As we approach the New Year, I’m thinking about my personal resolutions for 2015. This year, I want to focus on making realistic resolutions, and to me, this starts with making conscious choices. I know, people hear the word conscious or consciousness and they instantly balk. It’s too Zen, hippie-dippie, and/or abstract for some. But conscious choices can lead to some of the most effective resolutions.
Conscious choices are those based on awareness and learning. Personally, I want to know how the choices I am making affect my personal goals, as well as my community and environment. This isn’t about throwing our hands up and saying, ‘I need to weigh less’, or ‘I need to consume less’. It is about giving thought to our goals and really getting to the root of what we are looking to achieve. This is consciously choosing.
We’ve all heard the most common resolutions; Things like, ‘I want to eat healthier‘, or ‘I want to take better care of my environment‘. The problem with these types of resolutions is that they are vague, and lack direction. Sure, both of these ideal resolutions sound great, but what do they actually mean? How will we know when we’re successful? Is the goal realistic? Turns out that when we make resolutions that are based on unreasonable goals, we actually may end up adding more stress and anxiety to our lives. Harvard Psychologist, Amy Cuddy tells us the 4 reasons why resolutions fail…Not a very encouraging start.
We can look at each of these example resolutions with a little consciousness applied, and turn them into more reasonable goals.
Healthy eating resolutions
‘I want to eat healthier’ is one of the most common resolutions. Let’s look at the conscious choices we can make that support a healthy eating resolution. By simply saying we want to eat healthier, we are lacking direction and setting ourselves up for failure. We need to spend a little more time thinking about what healthy eating means to us as individuals? What are our specific personal goals? What can we learn about eating healthy that may help us shape an attainable resolution?
Obviously, the desired dietary changes will vary by individual. We can only determine how to eat healthy by consciously looking at what we currently eat. Maybe a bit of food journaling would be an effective means to getting at the answer? Once we examine what we’re really trying to achieve, we have some data on which to shape resolutions for conscious change.
So eating healthier could mean we:
- Focus on portion control
- Eliminate refined sugar
- Try an elimination diet or cleanse to see how our bodies react to certain foods
- Eat fewer processed foods (pre made or boxed foods, microwave meals, instant this or that with lots of added junk that our bodies don’t want or need )
- Source food in a sustainable manner
If so, then better resolutions may be:
- I want to eat in amounts that are appropriate for my body type and activity level
- I want to eat more whole foods
- I want to do the Conscious Cleanse (Anyone can do this! You will love the results.)
- I’d like to add more vegetables to my diet
- I’m going to source more locally grown and organic produce (or even grown my own!), and more pasture raised animal products or wild caught fish
These goals are tangible and specific. By setting these goals, we know exactly what we’re focusing on, and therefore success is more easily attained.
Healthy planet resolutions
How about the ‘I’d like to do better by the environment’ resolution? This generalized resolution is so vast it’s overwhelming. So let’s think on this one from a conscious choice perspective.
Trying to live an environmentally sustainably lifestyle can seem impossible in today’s world. Where do we start, and can we really make a difference? How can we make sure our household is doing all it can to have a positive environmental impact? There are myriad ways to achieve success here; it’s actually really exciting!
I would encourage those wishing to lead a more positive environmental lifestyle to look into a few things, and go from there:
I’ve included resources in the links that provide MANY ideas for each of these generalized topics – dig into those and decide which pieces work best for your life. The options are endless. Once you’ve mastered one, celebrate! Recognize the changes you’ve made, and only then add another. Step by step conscious living!
Several easy examples that make a difference are:
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth
- Set sprinklers to run after the heat of the day
- Set thermostats to lower temps when no one is home
- Buy locally made products
- Avoid cheaply made, disposable products as often as possible
- Buy fewer items made of or wrapped in plastic (I have a post on plastics ready to go for the new year – stay tuned!)
- Look for local farmer (do a Google search, or use the tool below) to source food for your household.
- Grow a simple vegetable garden!
Greatness is not a function of circumstances. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice. You must maintain an unwavering faith that you can, and will prevail in the end — Jim Collins, Good to Great
There’s no need to make massive resolutions that are unrealistic. While it would be amazing to establish world peace, or finally invent time travel, the smaller, conscious choices we make can have an incredible impact. And one of the best parts of consciously choosing is that it’s contagious. When friends and neighbors see us putting our conscious choices to work, they often feel inspired to do the same.
Criticizing ourselves and making resolutions that call out our shortcomings will not help us on our quest for self-improvement. Being consciously kind to ourselves is the best gift, yielding the highest return. Start there. Be grateful for all of the incredible pieces of you as a human and the life you have today, right now. Count your blessings, and only then move on to making conscious choices for change.
My New Year’s wish is that we all put a little added consciousness into our everyday choices. We consciously choose what is best for our health and the health of our planet, and that we start by consciously choosing to love ourselves. Happy 2015!
- 100 Ways to Save Energy at Home
- 100+ Ways to Conserve Water
- The Eat Well Guide to Sourcing Local Food – find local farmers in your zip code! Such a great tool!!
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Starting Vegetable Gardens