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Simplify the Path to Your Healthy 2023

December 22, 2022

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution only to go back to the way things were? If you’re answering yes, you’re not alone. Fitness app Strava tracked more than 800 million activities and determined the day when there was an initial significant drop-off was January 19th – they named it “Quitter’s Day”! 

Even with a variety of experts sharing an almost infinite number of ways to set, make, and keep resolutions, according to U.S. News & World Report, by the second week in February, nearly 80% of people have quit their resolutions.  

People identify one of the main reasons their resolutions fail is they’re overwhelming. 

This year, skip the resolutions! Here are three different ways to make simple, impactful, and interesting changes for your happy, healthy 2023. 

  1. Focus on one thing at a time. 
  • Create a vision of what you want, and why, and write it where you can read it every day.
  • Ask yourself 1 question every day: “What is one thing I can do today to move me toward my vision?”
  • Celebrate achieving your one thing every day.

Why does this work? It’s easier to be very specific, to see and feel your success, and to shift when you want to try something different. Celebration reinforces achievement and helps create new habits.

Here’s an example: 

  • Vision: Your family is coming for a week. You’ll be doing activities every day including sightseeing, going to the beach, dining out, and visiting together. You want to have the energy to enjoy each day and activity with them.
  • What is one thing I can do today to move me toward my vision? Go for a walk so I have the energy to walk around the places we visit.
  • Celebrate your walk by knowing this is making it easier for you to enjoy your trip.

Hint: When you finish your one thing for the day, you can ask yourself the question again!

  1. Become curious. 

Some people get into a routine that actually begins to slow them down. Trying new activities can have a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical benefits, including:

  • Enhanced cognitive function. Challenging the brain improves cognitive functions of problem-solving skills and memory. Become curious: take a class, try a new activity or craft, attend lectures. These can be in-person or online.
  • Increased physical activity. This can help improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and improve balance. Become curious: consider activities like swimming, water aerobics, yoga (yes guys, it’s great for you too!), dancing, pickleball, walking the golf course, and walking with groups. There are great videos available on computers and TV.
  • New social connections. Meeting new people and forming new social connections can improve overall social support, enhance feelings of belonging, and lead to new interests. Become curious: look at your community wellness center’s list of activities and amenities, the events section of your local newspaper, ask friends about the groups they participate in.
  • Increased sense of accomplishment: Completing new activities and learning new skills can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem. Become curious: try making crafts, volunteering at charities to participate in activities for those they serve, or taking a class in something you haven’t tried before.
  1. Make the change something meaningful for you.

People tend to procrastinate on projects they find unpleasant, or they’re not interested in. In contrast, they’re more likely to invest time and energy on projects they find enjoyable, interesting, or purposeful. 

Here’s an example of how to make a project meaningful using one of the top issues people make resolutions to change in their homes – closets that have become cluttered. 

A recent study of 2,000 adults found people have an average of $268.44 worth of unworn clothes in their closets. More than half of the respondents said the reason they didn’t wear certain items was that they didn’t see them in their closets! In her book, You Are What You Wear, Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner says that the majority of people wear 20% of their closet 80% of the time.

Think of closets as a treasure trove of possibility! With this 3-step process, turn a cluttered closet into a way to help others, feel good, and complete a project with great results.

Begin by choosing items you no longer want.

  1. A simple way to choose. 

Touch each item of clothing, shoes, and accessories in closets and drawers. If it’s no longer loved, hasn’t been worn in a year, or no longer fits, take it out. This can be done as simply as one drawer or section of the closet per day. (Hint: Check the pockets for money and/or valuables!)

  1. A thorough way to choose.

Take every item of clothing, shoes, and accessories out of the closet. If it’s being kept, put it in the closet with the hook of the hanger facing forward. Once worn, turn the hanger hook the normal way - facing backward. This is an easy way to see, over time, what’s actually being worn. For clothes that are folded, turn them around so the fold is facing away. When a piece of clothing is worn, place it back with the fold in front. Every few months, look at the clothes that haven’t been worn and take action with them!

  1. Repurpose.

Now that the closet is clean, repurpose the unwanted items into something meaningful.

  • Donate items to charity (Some charities will pick them up.). 
  • Earn money through consigning items locally or online (This is a great project to do with grandchildren who want to earn some money.).
  • Create a community fund-raising event. (This can be for other household items as well.) Residents collect items to be sold to raise money for a chosen charity. Choose the same or a different charity to donate the unsold items. Invite the charities to participate so the community learns more about them and how the funds and/or the items will be used to support their community. 

Change is still change! Help yourself throughout the process. Here are four tips to help you navigate change:

  • Curiosity - Explore what else is possible with curiosity and excitement, and without boundaries or limits. 
  • Grace - Give yourself grace with any change! 
  • Patience - We’re learning while we go through change. Sometimes the outcome isn’t what we anticipated. We learn as much – if not more – when something doesn’t turn out the way we planned. 
  • Celebration – Remember how we celebrate even the tiniest things infants do? When we’re going through change, we’re infants in what we’re doing. Celebrate even the tiniest achievements with great joy.

Follow these tips for your happy, healthy 2023.