If you are still wondering where last year went, or if you are still reeling from the hectic holiday celebrations, then you are not alone! With all the hustle and bustle associated with the end of the year, most people take the start of a new year to refocus their priorities, set some new goals and make plans for success. I want to share with you five ways that you can start your new year off right.
(1) Write Down Your Top Values and Principles
What are the things that guide you and motivate you? What are the things in your life that are “non-negotiable”. What do you treasure in this life and what do you want to pour into on a regular basis?
Write them down.
(2) Schedule A Time Audit
A time audit is perhaps one of the most eye-opening things I have ever done. We all want to accomplish more. We all want to be a better spouse, a better parent, or more successful at work. Most people probably believe they are principle-driven and are living in alignment with their priorities. One of the biggest causes of stress is when you are living your life outside of your principles and priorities.
A simple time audit can show this in a powerful way. We are all given the same amount of time. We all have, barring some unforeseen tragedy, 31,536,000 seconds in the “time account” of our new year. What we do with that time matters!
Choose a time-frame…whether it be three days, one week or longer and commit to evaluating everything you do during your waking hours. This can be done every 1/4 or every 1/2 hour. Write down what you were working on. Yep, if you are trying to beat that level in Candy Crush for the last half hour…write it down! At the conclusion of your set time frame review your notes. Are you spending your time on the things that you value and hold dear to you?
If you have a top value of your children, yet your time audit reveals you spent no time with them this week, there is a disconnect. Something needs to change.
If your marriage is a priority to you, yet your time audit shows little, to no, meaningful time spent with your spouse, then there is a disconnect. Something needs to change.
Identify what needs to change now…so you can look back at this year without any regrets.
(3) Choose to Be Grateful
Yes. I said choose.
Being grateful and having a heart of thankfulness is a choice. The Bible says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18) What do you do in the bad times? You should choose to be thankful. What do you do when the kids have the flu? You should give thanks. What do you do when the work load seems to heavy? You can choose to be grateful. You can choose this because a child with the flu means you have a child to love, cherish and nurture. Your heavy work load means you have a job and can earn an income for your family.
Research has shown that simply keeping a gratitude journal each morning when you wake up can reduce your stress and keep you more focused on the tasks at hand.
Choose to be grateful!
(4) Protect Your Brain
Your brain is a wonderful gift. We want our minds to be sharp, our memories to be long-lasting, and our ability to learn to never dull. However, there are many enemies of the brain (I will be talking a lot about this in the upcoming year).
Protect your brain with some simple steps. Use the Foundational Five nutrients every day. Use a brain-specific form of nutrients for general brain health and brain specific magnesium each day. Eat a variety of color every day. Learn something new. Read a new book. Call an old friend. Start a new hobby. Do things to protect your brain every day. Our brain is dynamically changing and we can play a large role in increasing our brain’s health.
(5) Improve Your Omega-3 Status
This may sound like an odd thing to put in a list of ways to improve your new year, but make no mistake about it…your fats matter. Healthy levels of omega-3 fats can protect your brain (remember tip #4?), reduce cardiovascular disease risk, assist in learning and behavior, and healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids can help you maintain a healthy weight!
A simple blood spot from a finger-prick can be used to determine your omega-3 fatty acid levels. Your levels should be 8-10%. Levels that are too low can be detrimental to your health. We offer a simple test in our office. If you are interested, contact our office and we will help you get this test measured for you.
I hope that this new year is the best year you have ever had! I want to try and send educational messages to you this year with the goal of connecting you to God, educating you on your health, and motivating you to love. I look forward to this year’s journey!