New Year, New You? Not Necessarily. A Healthier Approach to 2024

The new year is often seen as a time for drastic change. I have made grand resolutions to lose weight, get fit, and overhaul my life.  What if this pressure to reinvent ourselves is actually counterproductive? What if, instead of chasing unrealistic goals, we focused on making small, sustainable changes that lead to long-term health and well-being?  This year, I want to approach things a bit differently.

In this blog post, I want to explore a different approach to the new year. We’ll ask some questions that can help you ditch the pressure and focus on what truly matters for your health.

1. What are your values?

Before you start setting goals, take some time to reflect on what’s important to you. What do you value in your life? Is it family, friends, your career, your health? Once you know your values, you can start to set goals that are aligned with them.

2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

We all have things we’re good at and things we’re not so good at. When it comes to your health, it’s important to be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t try to change overnight into someone you’re not. Instead, build on your strengths and find ways to work around your weaknesses.

3. What are your small wins?

Instead of focusing on big, audacious goals, think about the small things you can do to improve your health every day. These might include things like taking a walk, eating a healthy breakfast, or getting enough sleep. Small wins may seem insignificant, but they add up over time.

4. How can you make healthy habits sustainable?

One of the biggest challenges with New Year’s resolutions is making them stick. The key is to make changes that you can realistically maintain over time. Find ways to make healthy habits enjoyable and convenient. For example, if you hate going to the gym, find a physical activity you actually enjoy, like dancing or hiking.

5. How can you be kind to yourself?

Change can be hard. There will be times when you slip up or fall short of your goals. That’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, practice self-compassion and pick yourself back up. Remember, progress, not perfection, is the goal.

Here are some specific questions you can ask yourself to help you get started:
  • What are one or two small changes I can make to my diet that I can stick with for the long term?
  • What is one way I can move my body more each day that I enjoy?
  • What is one thing I can do to reduce stress in my life?
  • What is one thing I can do to improve my sleep hygiene?
  • How can I make self-care a regular part of my routine?

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to approach the new year. The most important thing is to do what works for you. Focus on making small, sustainable changes that will lead to long-term health and well-being. And most importantly, be kind to yourself along the way.

I hope these questions help you have a healthy and happy new year!

Additional tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your doctor, friends, personal trainers, health coaches, and yes, even us Chinese medicine practitioners for guidance. 
  • Find a support system. Having friends and family who are also trying to make healthy changes can make a big difference.  Let those people around you know how best to support you.  
  • Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Every step you take towards a healthier you is something to be proud of.

By taking a more mindful and holistic approach to the new year, you can set yourself up for success in the long term. Remember, it’s not about starting over; it’s about making small, sustainable changes that will lead to a healthier and happier you.

Happy New Year!