This year, take a new approach to setting resolutions … don’t do it! Yes, I’m one of those that resists creating those hard-to-keep resolutions each New Year.
Before anyone thinks I’m against self-improvement (hopefully, all of you know it’s quite the opposite), hear me out …
A Different Spin on New Year’s Resolutions …
Even though we don’t make New Year resolutions in our family, we DO set what we call “Experiments and Challenges.” I find this shift in thinking makes this whole New Year’s business a lot more fun!
So what’s the difference?
Basically, we take the fear out of failure by viewing it as an experiment that might work or might fail. The important thing is that we reflect and take action on challenges and opportunities that come our way. These experiments may not last all year, either. We focus on each for a period of time, and just see what happens!
In this special New Year’s podcast, I’m sharing our 2018 family experiments, and some of my personal ones as well. I’d love to hear what you’re planning in the new year, so please leave me a comment or review and let me know!
Happy Happy New Year!
Happy New Year and best wishes for 2018 to each of you … I’m looking forward to having more conversations here on the podcast, and excited for all that’s to come!
In This Episode I Share
- a look back at 2017 and some of its highlights (and challenges!)
- one spin on setting resolutions for the New Year that has especially helped our family
- some of our favorite experiments + challenges, and what we’ll be working on in 2018
- ideas for creating a “Family Manifesto,” and how we’re changing ours as our kids grow
- how keeping a simple journal is improving my health (and my organization)
- the 6 key health habits that changed my life and my health (and they’re totally free, I might add!)
And one big announcement! Be the first to learn about big things happening with the blog in 2018! (Hint: I won’t be the only Wellness Mama anymore!)
Resources I Mention
- My 7-Day Soup Detox and Reset with Christa Orechio (Jan. 9 – Jan. 16, 2018)
- F.lux Software (Reduces Digital Blue Light at Night)
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Health Journal
- The Health Benefits of Gratitude
- Benefits of Salt Baths
- How to Create a Perfect Sleep Environment
- My Wake Light Alarm Clock (and other sleep essentials I keep on my nightstand)
- Gregorian Chant CD
- Benefits of Dry Brushing (here are the brushes I use)
- The Happy Secret to Better Work (TED Talk by Shawn Achor)
More From Wellness Mama
- 403: Whew! 2020 in Review + Experiments, Highlights, and Systems for 2021
- My Take on New Yea’s Resolutions (+ The Best of 2019)
Child: Welcome to my mommy’s podcast.
Katie: Hi, and Happy New Year 2018. And welcome to “The Healthy Moms Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com, and thank you for spending time with me today. I’m excited for the new year. I actually find it really hard to believe that 2017 is already over. I know for our family it was an amazing, busy, crazy, whirlwind here, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. One of the highlights for us was definitely taking a 7,500-mile RV trip that lasted seven weeks and covered 19 states. And we were home schooling during that and trying to run the blog and everything else during that. So it was a whirlwind and it was crazy. Other than that, we traveled out of the country twice as a family, and any kind of travel with six kids is crazy, but international especially, and I also took a trip to Switzerland to learn at a natural medicine clinic there. And I’ll be sharing a lot of that information over the next year, and I might even have a chance for you guys to actually go visit. So it’s pretty awesome.
I got to hike in Alp while I was there, so funny story about that. When someone from Germany says, “You’re gonna go on a little hike,” their definition can literally sometimes mean hiking over an Alp. I think it was like a 20-mile hike. It was very long, awesome, and very tiring. And let’s see, also this year, I think by the numbers I’ve cooked a thousand meals for at least eight people and I spent, I think, probably, like, a third of my time feeding all the children in my house.
But it’s been a wonderful year and I think 2018 will be just as exciting, if not more so. And I’m really looking forward to this next year and I’m looking forward to spending some of that time with you. And this is the time of the year that my husband and I really sit down, and we set our experiments and challenges for the next year. And the reason we call them experiments and challenges instead of goals is kind of several fold. So basically, the way our mindsets work, we’re both very Type A, and with goals or resolutions it’s possible to succeed or fail. You either reach it or you don’t. And there’s a time and a place for those and I’m actually a big fan of setting goals. But when it comes to things we’re going to do together or to things that are important to our family we tend to focus on experiments and challenges instead because experiments are designed to test a hypothesis. So there’s no possibility of failure there’s only learning. Either proving or disproving, but either way you learn from it.
