New Year, New You
Step 1: Connect to your why
i) Connect to where you want to be this time next year - what do you want to be doing, how do you want to be feeling?
It is important to start with the end in mind and with goals that light you up and elicit positive emotions (don’t worry they might feel a bit scary too). For example, these could be: I want to be free to go hiking in nature, I want the energy to be able to play with my grandchildren, I want to be able to spend all the time I want gardening or playing golf.
Write these down as there is evidence that if you write down your goals you are much more likely to achieve them. You can write them in a journal, create a vision board or put an image as the screen saver on your phone or computer.
ii) What do you need to happen for you to achieve the above?
For me it is “I want to be living pain free from ankylosing spondylitis with lots of energy [so I can be free to go hiking in nature]”. Write these down.
iii) What do you need to do to make this come a reality?
So for me, what are the action steps that will help me live pain free from ankylosing spondylitis. Ideas include eat a nutrient dense anti-inflammatory diet, drink 2.5l a water a day to lubricate my joints, work on my gut health (80% of the immune system is in the gut), keep my body moving by exercising each day in a way that is right for me, incorporate mindfulness to help me manage with the ups and downs of having an autoimmune disease.
Step 2: Now it is time to choose the 1st action you want to take.
Most of us do better with the “slow and steady” approach, rather than going “cold turkey” so start with JUST ONE ACTION STEP. You can then build on this later. So go back to iii) from Step 1 and then pick one action that relates to one item.
For example, if you want to “eat a nutrient dense inflammatory diet” you could pick on of the following:
- Drinking 2.5l of filtered water per day
- Remove canola oil and margarine that are very inflammatory and add healthy fats from coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, animal fats, avocado, fatty fish, egg yolks etc.
- Introduce organ meats into your diet (the most nutrient dense food)
- Eat 8 cups of veggies per day
- Eat a balanced breakfast that has protein (e.g. pastured eggs, smoked salmon, good quality bacon), carbohydrates (e.g. spinach, sweet potato, corn, fruit) and fat (pastured eggs, smoked salmon, avocado, full fat yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, olive oil).
- Replace coffee with herbal tea to cut down on caffeine consumption
- Eat fresh fruit or vegetables instead of cookies/cake/other items that are refined
- Enjoy 1/2 lemon squeezed into warm water each morning to support your liver and detoxification.
- Remove gluten strictly for a month whilst eating a nutrient dense diet before reintroducing and seeing in any of your symptoms come back
- Start checking ingredient labels so you are aware of what you are eating
- Make an appointment to see a nutritionist to help with a food plan for your body and to improve your gut health.
Remember, we are all in a different place on our journey, so pick what best suits you, rather than what you “should be doing”.
Step 3: Brainstorm roadblocks
Let’s be honest, there are always going to be “roadblocks” that are going to get in the way of making changes and can even stop us from starting completely. So before you start have a brainstorm of what these may be and come up with ideas to help stop this being a road block.
- If you are avoiding refined sugar and you know you have a birthday party coming up where there will be cake, you could instead take a fruit platter with you that you can enjoy instead and could also share with others.
- If you are not drinking alcohol and you have a wedding, perhaps give yourself a “pass” for just that one occasion and get back on track once the event has finished.
Step 4: Check in regularly
It is important to check in on your goals regularly in the year. I would suggest once a month at least - schedule time in your diary now so you don’t forget.
When this time comes up, create a nice environment (e.g. light a candle, sit by the beach) and reflect on your goals and what you are doing to help achieve these. Are you progressing as you would like, is there anything you can do differently, do your goals need to change, can you add an extra action? Then adjust as need be!
Have fun and enjoy the process. Happy New Year!