Download my New Year’s Resolution Template to help you work out your goals, vision and habits for 2019. Download the New Year’s Resolution Template
A Healthy New Year
What is the best way to eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
When it comes to altering daily habits, making small bite size changes is best. One of the first steps to creating a happy, healthy New Year is to identify the daily habits that are not serving you.
Those destructive, stress-creating habits can range from:
- How much caffeine and alcohol you drink
- Skipping lunch
- Rushing from place to place
- Not getting enough sleep
- Emotional stress at work or home
- Bad breathing habits that keep you in a stressed state
Our daily habits influence our nervous system, brain, gut, hormones and neurochemicals that are communicating around our body.
Stress and New Year’s Resolution Failure
A big factor that influences how successful we will be with our New Year’s resolutions is how we perceive or manage stress.
High cortisol levels (our stress hormone) in our body activate our primitive survival response in our body. This is an important fact as this influences the daily habits that help us cope with stress.
Smoking, food, drugs and alcohol can all work to activate our happy hormones (dopamine) in our body and numb our body from what we are experiencing. Problems occur when we get stuck on the stress rollercoaster. During periods of stress, it is common for the body to store fuel (fat) as it interprets the stress as an indicator that there is a lack of food. So, you can see that if you have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, you will not be helping yourself at all if you are suffering from stress. If you want to lose weight, you need to look at how you manage stress.
Learning to activate the calm part of your nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, is the key to success. You can do this by learning conscious breathing. You could also try other options like mindfulness, yoga or tai chi.
Healthy Eating New Year’s Resolution
When it comes to New Year healthy eating, small changes add up. An easy way to do this (and something I like to do) is to look at how I could improve just one meal of the day. That adds up to seven meals a week that are as nutritious and healthy as possible. Work on that one meal for 21 days (because it takes 21 days to change a habit!) by adding vegetables and fruit and notice how your energy levels feel.
After 21 days, take on another meal. After ten weeks, you will have reset your eating habits. This is a slow and sustainable way to transition to healthy eating successfully. And remember, simple things add up. Something as simple as setting a goal to eat three extra vegetables every day can have a huge impact on the body.
Healthy Eating habits for the New Year
While the food you eat forms the important building blocks of a healthy body, our eating habits can also tell the body to stay in a stressed state. To learn more about how these habits impact stress you can download the 30-day breathing tracker as part of Day 1 of Breathe Right & Reduce Your Stress course. Use this tracker and you’ll start to notice how eating on the go, skipping meals and caffeine intake can impact the body’s stress response and therefore how we breathe.
New Year Goal Ideas
A few years ago, my sister, Sarah told me about her New Year’s goal-setting tradition that she does with her family. I loved the idea and now every year I sit down with my kids to set goals together. It is so much fun to hear what they want to achieve and it also creates some treasured memories that we will always be able to look back on.
But my favourite New Year’s resolution story is about one of my young relatives (who will remain nameless). Their New Year’s resolution was to always wear a clean pair of undies every day. At first, we were all surprised that this was something that needed to be a resolution, The following year, when the family reviewed their year to tick off the goals that had been achieved the little person wasn’t able to tick off the goal of clean undies! But the determination is there so hopefully next year they will achieve their goal. This is a great reminder that goals can come in all shapes and
So that you can feel happy, healthy and fulfilled this year, I encourage you to download the New Year’s Resolution Template. And why not share it with your family. The template covers:
- Social goals. For example, help out at school with class reading, regularly give to the food bank, or check in on someone in your community that may be hurting.
- Financial goals. For example, save money, pay down debt.
- Adventure goals. For example, book that holiday in Africa, climb a mountain, try a dance class.
- Attitude goals. For example, be kind to your partner (yes, sometimes we need to have it as a goal to remind us), carry out random acts of kindness, see stress as a good experience and learning.
- Personal goals. For example, do a date night once a month with your partner, run a half marathon this year (make sure goals are realistic for you).
- Five new things to try this year. For example, learn a language, grow your own veggies, be creative.
2019 Fitness Trends
New Year’s resolutions often focus on getting fit and healthy. Are you in need of some inspiration to get out and move? Take a look at the top fitness trends for 2019 as predicted by thousands of exercise professionals.
