How To's

Your Best Year Yet: Tips for Success

It’s that time of year again.  You know, when news outlets, celebrities, talk-show hosts, are all giving their opinion on the top lists for the past year — running the gamut from podcasts, books and songs to movies and TV shows, etc.  Admittedly, it’s interesting and fun to see what other people enjoyed and the accomplishments of celebrities.  But what if we did the same for ourselves — if we created our own Top 5?

What are your top 5 accomplishments for the year?

  • Maybe you cooked more fresh meals at home?
  • Or took up a yoga class? 
  • Or optimized your oral care routine (floss every day like we tell the hygienist that we do…LOL)

Whatever it is you accomplished, this is a great time of year to reflect on what went well, to congratulate yourself for work well done and to acknowledge how these accomplishments enriched your year!

The year probably wasn’t perfect, so it can also be a good time to reflect on things you might want to leave behind, or nourish new good habits and take them to the next level. 

Here are 4 tips for helping good habits stick and for optimizing your routines in the new year.

1. Plan the routine

Start with a plan.  The more detailed or thought-out your plan, the easier it is to execute.  Sometimes saying it out loud to others or writing it in a journal or on a vision board can help solidify the action.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  Benjamin Franklin

2. Practice your routines at the same time

When you do the same action at the same time on a regular basis you create a habit that is ingrained in your lifestyle.  You no longer have to remind yourself of the routine — your mind and body automatically know it’s time and are prepared for the activity.  For example, automatically washing hands after using the toilet, or putting on a seatbelt after getting into the car.1  

3. Practice your routines with mindfulness

What do we mean by practicing mindfulness?  “Mindfulness is the ability to stay in the present moment and to focus your thoughts on what is happening in the here and now. It’s our ability to not think about the past or the future but to instead observe what is happening in the moment.”2

Mindfulness helps us achieve our goals.  When we use our senses to experience the activity of our habit, it becomes more meaningful.   Let’s say you want your oral care routine to become as habitual as your morning coffee.  Consciously go through each step of the routine: tongue cleaning (really look at what is coming off your tongue…yuck!), flossing (consciously think about moving your floss to a fresh section for each tooth), brushing (notice the smooth, clean feeling after each tooth is brushed). Finish, knowing this act of self-care is part of your whole-body wellness.

4.  Practice self-love

Be kind to yourself!  Stay away from harsh judgement if you miss a day because life interrupted your routine. We all perform better when we’re encouraged rather than berated, so do the same for yourself.  Take note of every time you meet your goals and thank yourself for doing the work.  And most of all be patient with yourself…remember it takes 66 days to build new habits.3 

The takeaway

To ensure you succeed and become the best version of yourself, remember to take the time to express gratitude daily and add these simple steps…

  • Plan Ahead — have the right tools (healthy snacks available, yoga bag packed and ready to go, menu planned for the week)
  • Be Consistent — set an alarm or use daily reminders
  • Be Mindful — commit to your habit and experience all that it has to offer
  • Be Kind — honor and acknowledge your efforts, no matter how big or small

Have your best year ever!!!

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