As I explained in my last post, I am setting small monthly goals toward building a better planet throughout 2019. Each month will have a different theme; and the theme for January is personal well-being. You might be wondering what the heck personal well-being has to do with making the planet a better place. The way I see it, this month’s theme is the foundation for what I aim to accomplish throughout the rest of the year. January is a time to reset, reflect, and resolve to create positive change. I can’t make the world a better place without first fulfilling my own needs. Or, as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. By maintaining January’s resolutions for personal well-being, setting additional goals for the rest of the year will be that much easier. I really like the way that Gretchen Rubin explains the importance of well-being and happiness in her book, The Happiness Project:
Some people worry that wanting to be happier is a selfish goal. To the contrary, studies show that happier people are more sociable, likable, healthy, and productive—and they’re more inclined to help other people. So in working to boost your own happiness, you’re benefiting others as well.
Ideally, if I focus on taking care of myself first, I can then focus more fully on doing my part to make the world a better place.
The next step, then, is to consider what personal well-being actually means. I consider it a combination of three components: physical well-being, emotional/mental well-being, and spiritual well-being.
Physical well-being is probably the most straight-forward. To maintain physical health, I intend to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and eat healthily. In the past I have tried to force myself to participate in rigorous exercise programs that involved going to the gym every day, but for me this just isn’t sustainable. So this time I’m going to be more realistic and aim to exercise three days per week in 2019. I also aim to adhere more strictly to my 10:30pm bedtime to make sure that I get enough sleep. Lastly, I want to cook at home as much as possible, and eat a more plant-based diet.
For mental/emotional being, I want to do more to manage stress. To do this, I decided to start writing in a journal. I know that writing pages and pages every day is not realistic for me, so I decided to keep things simple with a one line per day journal. I am hoping this will help me practice gratitude for things that are going well in my life, vent any frustrations for things that are not, and just generally take some time to reflect at the end of the day.
Spiritual well-being will probably be the most difficult area for me to focus on. I am not particularly religious, so for me, this means taking time to center myself. I plan to participate in a 30 day yoga challenge throughout the month of January, which I feel will help with physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual well-being. I also want to try meditating again. This is something I find really hard to do, but the health benefits are so incredible that it will be worth giving it another chance.
Finally, I wanted to share some resources that I will be using to help me focus on my personal well-being goals. All of these are books that I have either read, or am currently reading this month:
- The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
- The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
- Kintsugi Wellness, by Candice Kumai
- Making Space, by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Better World Handbook, by Brett Johnson and Ellis Jones
I promise to keep you updated with my progress throughout the month. Writing about my goals on the internet is a really important way of keeping myself accountable, so if you have any thoughts, suggestions, or words of encouragement, I would love to hear them!