So for our things that we do together or for our family, we call them experiments and we focus on those instead. And this tends to evoke a lot more action and excitement than just the idea of goals or resolutions, so we keep the focus there. And it’s something you can try if you have set resolutions in the past or goals and had trouble reaching them, maybe this year call it an experiment or a challenge and let it be fun instead. And this comes somewhat from the idea that Tim Ferriss put out there. He says that he thinks of life in terms of two-week experiments and six-month projects. And both of those are basically much more doable. Like I said, this creates a mindset of experimentation, which means that even if things go wrong or you don’t accomplish what you hope you learn from them. And it also makes everything much more doable and bite size.
I think the idea of like a one-year resolution or goal, or a five-year plan can be really hard to break down into achievable pieces. And as humans it’s easy to think, “Oh well, I’ll just…I’m gonna do it in five years, but I’ll really start focusing on that in the last two years,” and you put it off when you could be taking action right now. So this is a fun tip that we do and so I’ll be sharing some of the exciting parts of our challenges and experiment soon, but as I sneak peek that I’m only telling podcast listeners for now, “Wellness Mama” is going to slowly start becoming much more of a community than just a blog. So I won’t be the face of the only wellness mama anymore. That’s all I’ll say for now, more on that soon. But just look for some really fun and exciting changes and all of that with the goal of reaching more families and creating a community that helps you guys.
But for now, I wanted to share a few of the experiments that I’m gonna be focusing on in this New Year and also a few fun ones that you can try that are essentially either free or almost free. So first and foremost, the new one I’m gonna be trying really soon, starting January 9th if you wanna join me, is a food-based detox. Basically, a soup cleanse. I’m running this together with my friend, Christa Orecchio, who is a clinical nutritionist and she’s also just a super amazing human being, and she’s pregnant with her first child and due very, very soon. And so as she prepares for birth and as all of us probably maybe overindulged a little over the last couple of weeks, we decided to team up to do, basically, a whole life reset, which would be…it’s gonna be a food-based soup cleanse. So you’re not fasting, you’re not taking any crazy supplements. She’s gonna be guiding us through a soup-based cleanse where it’s very just targeted specialized soups that target different organs in the body to try to, like, revive your entire system for the new year, get things digestion going well, the immune system strong before flu season.
And I’m gonna be guiding a lifestyle reset of helping to just reset your home to a more natural, less stress, more planning, and getting the chemicals out. I know a lot of you guys are already there, but if you wanna join us, I’m gonna be doing it, like I said. And I know a lot of people have already joined on, it’s gonna be super fun. We’re gonna have three live webinars where you can talk to us, and ask questions, and I’d love to see you there. You can find out more at wellnessmama.com/go/soup-detox. So that’s wellnessmama.com/go/soup-detox. So, yeah, find out more there and I’d love to see you on these webinars and to chat with you.
Another thing that we’re doing this year as our experiment and challenge that we do every year is refining our family manifesto. And so what this means is I think it’s easy because family life can be so busy and have so many challenges to just kind of get stuck in a rut or to be just trying to put out fires more than being able to actually, like, proactively have a plan because there is so much busyness. And so as a family we’ve been each year adopting a manifesto that helps us all be more intentional, not just in the New Year, but beyond that as well. And this comes from the idea, my husband and I have always had some long-term objectives and things we hope to impart to our kids before they leave home. But now, as they’re getting older we’re trying to make them an active part of this and make them feel, very much, a part of the family culture and important to it. And instead of just passive students or, rather than us trying to just “teach them things” or, like, impart things to them, making them an active part of that process.
So I’m actually gonna be sharing a lot more about our family dynamics and our parenting decisions in the coming months because a lot of you guys have asked about homeschooling, or parenting, or how we’re creating an entrepreneurial mindset in our kids. But we’ve been refining this family manifesto over the last few years to focus on things that are important to us and, like I said, to help create a family culture. And I’m gonna be, like I said, delving into a lot more of this soon, but this is just one of our New Year’s experiments that we always do.
