Crystal Clear Water Droplet

Whether you like resolutions or not, the start of a new year is a good time to implement positive change.  You can throw out the old calendar (and old memories) and start a new journey with a clean slate.

Not surprisingly, most people (88% according to one study) don’t keep resolutions.  So rather than making resolutions, I suggest slowly implementing positive change into your routine.  Here are some tips for creating changes that last:

1.  Be specific. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to implement lasting change.  Here are a couple examples of wrong and right.  Wrong: I resolve to read more.  Right:  I will read one book per month until April.  Wrong:  I need to start exercising and eating better.  Right:  I will take one yoga class per week and walk for fifteen minutes of my lunch hour.

2.  Start slow. Gradual lifestyle adjustments are far easier to implement and maintain than drastic overhauls.  Notice the examples above—one book per month and one yoga class per week.  Small lasting change is far better than massive unsustainable change.

3.  Do it with love. As you set out on your journey to a healthy, happy year, make sure that your goals involve love & passion.  If you hate to exercise, but love to meditate, try yoga instead of weightlifting.  If you want to travel but hate airplanes, start researching travel by train.  Find options that meet your needs and make you happy.  It’s the best way to create lasting change without getting burnt out by February 1st.

So what about me?  2010 was a beautiful & terrible year for me.  It had a lot of ups & downs.  I’m hoping to do a year in review post in the near future but at the moment my priority is to leap into 2011 with love.  I know where I want to be and I am willing to put in the work to get there.  Here is my list of healthy, happy ambitions for 2011:

Bubble baths. I recently re-discovered the magick of a good, hot bubble bath.  Fill the tub with piping hot water & delicious smelling bubbles and you’ve got a little piece of heaven on earth.  So far I’ve taken two in 2011 which is double what I took in 2010.  I’m off to a great start!

  • Warm bath water dilates your blood vessels and improves circulation
  • Water’s curative powers can relieve achy joints and relax sore muscles
  • Bubbles & oils in the bathtub are an easy form of aromatherapy (try lavender & vanilla for relaxation)

Specific goal: One bubble bath per week!

Bubble Bath, Rose Petals

Minimalism. In 2010 I adopted a minimalist lifestyle.  It was one of the greatest decisions that I ever made.  Minimalism allows me to remove the crap from my life and make room for beauty.  I applied minimalism to my possessions but also to my lifestyle.

I’ve gotten a bit lazy on the minimalism front toward the end of 2010.  I’m making a reignited effort to get back on track in 2011.

Specific goal: Inventory one room in the house per month.  Reduce possessions & clutter by 50% by May 2011.

Minimalist Kitchen

Exercise & Yoga. I’m not going to make excuses.  The truth is that exercise fell off of my plate in 2010.  While there were a couple of month-long stretches of activity, there was way too much time spent without it.  I know I can do better and more importantly, I want to do better.  When I actually get to exercising, I feel amazing.  The challenge is getting to it and making time for it.

The trick will be to create a realistic, manageable schedule and stick to it.

Specific goal: Hatha Yoga every Wednesday night.  Cardio at the gym every Friday afternoon.

Juicing & Raw. The benefits of juicing and a raw food diet are endless.  Increased energy, improved mood, boosts to the immune system, and healing power are just a few of the many benefits.  In 2010, I made a valiant effort to go 50% raw but then the holidays floated in and I fell off course.

2011 is going to be my year.  I just got a brand new juicer and I’m ready to give it another go.

Specific goal: 50% raw for one meal every day gradually increasing over time.  Fresh fruit/vegetable juice for breakfast minimum three days per week.

Fruit & Vegetables

Reading & Writing. The Internet is stealing my time!  If I could look back and quantify the time that I “wasted” online  last year, I would end up in tears.  Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, I love you dearly but enough is enough.  I am not going to abandon these social networking sites altogether but I have to cut back and create more time for reading (books, not blogs!) and writing.  Reading & writing are critical to my happiness and success.

Specific goal: 30 minutes per day devoted solely to reading.  30 minutes per day devoted solely to writing.

So that’s it friends!  These are my healthy, happy ambitions for 2011.  Of course there are a lot more floating around in my head, but this is where I’m going to start.  I will make a follow-up post in a couple of months to let you know how I’m doing.

Now it’s your turn! What are your healthy, happy ambitions for 2011?  Let me know in the comments.  We can help keep each other on track.

10 thoughts on “Healthy, Happy Habits in 2011 (Two-Thousand & Heaven!)”

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    1. @ Andra – Three cheers for bath time! OMG. I don’t know how I went so long without it. 2011 is our year to get our lovely derrieres in gear + to take long, hot baths in celebration. XO

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  6. Hi Dena,

    I enjoy your writing style, and your thoughts.

    I am with you 100% on the positive change idea rather than resolutions and I love the positive changes you endeavour to make this year.

    My positive changes this year include continuing to live smokefree, I have given up alcohol. I would like to take up a dance class, a martial arts class, learn Tai Chi and adopt a minimalist approach to possesions and life such as your 2nd positive change.

    I wish you all the best in your changes and look forward to your update post.

    Keep growing…

    1. @ Joshua – Thank you so much for stopping by. I am really glad that you’ve found me. I was just reading about your journey over at your blog and it’s fantastic! I love your positive change plans for the year. I have always wanted to take a martial arts class, too. Perhaps you have inspired me. 🙂

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