Living with Intention in 2023
By Dr. Kristy Lewis, Naturopathic Doctor
While I am not a believer in new year's resolutions, I feel the new year offers us an opportunity to reflect on our successes and misses of the previous year and set intentions for the upcoming year. Too often, we set grandiose goals that are impossible to achieve, only to feel like a failure and return to old behaviors that push us further away from our best selves.
What about setting realistic expectations that will encourage us to succeed and motivate us positively? It might not seem like much at the time, but I guarantee you will be shocked at what you can achieve if you stay consistent over the long haul. Small changes every day for the entire year will have a more significant impact than changes that last for only a few weeks.
Here are a few of my ideas that may help you set your intentions for 2023:
1. Eat more fruits and veggies.
I am not talking about a radical shift to vegan or raw food eating; I am simply suggesting that you add more of these foods to your current diet. Consider blueberries with your morning cereal, an apple mid-morning, carrots with your lunch, and a mixed green salad with your dinner. A few weeks before my grandfather passed away at the age of 92, I asked him what his secret to longevity was, and without pause, he replied, "your grandmother always served us two vegetables with every dinner." Wisdom, I think, is worth pursuing.
2. Drink more water.
I know you have heard this one repeatedly, but many of us need to follow this essential recommendation. Whatever you're telling yourself, "I don't like the taste of water," "I don't have time to go to the bathroom," or "I forget to drink my water,"…change your story. This is so basic and so easy. Fill a 1L container (a glass mason jar is perfect) twice daily and drink it. Just do it!
You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on gym memberships, sports equipment, or fitness machines to get active. Walk, hike, ski, skate, swim, stretch, dance, bike…move your body for at least 20 minutes daily, and amazing things will happen. This is the best medicine to help with moods, energy, sleep, blood pressure, digestive function, immune health, etc. There are so many benefits. How can you not be doing this?
This is much harder than it sounds and one that most of us struggle with. Find daily moments like brushing your teeth, having a shower, cutting your veggies, etc., and use these as reminders to breathe. Inhale…1-2-3-4, Exhale….1-2-3-4.
I love the "pay it forward" that is happening worldwide. People recognize the benefits of giving to others without expecting in return. Join the movement. You can't begin to believe how good you will feel when you give of yourself, even if just a smile, a listening ear, a hug, or something more material like a sandwich to someone less fortunate or winter jacket that you no longer wear.
Take some time to reflect on what is important to you and how you wanted to live in 2023, then show up for yourself with these intentions.