And so some of the things, for instance, that are in our family manifesto that we include is a focus and we’re very intentional about, I mentioned the entrepreneurial mindset, which this is something that is very important to both of us and it’s important for us to teach our kids because I really do think that our children’s generation, especially, they’re gonna face quite a few problems especially the way the world is looking right now, and the environment, and just there’s a lot of problems. And so it’s really important to us to raise them with an entrepreneurial mindset to try to tackle these problems. So basically, a mindset of solving problems, and thinking outside the box, and connecting the dots where other people aren’t connecting the dots. And so we have a lot of ways of doing that like I said, I’ll be explaining more of those soon. But those are really important things to us to impart to them.
Along with that we have it as part of our family culture and our manifesto to always cultivate the skill of learning new skills quickly. And the reason for this is what we really strongly feel with our kids, and especially homeschooling them and being responsible for their education, that we truly can’t actually know the things, the skills that they’re going to need when they’re adults because, likely, a lot of those skills have not even been invented yet. So, for instance, if I had tried at my son’s age, age 11 to learn how to grow an online business it would not have actually been possible because that platform that didn’t exist, that job, that experience did not exist in the world and that’s gonna very likely be the case for whatever they choose to do in life, as well.
So what we can do is teach them how to learn quickly and to say yes to new opportunities and then figure it out as they go. That way, whatever they end up doing in life when they’re older they’ll have the skill set to be able to adapt to it. So, like I said, I’ll be sharing more on this soon, but that’s something we really cultivate in our family and we challenge ourselves as adults to do too, is to try new experiences and always to make learning a part of every aspect of life and to focus on being able to learn and implement new skills quickly.
And I mentioned a little in passing, but another part of our family culture is the focus on trying new things and getting out of our comfort zone, which I think I would say I in the family have the most struggle with this. My husband’s very naturally adventurous and all of the kids are too, which I think means I’m going to be naturally grey-haired by the time I’m 40, but from all their daringness, which I love. I love their independent spirit. But they’re really good at trying new things and getting out of their comfort zones and we always try to encourage them and ourselves. And I think it’s usually easier for them than for us to…if you have opportunities that come down the road, accept them, try new things, get out of your comfort zone, and figure it out as you go. Because, at least I know for me, I tend to learn more quickly when there is pressure. Unfortunately, I think most of us do. But that some of the unexpected opportunities have been the ones in life that I have learned the most from.
Another part of our family manifesto, especially now as our kids are getting older and having a lot more friends involved in their lives, is that we love and include everyone as part of our culture. And so that means, like, there’s a lot of kids in our neighborhood and a lot of families that we’re around all the time and as our kids are getting older we’re really trying to encourage them to make sure that everybody’s being included, that everybody gets to be part of the group somehow. To also to stand up and be the voice for those who are getting left out because I think that’s…it’s easy to happen, it’s natural with kids, but it’s also a good reminder for adults. Because we certainly all need community, and we certainly all need to choose people who we feel supported by and who we can support. But I think that it’s also important sometimes and sometimes lost in today’s world to remember that we can still love and include everybody, even if we’re not their best friend. So that’s a good childhood lesson that we’re trying to remember as adults, as well.
And then another aspect of our family manifesto and our culture is that we always learn, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re learning in school. Again, that goes back to the fact that the skills they may need to know as adults likely don’t exist in the form they’re gonna need yet, but we always, always are gonna need to learn new things in life. And so to look for the lessons in life wherever they are.
Okay, so another thing…I’ll get back to one in a minute, but we also have it as part of our culture that we don’t shy away from unfairness and failure. So if you’ve ever been around me and my kids if they ever say something along the lines of, “It’s not fair.” They get a lecture from me to actually stop saying it because they all know the answer now. But they get a lecture along the lines of congratulations you have figured out one of the great facts of life that a lot of kids don’t learn till they get to be a much older, which is that life is actually not fair and nor is it equal and there’s gonna be lots of things in life that we can’t control and that don’t shakeout equally for us and there’s going to be those who have much more than us. There’s also going to be those that have less than us and we have to be cognizant of helping them. But life certainly isn’t there, and it certainly isn’t equal, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be, but we should learn from that the importance of helping others whenever we can. And also, there is a lesson, too, in accepting things from those who we can learn from or who can help us at times.
