It is hard to believe that not only is a New Year around the corner, but a New Decade as well! Many of us will start out our new year thinking about goals we would like to accomplish. Many others will skip that knowing that they have zero intention of following through with any of those goals.
After doing what I do for the past 28 years, there are a few lessons that I would like to share that may help you just live a little more healthfully in not only this upcoming year, but decade.
Lesson number one: Don’t get caught in the all or nothing trap.
When we think in terms of all versus nothing, we immediately set ourselves up for failure. Life is not without roadblocks and obstacles. You will hit them and with an all or nothing attitude, the first roadblock becomes a stopping point.
Remember, each day gives you another 24 hours of opportunity to pick yourself back up and try again. Successful people fail and they fail a lot. The difference is they keep trying after each setback.
Lesson number two: Start where you are.
So often we try to travel from point A to point Z while skipping the rest of the alphabet. The truth is you have to begin exactly where you are at and build from there. Whether you need to improve your eating habits or become more physically active, take your current situation and start to make small improvements. Over time these become big improvements and that is what leads to lasting impact.
Lesson number three. Don’t live life through a social media filter.
While this clearly was not an issue in the early days of my career, it is now. I will be the first to tell you that I have ugly snorted with laughter and tears at some of the snapchat filters with my daughter. The truth is they are fun to play around with, but the ones that give you flawless skin or help reshape your body — those are dangerous.
The reality is that we don’t all have unblemished skin or someone’s ideal of what our bodies should look like. When you compare yourselves to your friends on social media, sometimes you come away feeling less than. DO NOT DO THIS! Remember that sometimes smiling faces hide hurting hearts and beautiful can be broken too. Your competition if you feel the need for a competition is staring at you in the mirror. The only one that you have to get better than is the you that wasn’t healthy. So, stop the comparison and be you.
Lesson number four. There is power in positivity.
There are so many times that I have seen patients come in with multiple complaints or reasons as to why they are not successful at living healthy. As someone who has battled with either injury or illness for over half of this past decade, I get it. But you know what? At the end of the day, I’m still blessed.
Don’t get me wrong — I had some really bad days and had my own little pity parties, but I didn’t unpack my bags to live there. We know that having a positive mindset has a powerful impact on health outcomes.
Don’t get me wrong — that’s not to say that all you must do is think positive and all your troubles will disappear. It does mean that if we spend a little more time thinking about the reasons, we have to be grateful, we will find more to be grateful for — the blessings in the storm.
Lesson number five. Everyone needs a tribe.
Whether your people are your family, friends, co-workers or neighbors — we all need community. When life is good — share it. When life isn’t so good — share it. We were not meant to be solitary people, trudging through life without sharing ourselves with others.
It’s much easier to share the good parts of life, more difficult to share the harder parts. I’m not good at sharing the harder parts. It’s easy to get into the trap of thinking that we don’t want to burden someone else or we should be strong enough to handle it on our own.
Your tribe — they want you to share. They want to be there for you in the good and the bad. Whether you need an accountability partner for exercise or a friend to take you to a doctor’s appointment or someone to just sit alongside quietly so you are not alone — that’s what community is all about.
Lesson number six. Don’t overthink it!
This lesson is very important. Have you ever found yourself thinking that you are going to start something, but first you need to learn a little more about it? You are going to work on getting more exercise, but you want to research your options a little more. You are thinking of eating healthier, but you need to see what the best approach would be? We waste a lot of time on these types of activities instead of just doing it.
I tell patients all the time, stop overthinking it. Eat real food. Did you cook a piece of chicken and have a salad with it instead of eating fast food? Bingo — you just ate real food. Not a lot of thinking or effort for that one.
Move your body more. Did you park a little bit farther at the store, so you had to take a few more steps? You just moved your body more. It can be that simple, but we get lost in developing our grand plan instead of just getting started.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a planner, but you must be decisive, do it and when you hit a roadblock — reevaluate.
2020 is upon us. I’m looking forward to great things happening — I hope you are too! Wishing you health and happiness in the new year and new decade. Until next time…Live Healthy!