New Year’s resolution can be an emotional teeter-totter at the beginning of the year. Sometimes there’s that high and the energy of starting something new and the promise of self-improvement, followed by that low feeling when we realize the determination and good intentions have slipped away. Sometimes unrealistic resolutions become a notch in a belt of personal letdowns. New Year’s has passed so why not take the time to rearrange your life mentally, spiritually, and physically… and make healthy choices that can be sustained throughout the year. Every day is a new opportunity to create new memories and make healthy choices.
We asked some of our favorite presenters, the Weiss family, for a few easy ideas and easy healthy choices people can make to enrich their lives.
Joseph B. Weiss, M.D. is Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, at the University of California, San Diego. He teaches gut microbiome and nutrition classes at The Ranch.
Dr. Joseph Weiss:
Learn something new. When it comes to new things that we don’t have much exposure to or experience in, everything is exciting. Having a different perspective can be refreshing. Meditation was a new experience for me. I tried it when my daughter, Lizzy, was leading and it was very fresh and different since it’s not part of my background. The meditation and conversations that follow are an excellent return on an investment of time.
Lizabeth Weiss is a Certified Chopra Center Meditation Instructor and has led meditations at The Ranch.
Start the day with intention. How you start the day can really make a huge difference. I wear these mantra bracelets as a reminder to start my day with a mantra, an affirmation, or meditation. I like to set my intentions before I pick up the phone, check my email or the news. It gives me a few minutes to prepare before I open myself up and allow the world into my day. I’m mindful of that choice. Think of a mantra as an anchor point. It’s like a boat on the ocean. No matter how rocky the waves can be, it doesn’t matter because the anchor holds the boat safely in its place. That’s what a mantra is. The waves are metaphors for your thoughts, and no matter how crazy or rocky your ideas may be, if you have a mantra to go back to, it’s an anchor point where you can refocus your intention and awareness.
Nancy Cetel, M.D. is a Reproductive Endocrinologist and author of Double Menopause. She teaches “Double Menopause: What to do When Both You and Your Mate go Through Hormonal Changes Together” at The Ranch.
Experience nature. Even though I enjoy meditation, I don’t find myself meditating very often. I get centered by making sure I have bits of nature in my life. It could be something as simple as walking outside and looking up toward the sky and appreciating the clouds or shadows. That’s very powerful. Even in vertical cities like Manhattan, enjoying the sky, feeling the wind, and temperature on your skin is refreshing. Finding things to be grateful for in nature every day, no matter where you are, can change a mood or set a tone. It’s a significant change and lets you get outside your little box.
Dr. Joseph Weiss:
Appreciate the simple things. I get great joy from my senses. I have a sense of wonder that we can taste, smell, and feel. The more we embrace our senses and enjoy them, the more they can become a self-enriching approach to living a full life. Smelling a flower, looking at a tree, or tasting delicious food are all very life-affirming and pleasurable. For example, a simple peach’s texture can be remarkably exciting and vibrant. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” To embrace that is to embrace the philosophy of The Ranch.
Set boundaries. Creating healthy boundaries for yourself and listening to your body is really important. Often times we’re more in tune and intuitive than we give ourselves credit for. A busy schedule can be overwhelming and drain us instead of nourishing us. Writer Paolo Coelho said, “When you say ‘Yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘No’ to yourself.” That is a valuable bit of advice. We are asked continuously to appease others. Sometimes we need to take our own needs into account and put them first.
Dr. Nancy Cetel:
Cultivate a passion and share it with a friend. Tap into something childlike that gives you pleasure and passion. Then when you share it with someone else, it’s like double the pleasure. For example, I enjoy tap dancing. I rediscovered it from my childhood when I took my kids to tap lessons. As an adult, I could either sit there for an hour and wait during their lessons or, there was an adult class offered at the same time. Since I’ve taken it up again, I’ve reintroduced it to a lot of friends. All of a sudden, my joy has been spread amongst them. Cultivating a passion also cultivates friendships, and that’s really important for adults. Sometimes as adults we let friendships go, or we don’t share our passions thinking our friends won’t like them. But, if you’re enthusiastic about something, bring it up with your friends and share it, and you might be surprised.
Cultivate empathy and compassion. Having compassion or empathy for others is really rewarding. A random act of kindness, like giving positive feedback for a job well done may not be a big deal to you, but it could make a huge difference to someone else. I think it’s so meaningful to compliment people directly. We often don’t share our appreciation with others, but there’s no telling how that can ripple into their lives and what effect it will have.