In my last post, I shared a few habits to help you reset and refocus like creating a digital vision board, fasting, and more. Here are some more practices you can do to improve your health, build confidence, and regain control of your life. Let's get to it!
There are many benefits to meditation like increased mindfulness, understanding, and even creativity. Setting a specific time everyday to meditate is a sure fire way to gain some clarity.
I use to think meditation was finding a comfortable space to sit upright with minimal distractions, closing my eyes, and focusing on your breath as I relax my body. I would inhale like I was smelling a beautiful flower and exhale like I was blowing out a candle. My mind would wander a few times but I brought my attention back to my breath. I played some instrumentals for relaxation and burned some incense. I thought I would receive a great revelation in about 30 minutes but every time I tried this I would yawn a few times and eventually fall asleep. Let me share what I discovered has worked for me: meditating on the Word of God.
The scripture says this about meditation:
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -- whatever they do prospers" Psalms 1:1-3 (NIV)
The scripture compares a person who meditates on God’s Word to a tree planted by streams of water (abundance) that produces fruit (rewards) and never withers (everlasting). It is a tool defined as a deep contemplation on the Word of God that produces a greater understanding. It is best paired with prayer and equally as important. If prayer is talking to God, then meditation is hearing from Him. Here is a great way to practice:
Pray: Ask God to focus your thoughts and speak to you through His Word.
Read: Find a chapter and plan to read the entire chapter (it doesn't have to be all at once, but focus on that particular verse. If it's long, chunk it out. I use a study bible which contains comments that give an expanded meaning on each verse. It's best to read the entire chapter for the context.*
Focus: Find a verse that stands out to you and highlight it. *
Study: Chunk out the verse into bite-sized pieces. Write down what you think each par means to you.
Reflect: Keep this verse in mind as you go through you daily activities for a few days, weeks, months. Ask God to reveal to you how you can apply this in your life. It will come to you.
Steps #2 and #3 are interchangeable. You make find a verse that sticks out to you first and decide to read the chapter for context after. Do what works best for you.
8. Review Finances + Budget
Many times, poor financial planning is at the root of stress. Our finances can determine the quality of our livelihood. With prices rising, save more and spend less should be the mantra for the year. It is good practice to review how much money you're bringing in vs how much you spend on a monthly basis. Here are some questions to reflect on: What are your financial goals? Maybe you're saving up for something or you want to invest your money? The answer to these questions should guide you in the right direction.
I realized I was spending a lot of money on fast food that wasn't even that good. I'd spend $20 on one meal. That same $20 dollars could have bought me groceries to cook a meal for a week! Spending money on eating out prevented me from doing more enjoyable things like saving up for travel. Now I cook my meals at home and spend less. This one step I took after reviewing my finances. There are many resources, books, and apps geared towards getting your financial house in order. Instead of working for the money, I want my money to work for me. Even if you're doing well, it's always good to check in and reassess how you're managing those funds.
9. Commit to Healthy Eating
Cook nourishing and healthy meals for yourself. Easier said than done right? Eating healthy sounds boring and flavorless but in the long run, it's always the best choice concerning living a better life. It starts with retraining your palate, which can be tricky. Cook your meals from scratch, try to eliminate caffeine and alcohol, and eat 5-10 portions of different fruit and vegetables a day. Choose meals that have plenty of whole foods to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and fit.
Fast food is packed with a lot of sodium, processed meats, and it lacks the nutrients we need for optimal health. When I worked overtime, I ate out every single night. I started gaining weight, struggling with digestion, and I was drained. The truth of the matter is, although fast-food is convenient, it is not quality food. It leads to many preventable health issues like obesity, heart disease, and inflammation. Ask yourself how often are you cooking your meals? Do they contain the nutrients you need? If not, try retraining your palate. Practice mindful eating by being intentional about what you put on your plate and focusing your attention on each bite. Reduce the amount of salt you put on your food, substitute sweets for fruit, and drink plenty of water.
10. Move Your Body
Do something active that you enjoy: rollerskating, dancing, or swimming. Some people sign up for a gym membership, go running around the park, or do an at-home workout. Whatever it is you decide, commit to doing it every single day.
Listen, I get it; sometimes it's hard to work out daily. I am guilty of neglecting this routine but our bodies were made to move. Our bodies needs consistent movement. Lack of movement can effect your energy levels, motivation, immune system, and can lead to many diseases. Movement effects our circulation, metabolism, and digestion. Working up a sweat helps to release any toxins beneath the pores.
Daily exercise is a game changer when it comes to resetting. Set a realistic goal for yourself: Aim to move your body daily for half an hour or find a way to commit to daily exercise (which requires discipline) Maybe 30 minutes doesn't work for you, but you can start small, like 10-15 minutes and work your way up to your desired goal. Baby steps are cool too, as long as you show up for yourself, your body will thank you for it later!
11. Create A Morning + Evening Routine
Take time to figure out what works best for you. Start with the evening routine and follow up with the morning. Ask yourself: what do I need to be successful? Then, make a plan of action to set yourself up for success. Maybe, charging your phone on the other side of the room will cause you to get out of bed on time. Try implementing one thing from each routine tomorrow or as soon as you can!
Following a routine that works for you gives you a sense of control. I use to think it would make me predictable and boring, but actually it is indeed a seed for success. I recommend beginning with the evening routine because backwards planning works wonders. For example, I know I need 8-9 hours of sleep each night and I know when I need to wake up in the morning to get to work on time. With this information, I am able to set a bedtime. I usually like to take a shower, an hour before bed. I need about two hours before bed after dinner since I don't sleep well on a full stomach. So try to eat dinner before or by 6PM. This is backwards planning, you get the point!
12. Treat Yourself
No one said it was going to be easy but you did it! You committed to making a change in order to reset and refocus your life. Make sure you acknowledge your accomplishments and reward yourself for doing well. Rewards allow you to celebrate your success, no matter how small they may be. Do something that makes you happy and motivate yourself to keep going. Write down all your wins and celebrate yourself.