New Year, Smarter You
2012 is a year with great potential. Many people try to make unrealistic promises to themselves for every new year, but perhaps it is better just to do things smarter.
Whether you are looking to improve your health, professional development or personal relationships and lifestyle, you can do it all just by making a few small, easy adjustments.
There is an old saying, “If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.” The most important thing to be smart about in 2012 is your health and well-being (physical and mental). There are a few simple things you can do to steer yourself in a positive direction.
- Maintain a healthy weight. It isn’t just about losing those extra pounds to get into that swimsuit this summer, it’s about keeping off excess weight to decrease your chances of diabetes, heart disease, fatigue and infections.
- Eat healthy. Eat six small meals a day — not three huge ones. No seconds! Choose foods that have very little processing. If you love pasta and bread get whole grain. Don’t eat late at night. No caffeinated beverages past 5 p.m. Balance what you eat daily — veggies, meat, carbs (yes you need carbs), dairy and fruit.
- Exercise regularly. Whether you do a 10-minute cardio blast each day, three 20-to-30 minute workouts a week, or more, exercise not only helps maintain your weight, but it uplifts your mood, increases the blood flow in your body and boosts your immune system … and it gives you more energy. If you are like me and you feel dead when you get home from work — exercise for 10 minutes. You’ll have more energy, I promise.
- Meditate every day. Sound unreasonable? It’s not. You can take eight minutes to meditate and focus your attention anywhere you are — even at work on your lunch break or at home just before bed as part of your nighttime ritual. Longer meditations are good to weave in two to three times a week. This will help reduce anxiety, stress and depression — it will also help you focus more and increase your productivity. Less stress = better overall health.
- Get organized. Just because your surroundings are chaotic does not mean you have to be. The more you structure your time, living space and work area, the more sane and productive you will be at home and at work. This does not mean everything must stay on schedule, but it will give you a guideline to follow to keep you moving forward, even when a few spontaneous distractions are thrown in every now and then.
- Take time for YOU. Whether you are single and a workaholic, married with or without children — you need time for you. This is very important. Take that walk for 15 minutes, read a book, go take a nice long bath by candlelight — whatever it is, do it because it is something you like to do.
- Quality expression. Improving your relationships with family or a significant other can improve your overall well-being (as well as theirs). It has been scientifically proven touch has a positive effect on both mental and physical states. Hand-holding, hugs, a kiss, even a pat on the back, can reduce stress levels. This relaxes the recipient of that gesture and reassures them that they are cared for, which helps to alleviate insecurity and brightens the mood.
- Listen more, speak less. Sometimes we tend to only hear ourselves talk and we never really take time to listen to what others around us are saying, much less consider other points of view aside from our own. If you are smart, you will make more of an effort to try and understand various points of view and listen to things other people have to say. You’d be surprised what you might learn! This will do wonders for your interactions at home and at work … decreasing your (and their) stress levels even more.
- Slow down. There are so many things around us we take for granted every day. Many people are running around at an anxious 500 miles an hour to get everything done in one day only to find out they don’t remember half the things they did. Take a moment and admire the green leaves on the trees, the twinkle of a star in the night sky, the vibrant petals of a dancing flower in the breeze — really look and see all of the wonders that surround you every day.
Ultimately, there are tons of things you can do each day to make your life, and the lives of those closest to you, easier, just by making a few smart choices. Consider what I have mentioned here, modify the points to best suit your lifestyle, but make a conscious choice to start doing things smarter — and guess what — you will!
Tagged smarter you