It’s that time of the year everybody!
To help YOU make the most out of 2019, I’ve put together a list of 7 tiny (science-based) tips that can bring big results. Copy whichever ones feel right to you!
I do all of these myself, though admittedly that is after years of “practicing” each regularly, so if it’s too big a list for you that is okay, start with what you can.
Ability > motivation
7 Tips for Starting the New Year Happier & Healthier
1. Review this year’s accomplishments.
Write a list of what you accomplished in 2018. The fact you made another trip around the sun is proof you accomplished something.
I used to think “accomplishments” were only sparkling, shiny things like getting a promotion, losing 50 pounds, setting a new personal record, running a marathon, doing $50,000 in sales, reading 100 books, repainting the garage, graduating from school, etc.
and those definitely are accomplishments…
...but making a new friend, seeing a sunrise, trying a new recipe, having more good days than blah days (even if it’s 183 days vs. 182 days) IS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.
Take a moment to bask in the bright light of all you and enjoyed did in 2018.
If you showered 300 out of 365 days last year, you’ve accomplished more than me on that front.
If you kept a memory jar, you can take this time to read your memories.
In Season 2 of my Podcast, I talk extensively on the power of mindset and how what you think can affect you even at a hormonal and cellular level. If you see yourself as successful, you will take that optimism with you into 2019. This helps you succeed because we take actions that affirm what we believe. (This is all subconscious.) Adopt a “growth” mindset -- believe you did well and you will continue to do well because that is what you believe about yourself. (HUG)
2. Start with a one-word intention.
At the start of every yoga class, my instructor asks us to close our eyes and set an intention.
I go with whatever word pops into my head. Often it is a word that seems very yoga-like. For example: breathe, love, focus, happiness, joy balance, strength, compassion, patience, peace, flexibility, serenity, surrender, light, hope, courage, recovery, and so forth.
A couple of time words that seemed “weird” or ill-fitting like money, resentment, trauma, and jealousy popped in.
I leaned into the opposite of word in those instances. For example, if “money” popped in, I set my attention as “generous.”
Looking back, I was likely showing up on my mat with a lot of fear or anxiety about those things, which is why the word came to me (and it was good I made the positive version my intention). If you can’t think of a positive-counter “self-confidence” is usually universal to whatever negative thing comes up.
What word is coming to you right now? Set that as your one-word intention for 2019.
Last year, friends and I wrote our words on biodegradable balloons and released them into the universe. I regret not writing down what my word was, but I like to think that meant I had enough faith that I would be transformed by that process….
AND with all the massive change that happened in my life this year, I know it came true. I “manifested” it or made space for those gifts to arrive.
Go with the first word that pops into your head. I tend to overthink and overanalyze which becomes paralyzing. Now I trust myself to go with whatever word bubbles up.
That word---your intention---will show you what matters to you or what needs your attention most right now.
Ask yourself: what do I need more of in my life?
There are no wrong answers here.
Here are a few words if you’re more comfortable picking from a list. Choose whatever calls out to you the most:
The power of intentions and goal-setting has been drilled into us since childhood but if you need more convincing, here’s an HBR article on intention in business. Considering you are the CEO of your life, and your life is your business, this article is very on point in my opinion.
3. Make the jump to a plant-based diet.
If you haven’t gone fully plant-based yet, 2019 is the perfect time to start! If you’re a website dedicated to vegan living and recipes I don’t need to sell you on the power of plants or scare you with the perils of processed foods and dairy…
Check out my FREE library of plant-based recipes here.
4. Do light meal planning.
In my ideal fantasy life, a chef lives with me (along with a housekeeper, massage therapist, dog trainer, etc.)
In my real life, I am all those things and I have a 50-hour a week job and other obligations to load in.
For years I did “meal prep” on the weekend.
I’d do all my shopping after work on Friday, then I would spend 1-3 hours on Sunday cooking all of our meals for the week. There are dozens of videos of me doing this on YouTube.
This worked great for a lot of years. I felt so accomplished after cooking.
Opening my fridge and seeing all our meals RIGHT THERE was empowering. I felt “all set” for the week. I had instantly reduced stress and anxiety knowing our food was one less thing I had to worry about. THAT was taken care of.
Annnnd coming home from a long day and only having to reheat dinner??? That is a really good feeling.
I LOVED thinking about what was for dinner on my way home instead of trying to figure out what the fusilli I was going to make.
Plus since I made “serves 4” meals, that meant we had dinner AND enough for our lunches the next day. Morning times were SO EASY.
I even prepared our breakfast (5 days overnight oats or a batch muffins) so all we had to do was grab our oatmeal, our lunch (second servings “leftovers”) and a piece of fruit off the counter. Voila!
If this is something you want to do, you’ll need to meal plan! My new meal planning App makes it easy to plan your week.
Build your entire meal plan and grocery lists in a few clicks.
I created this app based off my seven years of meal planning experience. It will make your planning and batch cooking so much more doable (you’ll feel zen not stressed).
My life shifted and now I wanted to do other things on the weekend (like volunteering) so I don’t batch cook anymore, but I still use the app to make my life more manageable.
