Happy New Year! 

The beginning of a new year is often a time for reflection. It is also a time when people think about their futures, their goals, and quite often, improving their health. So we make resolutions, but according to recent research, while as many as 45% may make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving their goals.

Setting goals for better health doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, better to start with ‘easy’ goals and establish success so that you tackle the bigger ones with more confidence. 

This first issue in 2022 of The Flame suggests six relatively simple suggestions that you can do yourself to begin a healthy year!  Good Luck!!

— Betty Long, RN, MHA, President/CEO, Guardian Nurses Health Advocates



New Year. New You.

Pick up a magazine this month or browse on your favorite health website and chances are there will be list after exhaustive list of how to get your health back on track in 2022. Research proves that while lots of us start off the New Year with great goals in mind, by February, we’re back to our old habits. We share these six suggestions because we thought these were ‘doable.’ (Especially the belly breathing habit!) Best wishes!

1. Set a daily intention

It can be as simple as deciding not to overreact if your kids or another family member gets on your nerves – or take a walkover your lunch hour instead of not leaving your desk. If you feel like you’re living on auto-pilot, starting your day by setting a daily intention can help you feel more in control of your life and your actions.

2. Cross off the toughest task on your To-Do list first

Lots of career coaches suggest that you should figure out the toughest, most important or most intimidating task you want to get done by the end of the day and tackle it first. That way it’s done, so it’s not hanging over your head or stressing you the rest of the day.

3. Start a belly breathing habit

Shallow breathing keeps our bodies in that high-stress, fight-or-flight mode. But deep belly breathing sends a message to our brains to relax. Slowing down your breath can slow down the chatter in your head, and reduce stress and anxiety.

How to do it: You can literally do this anytime and anywhere. Just, stop. Focus your attention on your breath. Let all your air out and take a deep inhale, then exhale, then repeat. Try to do it a few times each day and you’ll feel how it helps.

4. Apologize authentically

Whether you got into a spat with a friend, family member or colleague, get better at apologizing by doing what you can to reconcile the conflict, rather than holding a grudge. It takes little risk and little time, but it can be rewarding in a big way.

Therapists say that being able to say you’re sorry and mean it, makes it easier to get back to a positive mood after going through something difficult. Positive states, like contentment, warmth and trust, are important to health, social connection and focus. And these days, who couldn’t use a little more social connection!

5. Share with a family member or friend one thing that went well today.

Too often we get hung up on the little things that go wrong from day to day, rather than focusing on everything that’s going right and what we have accomplished.Talking about something that we’ve achieved helps us remember our true potential and the impact we’re having on the world around us.

6. Take 10 minutes every day to do something for YOU.

Even without the COVID pandemic, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work emails, kids’ schedules and life’s countless obligations. Spending 10 minutes of quality YOU-time could mean reading a magazine, meditating or playing with your pet. Focus on activities that not only make you feel good, but also relieve stress and improve your well-being (diving into a bag of potato chips or mindlessly scrolling through your Facebook feed are NOT the goal).

And whichever goal you do choose, remember to be committed, celebrate the small successes as you do big ones and go easy on yourself. Be ready for setbacks, forgive yourself when you fail (which you WILL do), and remember, there’s always next year!

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