We don’t know about you, but the fact that it’s almost officially springtime makes us want to jump up and down with happiness. Sure, there is a lot to love about winter – the attitude of rest it inspires, the opportunities to spend time with loved ones during the holidays and the frosty fun activities that are only possible thanks to snow and ice. However, with the air getting warmer, and the joy of rebirth happening everywhere you turn, we’re reminded again of just how lovely spring is.
While you might be happy to bid farewell to your snow brush and mittens for the season, there is one aspect of winter that we’d like you to not wave a final goodbye to quite yet. Remember the feverish promises you made a couple of months ago, in the excitement of the beginning of 2016? Have you begun to transform into the physically fit, kale-eating, caring friend and family member you envisioned yourself to be by now; the result of your ambitious, lofty New Year’s resolutions? If you count your resolutions as a mere snowy memory that was once a great idea, you’re not alone. While it is estimated that a whopping 40% of us make New Year’s resolutions, a paltry 8% of us actually keep them. Not a pretty statistic, but also not surprising. With the family-filled, food-filled, celebration-filled days that winter brings, January 1st might not be the most effective time to resolve to make effective life changes. Since spring lends itself to an attitude of rebirth anyway, March might be an ideal time to do a little spring-cleaning on your goals, and let your real potential bloom.
If you need a little resolution revamp inspiration, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Focus on the Positive
Rather than trying cut things out of your life (making you want them all the more), try adding things that will have a positive effect. For example, instead of shunning sugar entirely, try saying, “I will eat 5 servings of vegetables each day before I have a dessert.” Or, “I will log in 8,000 steps before I sit down to watch my evening TV.” Sure, you’re practicing a little reverse-psychology on yourself, because chances are you WILL end up cutting back on the things you’re trying to eliminate.
- Eschew the same-old, same old.
Make your resolutions unique to you. Maybe no one else in your family or social circle is resolving to be able to touch their toes (or walk the length of your neighborhood park trail in under 20 minutes, or practice yoga), and that’s just fine. We are talking about your goals, not those of your friends and family members.
- Practice gratitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested that we “Write it on your heart, that every day is the best day of the year.” Thankfulness is a hot topic of conversation around the winter holidays, sure, but what happens to all that gratitude a few months later? Mindfully pronouncing what we’re grateful each day can benefit our minds and bodies, including helping us enjoy a more positive outlook on life and even a stronger immune system. Make this your best, most positive year of health and wellness.
- Be mindful of right now.
It might seem counter-intuitive to spend our energy focusing on the present when we’re thinking about future goals. However, stepping away from mental mega-multi-tasking and simply paying attention to your surroundings and the sensations you’re feeling right then can pay off in significant dividends. Helpguide.org suggests you try letting thoughts, sensations, smells, and sounds come to you without judgement, and then letting them go. There are many mindfulness techniques, and even more reported benefits of practicing this easy form of meditation. In addition to lowering blood pressure, relieving stress, and improving sleep, it can even make your immune system stronger. Plus, it seems to be the “pop-up tent” of meditation, in that all you need is your breath, a couple of minutes, and a little bit of will, and you’re on your way.
Resolving to improve an area of our life that needs a little sprucing up can be a rewarding, affirming experience, given that we go about it in a realistic, authentic way. This spring, as the trees, grass and plants get ready to strut their stuff with their newly-born resolve, you can, too.