It is hard to believe that 2017 is almost over but it is time to face the fact that another year has slipped by. We could all take a second and ask ourselves if we accomplished what we wanted in 2017 but I don’t believe that looking backwards is the best way to move forward. For years I have loved to make people roll their eyes by saying, “Today is the first day, of the best days, of your life.” But honestly, I really do believe today is a clean slate and it is an opportunity to move forward a be a little better.
So why wait to make another New Year’s resolution, let’s appreciate the new day today and start living a little better now!
If you google habits of healthy or successful people you will find that everyone has an answer or a list of key steps to take to make your dreams a reality. Rather than send you a wild goose chase I will do my best to give you some direction.
First, spend some time with yourself. Studies show that taking time to meditate and be mindful can help improve your emotional intelligence and decrease perceived stress (Chu, 2010). Taking this time to lower your stress will allow you to look at things more clearly and this is important when figuring out what it is you really want to be healthy and happy.
If you have never taken the time to figure out what you need in your life will you be able to help your career, your friends or your family? When you are on a plane getting ready to take off we are always told in the safety instructions to put our oxygen mask on first and then help others. Think about that. We cannot help those around us if we are not healthy. It is a recipe for disaster to think otherwise.
Time to find a notebook and a pen. We are not going to write resolutions we are going to write goals. Taking the time to actually write down goals is associated with feeling less upset, more happy and is actually related to being sick less often (King, 2001). Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and have a Time limit.
Making specific goals is important because the more specific the goal the more direct path to get there and less chance of getting lost along the way. Saying your goal is to be healthier provides very little direction. However, if you make your goal to increase exercise to lose three inches on your waist, you now have path.
Making your goals measurable isn’t just about being able to measure your waist size. It allows you to see progress. If you have ever been stuck doing a monotonous job that has no end in sight you know how easy it is to lose motivation. Measuring success along the way will help you to keep going even on the days when it seems impossible.
Attainable and realistic goals are the only goals you will reach. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dream big and set the bar high. It means you may need to set some smaller goals that will act as a ladder to help you reach your dream.
Every goal must have a time frame to keep you honest. If you say I would like to save $20,000 someday, how will you know how much you have to save each day to get there? If you say I would like to save $20,000 over the next 5 years you now can break that down to $4000 per year, $333.33 per month, $76.92 per week, $10.75 per day. Now, $20,000 is as easy as bringing your lunch to work and not buying that expensive latte every day.
Making a commitment to a new lifestyle cannot happen overnight. We all have to make small improvements every day to get a little better in each facet of our lives. We recommend starting with your health because if you don’t put the oxygen mask on first you can’t take care of anything or anyone else.
If you two of your goals are to be healthier and save money (Hint: Healthier can equal savings) we can help you set attainable goals that will allow you to aim for becoming a little healthier every day. Also, chiropractic care has been shown to be a very cost-effective health care model, it’s a win win.
Dr. Jeric Toney.