and if it’s not for you, guess what? You don’t have to do it again! Giving yourself permission to experience something different is a great way to gently, lovingly push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Bravely striking out into the unknown won’t end at the threshold of a new gym if there’s a true desire to explore the world around you. Taking a solo vacation, even just for a weekend, is another fabulous way to stretch those proverbial wings. I can’t underestimate the healing power that staring out at the waves from your beach chair, kept company by nothing but your thoughts and maybe a great book, can bring. Explore a new city, go on a yoga retreat, hole up in a quiet cabin in the woods; the peace that can be found when taking a few days to yourself to really unplug and unwind, can have miraculous effects that remain once you’re back in the “real world.”
One of my favorite and most challenging new self-love habits revolves around prayer and meditation. Now, I’m not one of those enlightened beings who’s able to breathe through my eyelids while sitting serenely on a pillow for hours on end. But learning and honing the various disciplines of meditation can be pretty amazing. Before walking into a big meeting, I turn off my car radio, close my eyes and just observe my thoughts. I put silly “worst-case-scenario worrying” on mute, gain some perspective, give thanks for everything I’ve been blessed with so far, and voilà – I’m cloaked in a delightful sense of peace, even if just for that moment. Taking a particular part of the day, say for example, during your morning shower, to reflect with gratitude on all of the good in life is another fantastic way to show yourself some love. That love shown to yourself, regardless of the form, has a delightful tendency to seep into other parts of your life: maybe you give yourself permission to say “enough” when you’re overextended. Maybe you stop allowing toxic habits or people to take up emotional real estate; maybe positive relationships are taken to a new level. In the end, greeting whatever develops as you step forward into a new realm of self-love with compassion and gratitude can change your life in the most wonderful ways imaginable. Who wouldn’t love that?
Setting a positive intention each day, telling others you love them without hesitation, fueling yourself with healthy food – there are countless other ways to love yourself, and there’s never been a better time to get started with at least a few of these! Cheers – and plenty of love!