Every New Year brings hope for fresh starts, and along with that, resolutions. Yet, hindsight being 2020 (pun intended), we all know that resolutions never stick! Instead, be kinder to yourself by making resets – small changes for an overall positive impact.
“We are conditioned to believe the New Year kick starts change in our lives, so we make resolutions and expect to feel better once we meet the challenge,” says Tracy Nathanson, LCSW, M.A., psychotherapist and founder of Pace of Mind Therapy. “However, if the goals are unrealistic and we fall short, we are disappointed. It is more helpful to identify your most pressing issue and commit to smaller achievable steps to reset that aspect of your life.”
Plus, resetting one issue could have a positive snowball effect on other parts of your life. John A. Thomas, M.S., D.C., founder and director of Athlete Evolution, a fitness, aesthetics, and wellness center in Harrison says, “Layer good habits on top of each other. One new good habit will likely attract more.” If fitness is the goal, added movement might lead you to drink more water, take more deep breaths, and get a better night’s sleep, which can lead to a healthier lifestyle and mindset.
“Your body has the unique ability to reset itself every day,” says Stephanie Gardner, Rye-based clinical nutritionist. “One meal or treat never does harm; it’s building good habits that’s important.” Gardner emphasizes that weight loss as a resolution is stress inducing and difficult to maintain. Rather, commit to a nutritional reset where mindful every day choices about food could lead to a healthier lifestyle and sustained weight loss. “It isn’t about a number on the scale. The focus should be on overall physical and mental health. Think about why you are eating what you are eating without judgment. Don’t criticize yourself because you took a bite of your child’s grilled cheese. Understanding why you’re eating what you’re eating can help you make more mindful choices in the future.”
• Wait at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast before eating to reset your metabolism and allow for cell detoxification.
• Drink water first thing in the morning to jumpstart fat burning and throughout the day to keep hydrated and full.
• Focus on quality. Choose organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised foods and snacks with fewer than five ingredients that your kids can pronounce.
• Try buying precut vegetables, it can be a bit more expensive, but more cost-effective than throwing away rotten vegetables that you intended to cook.
“The hardest part of sticking to a fitness plan is prioritizing it as a necessary part of your day and committing to it as if it were second nature, like brushing your teeth,” says Thomas. “Be consistent. Eliminate as many boundaries as possible: if cost is an issue, choose something free; if cold is a problem, do something indoors; if you have kids, be active together.” Everyone should be moving actively at least 20 minutes every day.
• Block out time every day. As it becomes habit, increase time and intensity.
• Don’t equate fitness with weight. Instead, assess your energy level, ability to do things better, how you feel in your clothes, and sleep quality.
• Exercise with a friend, a trainer or a class for accountability and motivation.
• Do something you enjoy!
“The most important thing anyone can do for their skin is protect it from the sun,” says Ruth Treiber, M.D., of Treiber Dermatology Associates in Rye. “Your face is exposed to UV radiation and pollutants 365 days a year, which can lead to premature aging, blotchy tone, and skin cancers. No matter how busy you are sun protection is key.”
• Keep sunscreen accessible. Keep sunscreen where you and your children will most likely use it, either by the sink after you wash your face or at the door when you go outside.
• Streamline your regimen. Cleanse and apply sunscreen in the morning; cleanse and moisturize in the evening.
• Treat your skin gently. Use gentle, balanced cleansers with tepid water and a light touch to minimize friction and micro-agitation.
• Moisturize right after a shower to keep water and nutrients in and toxins out. Look for products with ceramides, alpha-hydroxy acids, and hyaluronic acid ingredients.
Home organization reset
This year give yourself permission to purge. “Piles of paper or a closet stuffed with clothes can paralyze us. Physical clutter creates mental clutter,” says professional organizer Debbie Harwin, of I Need My Space, Inc. “Getting organized makes you feel more in control of your environment but it isn’t all or nothing. Break the project into smaller manageable tasks that are addressed regularly.” Harwin recommends choosing organization priorities, making time without interruption to tackle them, and respecting that time as you would a meeting or doctor appointment.
• Gather children’s art and schoolwork in January and again in June; purge anything not personal to your child; think about how many examples of a specific genre you really need to keep. Add the child’s age/grade/date to back. Store each child’s work in a dedicated container labeled with name and grade.
• Get rid of toys/games with missing pieces and parts.
• Edit your closets. Keep only what you like and feel good wearing. Check sizes on kids’ clothes. Encourage yourself to purge and donate.
The common messages that cropped up in conversation with all our experts are simple: drink lots of water, get a good night’s sleep, carve out the time you need to care for yourself, and ultimately, be kinder to yourself. “Put your oxygen mask on first,” says Gardner. “If you take care of yourself, you’ll be a better parent, better partner, better colleague.” Nathanson agrees, “Self-care should be built into each day, and if you do fall back a bit, understand that each day can be a new reset.”
A Career Reset for Moms Returning to Work
Your resolution is “get a job.” Great! But before you become frustrated by the enormity of the goal, reset your approach by breaking it down into attainable steps.
“Everyone thinks the resume is the first step in a job search,” says Nancy Leighton, career counselor, and coach. “First, determine what you actually want to do. Consider your interests and skills and whether you want to do what you did before raising kids or something different.”
“Stepping away from work to raise a family might leave you feeling left behind professionally,” says Nancy Rosenberg, chief business development officer, The Acceleration Project (TAP), a nonprofit that engages women, including those who have taken time away from the traditional work environment, to use their professional skills to consult small businesses. “You may fear your skills are obsolete, but you still have fundamentals and life experience. Take the first step, put yourself out there, rebuild your confidence and hone in on what you’re passionate about,” she says.
• Self-Audit: determine what you love, what you are good at, what causes fear and what you find challenging.
• Consider Your Values: financial, work-life balance, the number of hours you can work and how flexible you can be with those hours.
• Network: “Learn as much as you can by speaking to your personal and professional connections. Create a strategy to meet people who can help you find the right opportunities, join a professional group, volunteer, meet people who can connect you with others,” says Leighton.
• Volunteer: “Seek opportunities and organizations that can help build the skills you need for the work you might want to do later,” says Rosenberg.
• Build Confidence: seek out challenging situations, i.e. if you fear public speaking, try speaking up at meetings.
• Tech Skills: take a class to brush up on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and social media platforms.
Once you’ve focused on what you want to do, you can build a resume geared to the direction you want to go in.