So we foster unfairness because, as any adult knows, certainly life is not fair. I cook, like, 85% of the meals and I only eat one-eighth of it, and that’s on a good day when the kids aren’t that hungry. There’s many aspects of life that aren’t fair and we shouldn’t necessarily expect life to be fair all the time. And we also foster failure and I talked about that a little bit earlier as far as with experiences and goals and that it’s possible to fail from a goal but not an experience. But in daily life we try to keep that as kind of our culture as well that failure is a good thing because you always learn from it. And also realizing as adults, most of the time in life the things we look back on they seemed so, so, so, difficult at the time, in two years when you look back you have learned from and they don’t seem nearly as hard.
And so we don’t try to protect our kids from failure, but we try to let them try to do things in a safe way in our home in a way that we can help them, and also let them fail sometimes and learn those lessons while they’re still here and we can nurture them and talk them through it and hopefully they can learn from it.
And another thing, now that we’ve got almost teenagers, which I can’t believe I actually say those words and I feel quite old when I do, something we do that’s part of our family culture that is definitely probably unusual, and I’ll talk more about this is well this year, so we home school. And they’ll finish most of their formal education before about high school age and this is really…there’s an important reason for this. And it’s like I said, we’re trying to raise children who if they choose to be could be entrepreneurs or who at least have entrepreneurial mindset of trying to solve problems and to help people. And so part of this is they’re finished with their formal schooling where they can pass and do well in the ACT or SAT, at that point, and that will give us the years to just stick to the basics and then be able to nurture them in, what we’re calling, like, a business incubator for our kids.
And what we’re trying to do there is teach them, again, those lessons of failure, of creative learning, and adapting to new things quickly, and implementing things, and thinking outside the box. So as part of that, we are encouraging them before they leave home and certainly before we would ever give them a car or a driver’s license, that they have to learn, then they have to run a profitable business for one year. And this may not be…it doesn’t have to make a lot of money, it doesn’t have to do anything extremely large scale. It could be something local. It could be, you know, lawn mowing or landscaping or something. But to us, this is a really good way that we can teach them a lot of lessons about managing finances for one, and accountability and responsibility and also, of course, the focus of helping others and improving things, whether that be in our local community or a larger community. So it’s going to be fun as we start transitioning this. It’s been part of our family culture and plan for a long time and now we’re starting to have kids old enough that we’re starting to get to nurture them in these new ideas.
But again, more on all that soon, that’s just part of a lot of what we’ve been talking about as a family as we approach the new year. Another thing I’m doing is a experiment for myself this year, I’m refining the journaling process. So I’ve always kept some aspects of a journal, but this year for the sake of research and a bunch of new health things I’m gonna be trying, I’m really getting a much more detail journaling process going. So I’d like to keep this, like, leather journals. I do also have the…I’ve tried the five-minute Journal, the bullet journal, a lot of those. But right now, I’m just using a leather journal that I write down things I’m grateful for. I write down, like, just a health picture overview of the day. Supplements, if I’m to testing blood glucose or ketones or any of those that data goes in there because that lets me see longer term trends and it takes two minutes a day. It’s kind of fun.
I also put in there, parts of my daily to do list, especially my two most important things. Which is another…this would be number three on my New Year’s experiments list. And I’ve done this for years it’s just one I always continue each year, which is my top two list each day. So I have a rotating…or an ever growing list of things I need to do, but every day the two most important move to the top and the reason for that is, if that all I can get on that day, besides obviously feeding my family keeping up with the household, if all I can get done is those two most important things, then I can consider that day a success. So again, it goes back to making long term things much more accomplishable on a smaller scale and a daily basis. That also just really helps me not get overwhelmed. And I’ve shared before a little bit about my whole plan and how I kind of run my life according to a schedule. That helps a ton as well because I know when there’s a time and a place for cooking and for laundry and for home schooling and all those things. So I don’t have to stress about those things when it’s not their time. And that the two top two to do list thing also gives me that mental stress relief because I know the most important things, so I can let go of the smaller things until it’s their time to get done. And that’s just an easy tip that’s totally free that anybody can do is just, even if it’s a post it note or a journal or on your phone and in the reminders app just keep the two most important things you have to do that day at the top and try to accomplish those and if you get through that consider it a success and that’s awesome.
