Perhaps you resolved to be happier and healthier in 2012. If you feel overwhelmed or do not know where to start, a great book just came across my desk that could be exactly what you want. Brett Blumenthal has written 52 Small Changes: One year to a happier, healthier you, and it looks like an excellent program.
On the first page of the introduction, I was immediately impressed that not only is this research-based, but she has done her homework and cited her references. All of her theories seem to be right on, and it is all things we need to hear when trying to make a change, even if it seems basic. The approach is holistic, including change items in four sections: diet and nutrition, fitness and prevention, mental well-being, and green living. If you are suspicious that “green” is simply a marketing label, I would venture that these are truly healthy living habits that don’t quite fit into diet and nutrition or fitness and prevention. Each change is something that will lead to a physically and mentally healthier life, so even if you never complete the book, you can be healthier and happier.
While she is using the kaizen theory to create an entire lifestyle change in a year, I do think this is a lot of change very quickly. No single change will be cemented in a single week. You will still be practicing when you add in the next thing. After several weeks, there may be a lot to track. Brett states that you can use this book in any way that fits for you. That may mean mastering each change (which could take several weeks or months) before moving on to the next one. It may mean starting on January first. It may mean starting on Monday. It may mean starting on or a year before a milestone birthday. It may mean picking and choosing what is most applicable to you right now.
Each change includes an explanation, a statement of the change needed and the roadmap for success, extra credit, and the weekly change checklist which adds up all of the previous changes with this week’s change. The roadmap for success may be the most important part as it provides several tips that make achieving the change goal more feasible. Each change is approximately four to five pages in length. In addition, there is a section of resources including a food journal template, activity log, prevention plan checklist, technology usage survey, and many more. If you are willing, all the tools you need to be successful are included in this book.
I am enlisting a partner, and we will “Drink Up!” next week to ensure that we are properly hydrated. It’s actually something I know I’ve been conscious of recently, and I know I could improve. We may not make it all 52 weeks in a row, but that’s OK. We will be happier and healthier as a result of the attempt, and we know that no good comes from beating ourselves up over a resolution. We can always try again next week.