Originally published on transformingthenation.com.au
The idea of making a New Year’s resolution is a bit of a joke for a lot of people. This year why not seriously consider making a New Year’s resolution that not only makes sense but is also a resolution worth sticking to? Here, Russell Herbert Jack, founder of Southland Yoga Training, explores New Year’s resolutions to make a reality this year.
Explore New Year’s resolutions
Reduce Plastic Use
While recycling is better than throwing items in the garbage, reducing use altogether is even better, especially given not many plastics are fully recyclable. For example, buy eggs in cardboard cartons versus plastic containers. Even better, purchase eggs from a local source raising chickens and package them in a reusable box. Consider all of the plastics that are used simply buying produce: clamshell plastic containers that berries are often sold in, plastic bags to carry apples or oranges, and plastic containers used to sell many lettuce products are just a few of the unnecessary uses of plastic. Bring a reusable cloth or mesh bag to package produce.
Make Yoga a Daily Routine
Some people are under the misconception that only flexible people can do yoga. This is not true. All that is needed is a comfortable floor, preferably a yoga mat, comfortable clothing, and either an in-person instructor or an online yoga class. Or, with experience, doing yoga independently without an instructor is also an option. If new to yoga, start with a gentle flow class and slowly build up to longer, more intense classes. If time management is a challenge, only do a short 10- or 15-minute class. Doing yoga daily helps manage stress and improve mental health while building strength and flexibility. Always remember only to do what feels right for your body. Over-bending, stretching, and reaching is not advised.
Drink More Water
Being even mildly dehydrated can cause health problems such as headaches, decreased energy, dry skin, and constipation. Rather than worrying about how much water to drink, try simply having a glass of water shortly after waking up and before each meal, and keep a glass of water available to sip on throughout the day. A simple rule of thumb is to drink enough to keep urine clear to pale yellow.
Feel Good About Food
The old adage “you are what you eat” still stands true today. Eat well, feel well. It can be that simple. Increasing fiber intake through increased intake of fruits and vegetables and whole-grain products can help with weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improve regular bowels, and increase energy, to name just a few health benefits of eating well.
Many people burden themselves with extraordinarily high expectations of themselves that can be tough on one’s mental health. While it can be useful to set goals and push yourself to be your best, being realistic is also important. This can apply to jobs, level of education, salary, and even relationships. This is not to suggest it is okay to put up with being treated poorly by others but to be realistic that not every day needs to be amazing. Limit time on social media to avoid comparing lifestyles with others, especially with those who may unrealistically post only about the good times. Be mindful that often simply being okay is, well, okay.
New Years’ can be a useful time to review, reassess, and reconsider lifestyle choices. Why not use the moment to set a resolution to make improvements to feel good about for not just a few weeks or a few months, but for a lifetime.
Russell Herbert Jack is a founder of Southland Yoga Training in Invercargill, New Zealand. He is passionate about spirituality, the vegan lifestyle, animal rights, and living in sync with nature. Russell specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations. Vinyasa yoga or flow yoga heightens consciousness by moving from one position to another seamlessly, using breath. Just like Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong has many healing properties to the body, mind, and spirit.