Some estimates date the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions back 4,000 years. Unfortunately, falling short of those resolutions is a tradition nearly as old — and that can be an awful way to start the year.
Self-improvement is great. Self-improvement that comes at the expense of our self-esteem can be destructive. Which is why so many people start — and fail — at New Year’s resolutions.
Let’s Do Something Different
There’s an alternative to this pattern of annual self-judgment driven by the Imperfection Economy, and it’s called Health Esteem, a new category of fitness and diet that integrates appreciating who you are now along with changes you’d like to make.
We propose a new tradition, one in which we replace the New Year’s ritual of guilty goal-setting, deprivation, and eventual failure with a month spent appreciating ourselves for who we are and the small choices we can make to enhance our lives.
It’s called World Health Esteem Month, a month of paying attention to how 10 tiny daily moments can help steer us toward the life we want to live.
Health Esteem Is a Skill You Can Learn
Practicing Health Esteem leads to better choices.
Instead of working out because you’re unsatisfied with yourself, you exercise because you value yourself. Instead of making food choices to punish yourself into weight loss or eating your emotions without regard for the consequences to how you’ll feel, you will start to make choices in support of taking care of yourself.
You Can’t Fail at Health Esteem
Regardless of how consistent you are, every day of January is an opportunity to succeed. And it’s as simple as checking in on 10 Tiny Moments that can have a dramatic impact on your Health Esteem.
Print or bookmark this list, and give it a try. Spend the first month of 2023 celebrating who you are and, for once, feel great about you from day one!
10 Tiny Moments in Your Daily Health Esteem Routine
1. Wake Up on the First Alarm
A truly tiny moment — but powerful! You decide what sort of day it’s going to be the moment your alarm goes off.
Do you hit snooze? Then you’re going to start the day behind, which leads to low Health Esteem (how often do you beat yourself up for doing this)? But if you can get up on the first alarm, you will immediately start the day with high Health Esteem.
2. Do the Hardest Thing First
What’s something that you hope to do, but you think you might rationalize blowing it off? Do that first.
Postponing or skipping it will give you low Health Esteem. Do it first, and your Health Esteem will be sky-high.
3. Make Time to Eat Breakfast
Did you know breakfast is the most-skipped meal of the day? This leads to lethargy and feeling “behind,” a.k.a. low Health Esteem.
Make time for a breakfast that serves your goals for the morning and you are making time for YOU, and that gives you high Health Esteem.
4. Replace Dirty Energy With Clean Energy
So many of our morning energy options are filled with chemical sweeteners, preservatives, and artificial colors that, instead of providing a simple boost from caffeine, actually pack toxins that the body will eventually have to find a way to process.
That’s adding to the daily stress we’re already living, and the feeling of low Health Esteem. Alternatives that are clean, tested for toxins, and certified can give you the lift you’re looking for — without the toxins — in addition to high Health Esteem.
5. Plan Lunch the Day Before
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” When you don’t pre-plan what you’re going to eat for lunch, you are more likely to be cornered by what’s available in the moment — and that’s often food you would never choose as part of a meal plan to make you feel good.
You don’t want to finish lunch with low Health Esteem.
By planning your daily routine — and your lunch — in advance, you increase the likelihood of choices that enhance how you feel and are good for you. That leads to more progress, more personal growth, and high Health Esteem.
6. Swap Afternoon Treats for Superfood Desserts
Around 3 p.m. is when you are most likely to reach for a snack to satisfy a sweet tooth or hunger craving. You’re working hard. You deserve a treat. Your morning caffeine has worn off. You get that “sweet tooth.”
Discipline is a good muscle to exercise if the urge is just a habit. But maybe you do need a bridge to get you through the day.
The answer isn’t to deprive yourself. The answer is to swap out unhealthy treats (like processed snacks or a sugar-loaded coffee drinks) for a Superfood Dessert — a healthy snack with protein, superfoods, and fiber. This one small change in your daily routine will make a big difference in how you feel.
7. Give Energy
There are people who give energy, and people who take energy. The irony is, the people who give positive energy to others also end up getting positive energy back.
When you are depleted of positive energy you feel like you have the lowest Health Esteem. So look for how you can give positive energy — boost your Health Esteem, and boost someone else’s too.
8. Do a Post-Work Reflection
Think about how much you do in a day: You work through tasks, you interact with other people, you solve problems, you put out fires, you celebrate small wins and then you get right back to work.
If you don’t take the time to acknowledge all that you do in a day, it’s easy to take it all for granted — or worse, never give yourself any credit. This is the definition of unhappiness and it’s the source of burnout.
So, before you leave the office, before you shut your laptop for the day, answer three questions:
What’s one thing you accomplished today?
What’s one new question you are excited to answer tomorrow?
What’s one thing you appreciated about yourself today?
9. Slow Dinner Down
Dinner is such an overlooked time for winding down, for family, for asking questions and sharing; it’s become just another meal we race through. If you can slow down and make it an intentional experience, you create a nice transition from your day, and it will even help improve digestion if you eat slower.
Take a moment to look at all you and your family have done today. Take a moment to appreciate the food and savor it.
The very meaning of the word “appreciate” is to increase in value. Something as tiny as slowing dinners down to truly live in the moment will raise your Health Esteem.
10. “No-Screens” 30 Minutes Before Bed
How you feel tomorrow starts tonight.
The blue light and distractions of phones, TV, and computers before bed disrupt the production of melatonin and your sleep cycle. When your sleep gets ruined it’s hard to wake up with high Health Esteem.
Consider some reading or journaling. Talk and connect with your partner, your kids, or a loved one.
When’s the last time you went outside and looked up at the night sky? Maybe allow yourself time just lying in bed and reflecting on the day, but early enough that you wind down by the time your “sleep clock” starts.
The point is: If you can take 30 minutes away from blue light before bed, you will sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed — with high Health Esteem.
BONUS: Tiny Moment at Any Time of Day
The most essential thing you can do to boost your Health Esteem is give yourself grace.
You’re a human being who’s doing your best to do your best. No instruction manual was provided. In a 100 percent unique way, you are figuring life out every day for yourself.
So even if you didn’t take any of these other suggestions yet, you can check this box. Take a moment, at any moment, and just allow the feeling of appreciating yourself to happen.
Tomorrow is another day, and you deserve to go into it remembering and knowing that you are great.