On the New Year

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Ah yes, the post-Christmas anticipation for New Years. I like the idea of starting fresh and making new goals, even if in past years my resolutions didn’t last much past the end of January. I enjoy the sense of possibility, of self-improvement, of hope.

For me this year, instead of hoping that the leap into 2015 will see all of my bad habits disappear magically (because 2015 Emily is so much more put together than the 2014 version!), I decided to plan on a series of 30-day challenges. For me, 30-day challenges are easier to swallow than resolving to do something for an entire year. They provide variety and the feeling of accomplishment of establishing healthy habits.

I’ve decided to focus on activities that will help me manage my stress. In the past couple of months, I’ve kind of been letting this slide. Stress is one of those factors that is so difficult to pin down because we live with it always, and it piggy-backs on other things that can’t exactly be avoided like work, school, and relationships. But finding a way to deal with it is so important, as psychological stress plays a major role in physical health.

My 30-day challenges for the first half of 2015 will  incorporate different ways to manage stress. February will be a 29-day challenge, and on the months with 31 days, the final day will be a break from all challenges before jumping into the next. My hope is that after six 30-day challenges I can evaluate the year so far, and continue on with a new set of challenges for the rest of the 2015.

January: 20 minutes of yoga every day. There are too many health benefits of yoga to list, but from personal experience I know that I feel more grounded, limber, and relaxed when I do a little yoga often. Twenty minutes is a completely doable time-frame to work with.

February: Make a piece of art every day. Now, I’m not a skilled artist or anything, but I find that creating art is very peaceful and I just never take the time to do it. For this challenge, I can draw, paint, or make a collage each day.

March: 10 minutes of meditation every day. There are so many benefits to meditating, yet I have trouble getting myself to do it even for a short time each day. This March, that all changes!

April: Journal every day – even if it’s just one sentence.

May: Send an email/text message/phone call/letter to a friend/family member every day. Though I am definitely an introvert, but there is no denying that simply connecting with someone I love throughout the day, giving and receiving encouragement, can help relieve stress in an instant. I also have a number of friends from my past that pop into my mind from time to time, and I think I should send them an email to see what they’re up to! but rarely get around to it.

June: Take a photo a day. This is just a good way to slow down and notice what’s going on around me.

If you are planning to take the leap into some big dietary/lifestyle changes on January 1, the Family Resolution Revolution bundle is a great resource. Put together by Paleo Parents, the bundle includes The Paleo Approach Dinner Club e-book (for your resolution to build community around eating for health) and a bunch of other amazing e-books, meal plans, magazine subscriptions, and resources. The bundle includes over $800 worth of resources and it only costs $39. That’s a deal! It’s only available until January 4. Learn more about at at the Family Resolution Revolution website.

As the New Year approaches, what are your resolutions/hopes/plans for 2015?