And just some other fun New Year’s experiments or challenges you can try that are free or almost free that I would encourage anyone to do, and just some fun ones, and I’d love to hear if you’re trying any of these. I just compiled some of my favorites either from the past or things I’m going to be doing this year. And the first one I would say is sleep, and sleep is free or almost free and of course as Mom’s there are many situations that make it to get enough sleep. But in general, sleep is one of the best things we can do for our health, it’s also free, and most of us aren’t getting enough. But really, sleep is a nonnegotiable when it comes to health. So we know that sleep helps the body restore and heal, really, it’s vital for hormone production, for us to have a good mood in the next day, it can aid in weight loss, and basically, if you aren’t sleeping you aren’t healthy. And even just one missed night of sleep can give you the blood sugar levels of a diabetic or pre-diabetic.
So sleep is that important and it’s pretty simple to make sleep changes if you can commit to it. And, granted of course, there’s a lot of conditions that go into play here. There’s something more serious you might need to work with the doctor, but there’s some just simple things that I found that really help with sleep. Which is, what I’ve found is creating a sleep environment really helps a lot and there’s also some routine things that can help improve sleep. So, for instance, a daily or nightly routine can make a really big difference in how easily you can fall asleep and stay asleep. And I found that this is very much a personalized thing, there’s a lot of experimentation to find out what’s gonna work best for you, but based on my own experience here are some helpful suggestions I’ve experimented with over the years.
One is to wake up and go to bed at the same time even on weekends. And this is a hard one because I’m definitely one who would love to just sleep in on Saturday mornings and stay in my pajamas. But, from the data, we know that if you keep your hormones cycles regular, you actually it’s helpful to the body to sleep and rise at the same time. Simple things like avoiding caffeine after noon. My husband doesn’t have to do that, for instance, he can drink coffee right before bed and sleep, but I’m definitely one who has to avoid caffeine later in the day or I can’t fall asleep. There is a free app called f.lux, F.L-U-X. You can put it on computers and devices. I think it’s even on phones now or you can use Night Shift on an iPhone and this reduces a blue light at night which is shown to help you sleep better. Because blue light, the central idea is that it comes from the sun and that when you’re exposed to it signals your body that it’s day time and reduces melatonin.
So f.lux is one easy way and free way to reduce that. Also drinking enough water during the day and hydrating can improve sleep, but you also want to stop drinking about two hours before bed, so you don’t have to wake up and go to the bathroom. Other small simple ideas take a soothing absence or bath or detox bath about an hour before bed. That raises the body temperature and then the following drop in body temperature back to normal can help you fall asleep. I have also found that dry brushing can really help improve sleep, so doing that a few hours before bed is supposed to really, not only help with your skin and your lymphatic flow, I’ve found it really improves my sleep as well.
Another free one I’ll talk more about it in a minute, but is to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day. And this is huge especially…this is even if you aren’t concerned about the vitamin D, it’s not just about that, it’s about the light. So the exposure to a wide spectrum light during the day this boost serotonin levels which will then in turn help improve melatonin levels at night when you’re trying to sleep. So the more time we can spend outside…there are so many health benefits and I’ve written about it before, but that’s a free and easy and all around healthy thing to do anyway. And as a corollary to that, avoiding artificial light as much as possible after the sun goes down because again, our body’s not used to blue light or bright spectrum lights at night. So the way we do this, we have really bright spectrum natural bulbs in our house that are on during the day and ideally, we’re just outside as much as possible. And then after sundown we have lamps that have only orange spectrums that are very low light. So that creates the feeling of dusk or just being around a campfire and signals the body to start making melatonin. We found that also helps the kids sleep. And also stretching before bed can help relax muscles and release sleep hormones.