1. Group Training
You are more likely to stick to your health and exercise goals when you work with others. There are lots of options for classes, online groups and trainers that offer group fitness to keep you motivated and on track.
Yoga isn’t all downward dogs and Lululemon. Yoga offers so many benefits and I personally love it because of the stretching and the conscious breathing. Like most exercise, each teacher will offer their own style so shop around and find the teacher that suits you. I highly recommend learning about diaphragmatic breathing alongside your yoga practice. Some yoga styles teach full chest breathing, which is not a calm, relaxed breathing pattern, and can make you more stressed if you are already stuck in a pattern of over-breathing.
3. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
These workouts can be short and sweet and ideal for busy lives. Usually, HIIT workouts are less than an hour and focus on strength and cardio. Standard workouts are at least 45 minutes or more and a workout this long can cause the body to produce more cortisol which is stored as fuel (fat). This is why short HIIT exercise is perfect for those trying to lose the weight.
4. Nature Bathing
While this wasn’t in the Top 10 2019 exercise trends, it is definitely in my Top 10. Take time this year to spend more time out in nature. Walk, swim, hike, bike, sit. Whatever it is just get out and bathe in the beauty of nature that surrounds us.
Mental Health New Year’s Resolution
My final New Year’s resolution tip is about setting goals for your mental health. Anxiety, depression and mental illness isn’t a switch that can be turned on and off. It takes work and effort to change habits and chemical pathways that drive changes in the brain, emotions and body.
This is an important reason to set realistic goals that help nurture your mental health. Maybe your goal is to go to the doctor and talk about how you are feeling. Maybe it is to talk to a close friend. Maybe it is to try mindfulness and anxiety exercises to help you through the tough moments. Maybe it is to keep up a regular exercise routine.
One of life’s constants is that change is inevitable. Arming yourself with tools that help you deal with life’s ups and downs before things derail may be one of the best resolutions you set this year.
Unique New Year’s Resolutions
Whatever your goals are for the year, make them unique to you. Create your dream 2019 by embracing fear, embarking on new learning and opening your heart to new relationships, connections and moments. Be okay to dream big.
What is my New Year’s Resolution?
I like to set a guiding theme for my goals because it helps keep me on track. This year my theme is flow. Those that know me know that I am a very driven and passionate person. While I love to create change, inspire and be a super mum (which I often fail dramatically at) my body and mind often pay for the stress and load I place on it. My resolution is to practice what I preach and breathe through the highs and lows over the coming year.
Wishing you all a gentler and kinder 2019 ahead. Download the New Year’s Resolution Template
Emma Ferris is known as a breathing guru and is the creator of Breathe Right & Reduce Your Stress 30-day breathing course. Drawing on a 16-year career in physiotherapy, breathing coaching, workplace education and stress management, Emma is teaching the world to find their calm and stress less at The Breath Effect. You can find her online, running retreats or in clinic.
New Years Resolution Template
What you dream about you bring about
What would the best year of your life look like?
Take five minutes to write down your vision of your best year. Visualise it, Notice what you smell, feel and taste. Write it all down.
(Sometimes it is easier to work with a partner to do this exercise. Close your eyes and let the words flow, they can write it down for you.)
What daily habits are not serving your body and mind?
What does healthy eating look like to you?
What does healthy exercise look like to you?
Make it SMART so that it fits into your daily life, i.e. walk the dog four times a week for 30 minutes.
Now that you are clearer on what is important to you for 2019 set your goals based on this. Three goals in each category is a good start, but you can always add
- Social goals.
- Financial goals.
- Adventure goals.
- Attitude goals.
- Personal goals.
example, help out at school with class reading, regularly give to the food bank, or check in on someone in your community that may be hurting.
For example, save money, pay down debt.
For example, book that holiday in Africa, climb a mountain, try a dance class.
For example, be kind to your partner (yes, sometimes we need to have it as a goal
to remind us), carry out random acts of kindness, see stress as a good
experience and learning.
For example, do a date night once a month with your partner, run a half marathon
this year (make sure goals are realistic for you).
Feed Your Soul
List 10 things that nurture and feed your soul
When you are having a mentally tough day come back to this list and do one of the ideas
from this list.
Five New Things for 2019
Finally, list five new things you want to try over this year,
For example, learn a language, grow your own veggies, be creative.