New Year, New Habits: why prioritising your wellbeing is a good start
18 January 2019
The holidays are over and January signals the Celebration of Life month, the perfect time for us to take honest stock of whether we are firing on all wellbeing cylinders.
What’s going well?
A good place to start is to make a list of everything that you enjoy about your life – the people who enrich it, the hobbies you really enjoy, the best things about your job etc.
Take a moment to really appreciate these things, and maybe resolve to send an unexpected thankyou message to anyone who improves your day, even in a small way. For instance, why not take 30 seconds of your coffee break to tell the barista the reason you always go there? It will make you both feel good and costs nothing!
Being grateful for the things we have puts us in a better frame of mind for dealing with the inevitable challenges that life throws at us.
So, what could be different and better?
We can review what needs to be improved or maybe new personal projects we would like to start. What’s missing from the list above? Are there things you used to enjoy, but don’t do anymore? What’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to try, but never quite got around to? How well are you eating? What is the quality of your sleep like? How stressed do you feel? So many questions but all so important for our life!
Make another list and try to visualise your new goals for the year. Think about each of the items in turn and analyse why they are on your list with the actions you might take to achieve them. For example, if you’re not eating well, why is that? Are you too busy to shop and cook properly? Could you order an ingredients box, and have it delivered once a week?
One of the common denominators of 21st century life is stress, which in small or appropriate amounts spurs us onto achieving great results. However, the Cortisol produced as the body’s stress response effects our sleep, eating patterns and overall health, even potentially leading to strokes, heart disease and type II diabetes. Think about how you might make some changes to reduce stress – like eating healthily, having quality sleep and getting plenty of exercise - all have a major part to play. A wellbeing app such as Bria Wellness, accessible to our members, can be really helpful in this regard. Check it if you haven’t yet!
If you constantly find yourself saying ‘I’m really/too busy’…to eat well, exercise, do that thing you always wanted to do - then it’s time to look at how you’re managing this finite resource and whether you are actually prioritising the right things.
Then why is so difficult to change?
Keeping a log of your time (via a simple spreadsheet or maybe a time-tracking app), even just for a day, can be very enlightening with regards to how much time you actually spend being productive and how much of the day you spend on unnecessary ‘filler’ activity.
Planning your day as chunks of time and actually scheduling tasks, either in a paper-based planner or digital tool, can not only streamline your activities, but also reward you with a scientifically-proven sense of achievement, as our brains are wired to enjoy being able to tick things off a list. Why not try this 30-day filing system tip from a neurosurgeon, with one task from your ‘to do’ list allocated per day?
Don’t get stuck in your old habits!
This is your chance to change. New Year’s resolutions often fail because we set unrealistic expectations of ourselves, so take small steps every day and you will walk far. Why not pick one thing to focus on this month? Break it down into manageable goals and make this the year that you really prioritise your wellbeing!