Another thing I would encourage anyone to do, especially with kids, is to make little tweaks to your sleep environment, and this has been huge for me. We know from the data that your sleep environment is really important for sleep quality, so things like artificial light, or too warm temperatures, or noises, or even EMF can all affect sleep quality. But these things are almost always fixable. You have, in most cases, you have pretty good control over your sleep environment. And this is, again, very personal, but some of the things that I’ve noticed that seem to be pretty universal are removing all artificial light. And this one I know there’s some resistance when it comes to kids, and I can say from my experience with six of them, that this makes a big difference in their sleep and if you want your kids to sleep more, which I think most parents do, or you want to sleep more which I think most parents also do, this is a great one. So this means covering up things like alarm clocks, TV lights, phones, we use blackout curtains in all of our rooms because there are street lights outside. We cover our alarm clock with a towel, kids don’t have night lights and this all just helps us sleep well.
And I’ve realized how sensitive I am from now having removed all artificial light. I actually travel with a roll of electrical tape because if I’m in a hotel and there’s like a smoke alarm light or something like that it will keep me up all night. Keeping the temperature low, they say the ideal is about 65 to 67 degrees, but always below 70, is supposed to help hormones for sleep. Trying things like white noise like rain, or ocean, our kids like Gregorian chants, those always tend to help them sleep. The kids especially, it tends to just keep any other noises from waking them and we also traded our alarm clocks for either, like, gentle alarms on our phone or a sunlight alarm clock that wakes us up with light and there’s a lot of interesting research there as far as light and hormone signaling. So those are some sleep tips.
I mentioned it under the sleep category, but I would also say it’s a good New Year’s experiment or challenge to spend more time outside because I’ve written about it a lot. Nature has a ton of benefits, but just going outside a few minutes a day can be great for health and a lot of ways. So my doctor, Dr. Alan Christiansen, he specializes in thyroid health and adrenal health, and he has done a lot of research in this area. And he’s found that just even 20 to 30 minutes of outside time, especially in the morning shortly after waking up, really helps improve the circadian rhythm and makes, like, noticeable and lab test provable changes in hormone levels. So that’s a really great thing to do to improve… So his advice is to go outside for 30 minutes within an hour of waking up, if possible. And so his tip is that your body uses cortisol to rescue you from low blood sugar. He said you can also use carbs this way because you can help use them to regulate your cortisol, especially if you are having sleep problems. So he says, start your day with 25 to 35 grams of protein and finish with carbs. So basically, his plan eat proteins and fats in the morning, eat carbs at night. And these options could be things like sweet potatoes, or turnips, or squash, or beets, or rutabagas, it does not have to be bread. But having some healthy carbs late at night helps with the cortisol levels and it can also help improve all your hormones like lepton and ghrelin and a bunch of others. But that, again, starts with getting some light in the morning. So that’s a really easy free tip and it’s great for you.
Other things that we’re trying that are free and that foster a lot of good things in life are gratitude and I’ve written about this as well. But we know that stress has a negative impact on health, but research is now finding that having equitable attitude of gratitude can be an antidote to stressful situations because in modern life we can’t avoid things that are stressors, and even if we don’t feel mentally stressed we’re still encountering artificial light, and we’re still encountering EMFs, and we’re still encountering situations which our body considers stressful. But the researchers found that grateful people or those who perceive gratitude as a permanent trait rather than a temporary state of mind have an edge on those who aren’t as grateful when it comes to health. There’s a lot of research on this. So grateful people are found to take better care of themselves, they engage in more protective health behaviors like exercise and healthy diet, and they tend to just also be more involved in their communities. So cultivating an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude is linked to better hormone balance, better immune function, better ability to relax, that one makes sense, and even decrease rates of disease.
