This is a time when you may have made New Year’s resolutions to live a better life. You might want to go on a diet and lose weight, you might want to start working out, and you might even want to take risks and find a new career path for yourself.
In the past, you may have made a whole list of resolutions and then fiercely devoted yourself to fulfilling them. For a week.
Then, you may have gotten distracted by appointments and new seasons of your favorite TV show on Netflix and only pursued your resolutions for a part of the time. For a week.
Then, by the third week, perhaps that whole list went completely out the window. This is no way to achieve success or live a better life.
Small Changes Can Yield Big Results
It can be very frustrating to not have the kind of discipline needed to make the changes to our lifestyle and our career that are necessary to enjoy genuine growth. This is why when I teach my clients how to create greater purpose in their life through the systems of Yoga and Ayurveda, I don’t have them make over their entire lifestyle all at once.
I teach my clients the virtues of changing their lifestyle a little bit at a time. After months or even a year, all of these small changes add up to an entirely different (and wholly beneficial lifestyle).
The Problem with Late-Night Eating
For example, one thing I teach my clients is how healthy it is for them to refrain from late-night eating.
When we sleep, our body’s various systems shut down so as to allow everything to revitalize itself while we sleep. This includes the digestive system. But if we still have food in our stomach when we go to bed, the compromised functionality of our digestive system is unable to process the food still in our stomach. The food just sits there overnight, and because it hasn’t been digested it becomes toxic.
Then, we wake up the next morning feeling stiff, lethargic, and heavy. Not only is the tone of the whole day set by a poorly timed late-night meal the night before, but it makes us far more likely to be sick in general.
Related: How to Make Healthy Food Choices
Ideally, it’s best to not eat for the last four or five hours before bedtime. And while it might seem completely appropriate to make “I won’t eat late at night” a New Year’s resolution, actually following through is a different story.
Since this is a difficult task to accomplish for many of us, it is better to start smaller and build up. Let’s say you currently eat an hour before you go to bed. Tomorrow, eat an hour and ten minutes before you go to bed. Then, the day after that, eat an hour and twenty minutes before you go to bed. Continue to grow this behavior gradually over time, and within a month you’ll have the habit under control.
Related: The Power of Positive Thinking
Begin to do this with a gradual introduction of other practices, like yoga postures and breathing exercises, and you will become so grounded in your new routine that within a year you will be living a wholly different – and far more beneficial – lifestyle.
You will have created such a thorough transformation that by next January, New Year’s resolutions will be a thing of the past.
Yogi Cameron, Ayurvedic healer, lifestyle therapist, and yoga guru, helps treat specific conditions and puts his clients on the path to greater mental, physical, and spiritual health. Yogi Cameron’s goal is to help everyone find their purpose and practice, which is explained in his new book The ONE Plan, a comprehensive week-by-week guide to authentic change.
Featured photo by Tobias Lindman
Originally published 1/25/13 and updated 1/14/14.