January. Probably the most overburdened month of the year. Every December, we all want to change the way we look or feel or behave or eat or even love. When the charm of Christmas light wears off and the joy of New Year sets in, its January that has to bear the brunt of all the resolutions and promises we make, mostly to ourselves and sometimes to others.
This year, I tried things a little differently. I did not want to make resolutions that I could never keep. So, sometime in October, I started making a list of things I wanted to do to make myself feel better. The list addressed different aspects of my life, spiritual, mental, physical, financial, parental and so on. At the end of it, I had 83 things I wanted to do. I laughed at myself when I saw that number. But I decided to try just 10 of them and see which ones made me feel better. I followed the simple 21-90 rule. Do it for 21 days to break the habit and 90 days to make it a lifestyle. Since I started them in January, none have broken the 90 day mark.But I’m happy and proud to say that they have cleared the 21 day rule. So, here goes my list:
Start my Day at 5am: To be honest, I have been an early starter for the last 11 years of my life. But somewhere between working from home and relocations, I got lazy. I gave up on this habit and could see how that wasn’t working for me. Waking up late meant I was always catching up with the world. My tasks were prioritized the way others wanted them to be. This left me feeling incomplete and stressed. I never found time for myself or my child or my hobby. I started waking up at 5 and sometimes 5.15 am everyday. I organised myself, my thoughts, my actions- both past and present and was ready for the world by 7am. Magically, with the same 24 hours, I found time to paint, play with my child, work out for an hour, cook, and even reply to all work emails. All this without feeling that I’m constantly chasing something.
Meditate: I wouldn’t call it meditation. I don’t think I’m there yet. But what I started was this. Shut my eyes for 10 minutes every morning, on cheat days it would be 7 minutes. And think positive and happy thoughts. It could be a memory from childhood or a grateful thought towards someone or something. Sometimes, it was just self love. I was so surprised to discover how much loving myself changed the way I felt about me and hence the people around me. Those 10 minutes somehow helped me magically reduce the negative and depressing thoughts in my head. And that made such a spectacular difference in my life.
Veganism: Have always been a vegetarian. Going Vegan only meant I had to find alternatives to the dairy products I consumed. I decided to do this for health and ethical reasons. I did not think I would be able to do it though. More than 30 years of my life as non vegan and this sudden change. Of course, I had read and watched a lot of videos around it, committing my mind to it before my actions. That helped a great deal. The first 5-7 days was hard. I did not feel any change. In a month, I felt grrrrreeeeaaattt. Fantabulous. Glowing skin. Reduced weight. Energetic. Reduced Acne. Incredible gut health. Only down side to it was me feeling hungry more often. That just meant I got to eat more fruits and veggies. It was easy! Just munching on an apple or a box of strawberries or juicing my melons. Going Vegan is probably one of the best decisions of my life.
Measure Hydration: This was important for me. I often caught myself feeling thirsty. If you are feeling thirsty, that probably means you have been dehydrated for a while and now your body is desperately reaching out to you. Science, Religion, Logic and Common Sense, all agree that drinking at least 2-3 litres of water a day is crucial. While I consumed water regularly, I don’t think it was enough. Measuring it made me realise how little of it I was having. And having as much as recommended or more did wonders to my life, mentally and physically. The only downside is the number of bathroom visits one has to make.
Self Love: This is probably the most difficult thing to do. It’s easier to love others, trust me. But to tell yourself how amazing you are and then believing in it? Not easy. The world around you is constantly telling you how you are not good enough. As women , we hear more of it. Truth is, men or women, we are all amazing. The fact that we live and make an impact in someone else’s life, in a small or big way, is a beautiful gift we all have. My ways of self love included practising saying positive things about me to me in front of the mirror, manicures and pedicures, buying myself flowers. Not that I did this everyday. But I was not doing it before at all! So whatever little I did, made me feel like a queen. And who does not love that!
Love others: No, we don’t have to fall in love with everyone in our lives. But surely, we can find something good in all and telling them this works in two ways. 1) They feel good about life 2) You feel good about life. Try this everyday. I made it a point to compliment at least one person a day. Somedays, it would be random people I didn’t know in the gym. Something like “ Hey! Nice squatting” and I could see them smile big. The power of making someone happy is the biggest power of all. Practise it and you will know what I mean. Oh! Here is a tip! Be Genuine about it. Very Genuine.
Reduced Social Media: Everyone needs this. Our constant attention to apps and platforms is a dangerous addiction. I found myself checking emails or texting or consuming content quite regularly. I have no idea when that became a habit. I didn’t even have a smartphone 7 years ago. I do not know how I had reached the point where checking my email as soon as I woke up was important to me. Observing myself , my habits, I knew only I could change this. Now, No phone for the first 60 minutes and last 30 minutes of the day. I also worked on this in an incremental manner. Start with 5 minutes, then 10, then 15 and so on. Also worked on reducing screen time by 10% every week. All this definitely brought me some peace. But also so much more time for things I needed to do. I start my day now by kissing my son. And I know that there is no better feeling in the world than that.
There were more that I tried, but I couldn’t stick to them. Some didn’t work for me. Some got lost in the crowd. Others didn’t stick through because of personal issues. Not everything works for everyone. The idea is to try and try long enough for you to see what’s good for you and what’s not.