New Year & Baby Steps for Me
I know it is that time of the year when everyone tries to remake themselves. They set entirely new goals and schedules for themselves and in doing so set themselves up for failure. New habits are hard to establish and they take time and trying to work on multiple new habits at the same time are virtually impossible to get to stick because you are introducing to many changes at one time. In the past I did the same thing everyone else was doing by trying to change my diet and start exercising more which affects my sleep and work schedule. Being more productive is another popular resolution and though it can be one of the easiest to achieve via planning and discipline it also rarely happens because we are dealing with the dietary and schedule changes.
One Step at a Time
To get new habits to stick you must do them repeatedly until they finally become a habit. This year I am focusing on one habit at a time. Humans are creatures of habit and if you try to change more than one thing at a time none of the changes will stick. My suggestion is to stagger my changes so that I have time to establish one new habit before adding a second. You may have to be flexible in your plans so that you can give yourself to be sure a habit has stuck before you try another change. If you rush yourself you will not get the change you want. Be patient with yourself and focus on getting things right.
Where I want to start
This year I decided that I wanted to do things right and really make significant changes in how I work, how I eat and if everything else goes well.. get more exercise. My first priority is get myself organized and set a sustainable schedule for myself. I tend to be the type that works myself to death and then is so burned out I don’t want to work at all for a time. I have a lot of drive and I get so focused on what I am doing that I just don’t want to stop until it is done. While that sounds like a great problem to have it would be much more productive if I could throttle that drive and work longer at more of an even keel.
Meal Planning and Simple Meals
Part of my organization and trying to be smarter with my time use is meal planning and preparation. I have been pretty good about meal planning but I could use improvement, If I don’t have my meals planned out I tend to graze more and call for carryout. This isn’t good for my health and lets me fall back into old habits. I will work healthy eating into that schedule but it isn’t nearly as hard if I plan simple healthy meals and avoid more time consuming recipes. It is a struggle for me as a Chef because I feel I should challenge myself but usually ends up leaving me feeling more stressed after a hard day. One of this years goal is to find or create more simple healthy meals. I have been focusing on that already as you can see my recipe posts here and my article about Buddha bowls and how they can be a simple, healthy meal.
More Exercise? Maybe
I am fighting a double edged sword. I am 100+ pounds overweight and I have painful arthritis. I have to take it day by day and not hurt myself by pushing myself too hard. In the past I have torn ligaments in my knee because I pushed past the pain. It is hard to judge a healthy pain level when you live with pain 24/7. Sure there are days when the pain stops me in my tracks but there are also days when I feel good and I can easily cause myself pain by pushing myself to hard. I have been advised to focus on my diet to first get some of the weight off my joints and then think about real exercise. If I manage to start dropping the weight even simple exercise like walking will be easier for me. That is why this is my 3rd goal for the year. I need to get the first two under control so that I can finally take on the third.
To make my goals this year it will be important to not let myself get overwhelmed by anything. It can be very easy to get panicked because you are falling back into old patterns or feel like there is something keeping you from your goals. My household and I started this year with overwhelming allergies and the flu running rampant. I am not panicking that I have not yet completely organized my desk or started using my new planner for the year. I am slowly working my way through things as I start to feel more human. As long as I feel like I am moving forward I am making progress. I have a plan and I will am confident I will make it happen this year. With age I have gained focus and the little things don’t stress me anymore. This has given me confidence that I can succeed where I have failed in the past.
Make 2020 your best year yet!
Take my advice and don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t feel rushed to start or complete your goals and make things happen at your own pace. The key to a happy life is to figure out what makes you happy! Whether your happiness is from your work, your family, your pets, you need to find it and focus on it this year. You also need to include personal time for yourself. You need to keep yourself happy and healthy so make sure you include time for yourself in your schedule.