By Erika Taylor
Hey there and Happy New Year, neighbor! I’ve seen a couple funny social media posts bidding adieu to 2022. Not gonna lie, I am squarely in that camp. I am confident that someday I will look back and see only the lessons I was meant to learn, the resilience my family showed, and the gifts the past 12 months had to offer. Currently working in that direction!
I am full of gratitude for excellent medical care as well as friends and family who gathered me up in a net of love and support this year and always. But from where I’m sitting today, my overwhelming feeling about 2022?
Well, let’s just leave it at practicing gratitude and looking forward. And, in case you’re feeling similarly, that’s an okay place to be sitting. I’m not really much for resolutions. I’m more of a “building sustainable habits over time” kinda gal. I’ve seen this approach work with clients from all walks of life and I’ve felt it work myself. Hey look, there’s one of those lessons of 2022! So many people jump into huge New Year’s resolutions.
Motivation wanes, they don’t reach their goal, and they give up. A couple rounds of that is enough to put anyone off of goal-setting at all. So let’s forget it’s the new year and practice building achievable, meaningful, life-sustaining habits today—for everyday—in four simple steps.
Step 1. Choose a habit you want in your life and one action that supports it. It can be anything! Here are some I suggest first to most of my clients:
Hydrate: Drink 20 ounces of water first thing in the morning. Drink a glass of water every hour. Add lemon to three glasses of water a day.
Eat more fiber: Add high-fiber fruit to one meal a day. Take a fiber supplement. Eat three servings of high fiber foods a day.
Move: Make a date to walk with a friend. Do 15 squats a day. Put your walking shoes on every morning.
Connect: Text a friend. Write a letter. Meet a colleague for a walk.
Step 2. Pick a thing you already do: brush your teeth, make coffee, pee … This is your “cue” habit. It’s the one you will pin your new habit to. Write yourself a note as if the new habit is already true. “While I brush my teeth I do five squats.” Tape it somewhere you will see it as you’re doing your cue habit. Mine’s on my bathroom mirror.
Step 3. Do your thing. Arrive at work, fill your water bottle. Make a phone call, do 10 calf raises. Make your breakfast, eat a handful of blueberries. Shave, text your neighbor.
Step 4. Pat yourself on your back and say out loud, “Great work.” Or, any combo of physical and verbal celebration that works for you. I love a good hand clap paired with an, “Oh, yea!” It may feel silly at first but I promise you, it works! If you refuse to feel silly and your habit is in public, you can substitute a whistle or tongue click.
A few days into it the new habit you’ve stacked on the old one will start to take hold. Magic lies in manageability. If you skip your new habit, ask yourself if it was too much. If so, dial it back. One squat after you pee is a perfectly good place to start!
If 20 ounces of water when your feet hit the floor in the morning is too much, start with 10. And if you are still skipping, maybe you’ve picked a goal you aren’t ready for yet. Want to know the very best wellness habit to add to your routine? That’s easy, it’s the one you will do. Don’t give up! It can take time to find the balance between what you know you need to do to be well and what you are willing to consistently do.
That’s why this method works! It allows us to both practice learning new habits and uncover what’s stopping us from taking care of ourselves at the same time. If you try this, I would love to hear how it goes, or other ways you’ve been able to add wellness to your life.
One of the most positive things of 2022 for me was hearing from readers. I sincerely thank you for taking time to read our lovely local paper. Wishing you wellness in the new year and today.
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email erika@ tayloredfitness.com.