Do you want to learn a secret of how I keep my New Year’s Resolutions?
It all started with a tiny swoosh mark.
Do you know what Nike means? In Greek mythology, Nike is the winged goddess of victory. The sportswear logo we know and love was based off of the arc movement the goddess’ wing creates.
Nike is symbolic for victory. The brand’s iconic slogan “Just Do It” is often attached to the Nike symbol.
What does Nike have to do with New Year’s resolutions? So glad you asked!
This simple and small symbol saved my life.
To say I struggled with postpartum depression makes it sounds like an emotional wave of tumbling emotions, when it really felt like a massive storm that swallowed me whole. I struggled with depression after having my second baby. (Check out my last post to hear more of my story.)
One day, I was helping my toddler get dressed and she wanted to wear her “workout” clothes. She chose her Nike sweatshirt and pants. She flexed her arms and said, “I am so strong. Let me see your muscles Mommy—you are strong, too!” Then she ran off to show her baby brother how strong she is.
That simple and sweet moment floored me.
Not only did she see me as strong, even though I felt broken, her cute Nike outfit reminded me that I can and will find victory in this battle of postpartum depression. I quickly adapted Nike’s motto and started every day with a new mindset, a “Just Do It” mindset.
Did it work? 100 percent.
I immediately made a list of things to focus on (a “Just Do It” list), the most important ones being nutrition, truth, and play. I found a few simple solutions that made a huge impact not only for me, but also for my family.
1. Let’s talk nutrition!
First, I started juicing.
As hippy, Hollywood, trendy, and expensive as this may sound, I found it to be truly life changing.
Juicing fresh organic fruits and vegetables gives your body what it craves at a cellular level. The body absorbs the nutrients into the bloodstream immediately not having to waiting on the stomach to begin the process of digestion. It is roughly the equivalent of taking 50 supplements. Juicing boosts your antioxidant levels, immune function and metabolic activity. It also aids in regulating your blood sugar, body fat and cholesterol.
It is one of the best things I have ever done for my body. I now drink at least one juice a day and I immediately feel energized!
In addition to juicing, my family and I began focusing on eating organic whole foods. Our meals and snacks consisted of raw vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, and occasionally meat.
We simplified our meals to the basics.
We focused on filling our plates mostly with things that grow from the ground, then as a sprinkle of extra flavor, we would add meat.
The biggest change was sugar. We completely stopped eating processed foods especially processed dessert foods. Instead, we started making our own special treats with natural sugars like monk fruit sweetener, maple syrup, honey, dates, and fruit.
I have always coasted by on waves of self-discipline and sheer determination when it came to eating healthy. Having postpartum depression lit a fire under me that I never knew could exist. I was desperate to feel better, to regulate my hormones, regain energy and clear out the immense mental fog.
I have discovered that food is one of the strongest medicines. So, I encourage you to “Just Do It.” Get rid of the processed, sugar-filled, unhealthy foods in your home and swap them for good, life giving, and delicious whole foods.
You won’t regret it!
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
I am sure most of us have a long list of new year’s resolutions and goals to accomplish.
I think, first and foremost, we should focus on ringing out the false and ringing in the true.
In other words, getting rid of all the negativity, guilt, and fear while embracing all that is good and life giving.
When our heart and minds are focused on truth, like a vignette photo, negative feelings tend to fade away and we can find ourselves leaning into gratitude.
Soon after my second baby was born, I began journaling everyday. I would write down how I felt, trying to put a name to the turbulent emotions. Then in the column next to that list, I would write down truths like, my kids are healthy, I have a roof over my head… simple truths.
I quickly realized that my list of truths was actually a list of things I was thankful for. This was a humbling realization.
It was a huge part of healing my mind and body.
A recent study of the brain using MRIs, revealed when we feel gratitude, love, compassion, or any altruistic feeling for someone else, the limbic system is activated via the hypothalamus.
Want to know the best part?
This means focusing on truth and thankfulness can actually boost your immune system. And, according to a Harvard study, gratitude can also increase your willpower.
Now: I challenge you.
For the next 21 days, write down at least three things you are thankful for. It is a great way to begin the new year. “Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
What do you think of when you hear the word “play”? I immediately think of kids as they have an innate ability to find adventure, wonder, and joy in most activities. I hope to be more like them when I grow up!
Play is an important aspect of childhood, but it is also a pivotal aspect of adult life. We tend to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to play.
I had forgotten to play. I had tunnel vision and all I could see was the mission before me: keep the kids alive and survive until bedtime.
When I realized how lost I had become, I knew I had to get laughter and silliness back into my life. So, I resolved to dance every day.
This might sound crazy, but it works!
This small intentional playful decision was a domino effect of silliness that ensued. Soon, every day became a celebration and not something to be endured.
Here’s why it works:
Did you know that endorphins and oxytocin are released in our bodies when we play? This means our bodies are more calm, relaxed, and happy. Typically, when we play, we are on the move, so our bodies are burning calories as well!
Speaking of being on the move, did you put a health and fitness goal on your New Year’s resolutions list? I did!
According to statistics, 45 percent of us make health goals, but a mere 8 percent of us stay committed to them by the end of the year. That is a very low number!
This happens because people tend to write too many unclear goals, or they don’t write down their goal at all.
Now, it’s your turn for some resolutions.
Sometimes, the cheesiest things are the things we remember for years and sometimes they are the things that change your life forever.
So, I challenge you to write down three very specific new year’s resolutions and put a “swoosh” mark next to each of them.
Start your new year with a “Just Do It” mindset and I have no doubt that you will find victory.
Anne Frank wrote, “What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.”