How to Make Your New Year's Resolution Stress-Free

Dr. Ariel Thorpe

As we end this year and move into January, ideas of New Year's resolutions are starting to pop up. The chance to start fresh and make healthy changes is appealing and yet often our resolutions and goals fail to pan out long term. At Atlas, we see with our clients that the best time to make a change to your health is yesterday. Since we haven’t crated a time machine yet, the next best time is today. So rather than put off the inevitable, give yourself a jumpstart and start feeling and functioning better now.

Our clients at Atlas know that we take the three legged stool approach to health seriously. The three legs being:

  1. Get adjusted as necessary according to your individual chiropractic care plan.
  2. Break the bad habits that are contributing to your current state.
  3. Implement healthy habits and exercise.

These three tasks sound simple but they take work and can even cause stress. When you first start getting adjusted, we’re making structural changes to your body, which can be uncomfortable. But think back to when you started working out and you were a little bit sore after your first few workouts. Your body needed that stress in order to make positive change. The same is true for making changes in your spine and nervous system.

Breaking bad habits can definitely be stressful, especially if you’re targeting a chemical stressor like eating too much sugar, smoking, or eating an unhealthy diet. Changing any one of those habits will cause withdrawals. Some researchers have found that breaking bad habits is easier when people implement new habits instead of just focusing on breaking the bad habit. So, if you’re eliminating sugar from your diet, for example, the new habit could be loading up on nutrient-dense foods as found in the colorful spectrum of vegetables when a sugar craving hits. Giving your body some naturally-occurring sugars in veggies will satisfy some of those glucose cravings and fuel your body with other missing nutrients. You may also need to preempt these symptoms by taking a mineral supplement. Check with your health care provider about what supplements may help stave off the cravings.

Implementing new habits can be a chore but there’s a hack that can help make it less stressful: change your environment. Researchers studying the habits of university students found that when students did certain actions in specific locations, they implemented better study routines. This meant only studying in the library rather than at home on the couch. While this can be a challenge in our current era of working from home, think about some small environmental changes that you can make to designate work space versus chill out space. If your dining room table doubles as your desk, clear the table entirely of all food-related items when it comes time to work. Try designating one chair or side of the table for eating and another for working.

If you’re still feeling the stress of getting healthier, talk to someone about it. Ease your own burden and you may find that it’s not as stressful as you thought. Better yet, you may inspire someone else to make changes and then you can be each other’s accountability partners.

In case you missed it, check out our three steps to go from exhausted to energized.

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