On Saturday morning (after yoga) I go to the store. I click on a few recipes in the time it takes to walk from my car to the front door.
I buy the recipes I need and go home.
On Monday I do two or three of the recipes. Typically I do the soup or chili suggested for the week in my pressure cooker while preparing two other recipes on my stove.
I even listen to an audiobook because I really like to multitask ;)
On Wednesday I see whatever ingredients I have already on hand (my pantry seems to procreate) and I do a search to see if anything works for those recipes.
I can usually find 1-2 recipes that work, but if not, I stop at the store to get what I need on my way home.
Note: I LOVE that the app has a suggested menu for me plus so many more recipes I can choose from. If I see something is on sale, for example, I just look for a recipe using that sale item.
I cook those 2 recipes on Wednesday (or Thursday), and that gets us through the week and into the weekend.
If I know I will be making a particular dish on the weekend, I get those items on my midweek run as well. Our weekends tend to vary: social potlucks, parties, OR we stay home and like to cook something elaborate together, it all depends.
I also keep things on hand 365: canned beans, frozen rice, potatoes, and frozen vegetables in the freezer so if all else fails I can heat up rice and beans, or a potato with vegetables. Not the most exciting meal but faster than greasy take-out or burritos that leaves me feeling awful for days.
Either approach works, see which one works best for you.
Having a meal plan takes out a lot of the legwork and makes cooking for your family more realistic. I wouldn’t be able to do it without the Meal Mentor app. I hope you’ll check it out and give yourself some help. Start your 7-day free trial now.
5. Find something new to learn this year.
When I was in Scandinavia, I couldn’t help but notice everyone was as happy as rumored. I was amazed they were not affected by the long, overcast, bitter cold winters like my friends back in America. (Several of my friends use sun lamps to treat seasonal depression).
I started reading research on why the Danes and Swedes are the happiest people (and without seasonal depression) and the most surprising factor to me was that they continued learning and made a real effort to learn new things, particularly in the winter.
Some learned a craft, others a new language.
My 2018 resolution was to learn how to knit, and while it was very challenging (and still is) I’ve stuck with it and found a lot of pride, happiness, and even identity in it.
From my experience, I can see how this is important and an easy happiness hack. If nothing else, taking a little time every day (or every week) to immerse yourself into something that interests and stimulates you is fantastic self-care, which is critical for longevity (and weight-loss!)
What is something you would like to learn this year?
It can be a larger goal like learning Italian or how to knit (my husband signed himself up for a linear algebra class) or go smaller with learning how to properly dice an onion. I would like to learn how to prepare a vegan souffle!
Find an idea that energizes and excites you, and get going!
6. Declutter your space.
Donating is a great option if some of the things you no longer use are still in great shape. Plus you feel SO GOOD physically and spiritually after you donate.
While decluttering, pay special attention to your kitchen.
Do you really want those sugar-laden cookies left over from your Aunt’s Christmas party to come with you into the New Year?
It’s okay to throw away food without eating it.
Your body is not a trashcan.
Those cookies have already served their purpose outside of your mouth. They brought pleasure and joy to the person who made them. Their job is done!
Learning how to cope and face “loss aversion” is something I continually have to work on, but it’s at the core of minimalism.
There is freedom in letting go and also saying “that is not my responsibility.” It is not my responsibility or my job to make sure someone else’s cookies/effort/time/money do not go to waste. (If you still feel guilty, donate them or take them to work).
Bottom line: The money and time is already spent, eating it doesn't change that but it might change your future.
7. Detox your body & mind.
Feeling a little bloated after the holidays?
Can’t seem to get rid of those pesky sugar cravings?
Perhaps the holiday stress has made it impossible to get a good night’s sleep?
All of these are signs your body is screaming for a detox.
Taking just a week to reset and reprogram your body with a short detox program can do wonders for the way you look and feel in 2019!
How Meal Mentor Can Help
You don’t have to do it all on your own.
Tackling New Year’s resolutions is always much more fun with a supportive group of friends, don’t you think?
That’s why I’m inviting you to join me and a whole tribe of other awesome people from all over the world in our yearly Detox Challenge.
It’s full of healthy, plant-based recipes to help you reset and reprogram your body, and start the new year off strong.
Want to join the 2019 Detox Challenge tribe?
I’ve done a detox together with you faithfully every New Year since 2015, and I couldn’t be more excited for this year’s challenge.
The 2019 Vegan Detox Meal Plan (with 13 brand new recipes) will be available in the Meal Mentor app on December 30 (it’s Free for all monthly members). If you’re not a member yet, sign up now to get it instantly. You can also purchase a PDF copy of the 2019 Detox Meal Plan here.
Family Recipes in the Detox Meal Plan:
Detox Spring Rolls
Moroccan Cobb Salad
Beauty & Beet Chili
Thai Broccoli Curry
Brown Rice Veggie Sushi
Winter Harvest Salad
Quinoa Curry Bowl
Moroccan Salad Bowl
Cauliflower Nacho Cheese
Chipotle Red Bean Stew
Creamy Zucchini Bisque
Aloo Gobi Masala (Cauliflower, potato, pea curry)
Creamy Citrus Kale Salad
Who is excited????