We all Crave a Clean Fresh Start!

I think you'll agree that most of us revel in the chance for a fresh start. And we eagerly look forward to that clean-slate moment when the holidays have passed and everyone is back in action buzzing with renewed energy and motivation! I venture a guess that your email box, like mine, is full of “new year, new you” advice and a myriad of discounts for products that will “change your life” this year. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with seizing the moment and making a few changes that can ultimately make a positive difference for you in the year to come. But how can you make it last the whole year long?  Can it really?  You betcha!

What happens when all the noisemakers and confetti are gone? Are all the wishes and dreams of a “new you” sustainable? The good news is: definitely! But the caveat is that there are a few important things to think about on the journey that will support you and help to keep you on your newly chosen path. Yes, change is not easy. It's a process.  Breaking old habits and creating new ones often comes with a dose of anxiety or even unwelcomed stress at first. But with a few key facts in your hip pocket, you too will be marveling at the fact that the new habits that mean the most are still around long after January. Really, you say? Yes, absolutely. Let’s start with a bit of a twist on the “new you”. Let’s say a “better you” because I am certain there are good things you already bring into the new year that are keepers. And we go from there.

It’s a journey. And this year, fabulous 2016, I’ll be exploring with you and providing regular blog posts about change – what makes it possible for the long-term; about nutrition – how can you feel nourished and energized without feeling deprived; about what’s fresh and in season now; and you’ll always find a recipe that we’re working on behind the Crisp scenes! (recipe sneak peak at the end of this post)

So, if you’ll allow me, I would like to offer some perspective from my wellness coaching background and encourage you, as you jump into the new year, to first take stock in what’s really working for you. It’s the perfect time to refocus on what makes you feel great! Love yourself and be gentle. Even if you have to dig deep, I guarantee there is a list that will form (!) Relax. Reflect. Rethink. Reevaluate. Remember. So that’s step #1.

See, and you thought I was going to start a long list of ‘healthy habits’ for you to add to your already overflowing plate of ‘to do’s’! Nope. There are plenty of those already online if that’s what you are looking for. But I stand firm that there is no “one size fits all approach” although the countless marketers trying to sell you the next, revolutionary diet or supplement that will rock your world hope that it doesn’t occur to you that we are all individuals with individual needs. We are! No two alike.

So from here, after you’ve spent some time reflecting on this beautiful vibrant person that is you (!) and what you really need, it’s time to give some thought to what’s not working and both why it doesn’t seem to be working and what might work better instead. Ask yourself why you're seeking to make a change? That’s your “Why” and that’s so very important as you lay a strong foundation for upping your game. That’s your new beginning point. And it might also be comforting to know that YOU hold all the answers. Truly! Now, you’re ready to explore, Renew and Recharge!

We've established that change isn’t easy but can truly be wholly invigorating! With a positive perspective – yep, forgot to mention that and it’s crucial – there is a lot that can be done.

Let’s take a quick, broad overview of habits. I’ll post more throughout the month. For the moment let’s address the basic question: can habits really be a good thing? Of course! The biggest benefit of a habit is that it eliminates the need for unnecessary choices – and self-control – which can take up brainpower and time, giving us more energy and space to go about living. Research supports that fact that habits make life easier, better, and happier. And it's up to us to make sure our habits are serving us well.

Let’s go back for a moment to our introspection, “the first step in forming a habit is knowing ourselves so we can figure out which habits suit us best,” says Gretchen Rubin author of The Happiness Project. "And when we use habits the right way, they really do make our lives better and easier," she says.

As we go along we’ll add more layers of understanding pulling from one of my favorite authors on the subject Kelly McGonigal (“The Willpower Instinct”) – both on change and willpower and from a recent read, Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project.’ We’ll look at jump starts – or blast starts as they are called in other parts of the world – and if they are right for you, how to sustain the momentum; habits and their potential drawbacks and upsides; rewards vs. no rewards and meaningful rewards; change ‘personalities’ so that you’ll understand better why one approach works for your best friend and why it doesn’t for you; and what happens when we diverge from the path and how that’s not really such a bad thing.

As you move into the New Year, solidify your “Why?” and expect great things to unfold!

The next post will also include the first step in a firm foundation on nutrition: no need to count calories. Yes, really! I’ll explain more. And look for our first clean, green recipe of 2016 to usher in the New Year,: Black Eyed Pea Barley Protein Bowl & Buckwheat Crackers.

So much inspiration to come! Glad you’re jumping into the New Year with Crisp. It will be a fabulous 2016!

Annette Shafer
Annette Shafer