Today’s post is written by Dillan DiGiovanni, a certified integrative nutrition health coach and teacher. He creates programs for healthier people and workplaces from his office in Union Square. Dillan will be regularly contributing his expertise on health and wellness to the Beat in the coming months.
After the holiday hustle and the resolution reminder that is New Year’s Eve, we arrive at February. It’s a month to recognize the achievements of Black Americans and our former U.S. presidents and, of course, love. For those who are coupled, Valentine’s Day either elicits more presents or sheer panic at having forgotten and February 15 is National Singles Awareness Day. In case you didn’t know.
If you weren’t already full of conflicting messaging about eating “all the things” and then furiously trying to lose the weight you just ceremoniously gained, it can sometimes feel like each month just brings another reason to beat yourself up if you aren’t hitting the mark in some way.
I have some good news for you. Twenty-fifteen can be the year you stop doing that. This can be the year you do better than bare minimum and really start experiencing unlimited health and happiness with impeccable self-care and self-love. From the many changes I’ve made in my own life and what I’ve observed with clients, friends and total strangers, what changes the game is the decision to do more than bare minimum. You might think you’re already doing a lot, so let me explain what I mean.
Many people live their lives wanting to know and invest the bare minimum of what they need to do to be healthy or to have success in love and work. They want the fast track. The easy way. Sometimes they hear what it really takes to be a healthy and happy person and they try to D.I.Y. or cut a corner and think they’ll still arrive at the result they want.
It doesn’t work like that. At least, not in my experience.
I’m not advocating perfectionism at all. But consider your current effort in any or all of these aspects of your life and see whether a tweak here or there would make all the difference in the world.
Ask yourself if you’re someone who lives a bare minimum life or one of abundance—in all the right places.
SLEEP: Do you get the bare minimum of sleep you need to survive in life, getting a few hours and drinking a ton of coffee or eating a ton of sugar to get through each day?
TIME MANAGEMENT: Do you find yourself rushing around to make appointments or deadlines on time, leaving yourself the bare minimum of time needed to do the job well or get where you need to be?
INTEGRITY: When fixing something or cleaning your living space, office or workplace, do you invest the bare minimum of time or effort? How about difficult conversations or resolving conflict? Consider if you complete each job or task, however small or seemingly insignificant, with attention and intention to do it thoroughly.
NUTRITION: When you eat, are you consuming foods full of nutrients that truly nourish you or are you grabbing quick empty calories that likely taste good but aren’t really feeding you? If you don’t know how to cook or shop for healthy foods, are you investing the bare minimum effort or seeking out ways to practice new and different habits and enhance your skills?
EXERCISE: Physical fitness requires a fairly simple combination of caloric intake and exercise that both strengthens muscles and elevates heart rate. Consider your efforts in this area and think about what would be possible if you invested more than the bare minimum in your physical health.
I heard a saying once that, “how we do one thing is how we do everything,” and I can’t tell you how much I believe it’s true.
From what I’ve observed, people living their lives at bare minimum are choosing, whether consciously or unconsciously, the love, health and happiness they feel they deserve. Over time, practicing more than the bare minimum in any or all of these areas I’ve named becomes much easier and really changes what life looks and feels like each day and then each month and then each year. Setting and keeping an early bedtime, slowing down and doing less in each work day, adding in more downtime, keeping a tidy and efficient living space, practicing good listening and communication skills, eating good homemade food and moving for a strong body—these are the things we humans need to do to thrive, not just survive.
This year, choose better than the bare minimum when it comes to your own self-care and self-love because you deserve unlimited health and happiness and the truth is, the only person who can give this to us is ourselves.
Images courtesy of Dillan DiGiovanni.