But there’s an interesting paradox here. So it’s easy to fall into the trap, I think especially this time of year with the holidays, falling into the trap of thinking, “If only I had XYZ, I’d be happy,” or, “If only I didn’t have to deal with XYZ, I’d be happy.” But this is a pretty vicious cycle. There’s a really interesting Ted talk from someone named Shawn Anchor, and he points out that gratitude and happiness are the first step and it’s not the end result. So making the choice to be happy and have gratitude is not only healthy, but it can improve our performance and our ability, as well. So in other words, it’s not that if we had these things or didn’t have to deal with these things that we would be happy, but if we can cultivate happiness and gratitude those things won’t seem as bad to begin with. But as human beings, I think negativity is an easy trap to fall into because it sounds really simple just to be grateful, but it turns out there’s a lot of biological reasons that that doesn’t come so easy, and that’s not a bad thing. We just have to understand it, so we can counteract it.
So, by all measures, like, if you’re listening to this right now, our living conditions are better than most of the world. We probably have all eaten food today, most of it was even food that we chose and enjoyed, we’re probably wearing clothing right now, we probably have friends and social support system or family members that we talk to regularly, which are all super important signals for health. So we all have, objectively, plenty to be grateful for. But it’s really easy to dwell on financial problems, or for me the one negative comment on a blog post, or the one thing we could wish we could fix about our bodies. And this makes sense from a biological standpoint because in past times, especially those who have survival mechanisms, we had to be aware of things like that. But they can make gratitude really difficult in today’s world because we’re wired to pay attention to things that could be negative or harmful as a survival instinct. But when we’re in a world where we’re getting constant input from the Internet and from social media and from the media on negativity this interest can backfire.
So, like I said, we try to cultivate gratitude in our family and I know a lot of people really are focusing on that. But some things that have helped us with cultivating a grateful attitude, which is, again, also free things to do to make gratitude a habit, a couple tips that have helped me, I wanted to have an deal list. So I mentioned I do this in my journal, but every day I just write down a few things I’m especially grateful for. And this could be little things like my garden, or having a dishwasher, or it could be big things like my children, or my husband, but I found that this helps me keep the focus on all the blessings in my life instead of the hard things. And I find that when I do it first thing in the morning it kind of sets the tone for the day. So my advice would be to kind of tie all that in together. Go outside, if you can, depending on where you live, or we sit by a window and get bright light in the morning and write down things you’re grateful for.
Another thing that I love doing once in a while is writing gratitude letters, which I will just write a letter to a friend or family member just thank you ma’am for their influence in my life and letting them know all the reasons I’m grateful for them. Because I think, again, it’s also easy to find struggles even in family relationships. And I think that occasionally writing, thinking about, and writing down these things help you also keep that focus on the people you love, why you’re grateful for them. And then finally, another one, that really helps me at least, is doing acts of kindness and I feel like doing small, especially unnoticed good deeds every day, for me it tends to boost the natural tendency to be grateful and to look for the good in any kind of situation. And also, it just takes us away from it’s all about me, or thinking of myself first. And obviously, like anyone, I have a long way to go on that but that’s something that’s been really helpful to me and I love sneaking in those small acts of kindness to others, especially if they can’t catch me.
So those are just a few of the free, not goals, not resolutions, but experiments and challenges that we are focusing on and adopting this year. And I’d love to hear from you guys on social media maybe tag me on Instagram. I’m Wellness Mama there with a picture of you and what you are doing this year and how you’re challenging yourself and how you are helping others or being grateful or what experiments you’re gonna try in your life. Because I’d love to hear from you guys and I’d love to hear from the community. And again, also keep an eye out, subscribe to this podcast, if you aren’t already, to keep an eye out because I’ll probably announce it here first when the big changes start happening. But there’s a lot of really fun projects coming down the works this year that I’ll just say are gonna make it a community and we’ll leave it at that. But to that note, I’d love to hear from you, so please tag me on social media and say “Hi,” and “Happy New Year.” But thank you, thank you, thank you for spending a little part of your New Year with me and for spending time here today, and I can’t wait to see you around this year more, and happy, happy new year. I hope it’s a wonderful 2018 for you and for your family.
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Will you be setting any resolutions for the New Year? What works for your family? If you have a moment, please let me know in the comments or leave me a review!