Aren’t we all pretty sick of New Year, New You resolutions that we never quite keep? And then we punish ourselves when we fail. What sense does that make?

Part of the problem is that we choose changes that are so big and so vast that we just can’t possibly achieve them without some kind of superhuman will, and we know that that kind of dedication gives way as soon as life intrudes, and oh baby, life does intrude!

So, I am going to try something different this year. For those of you have participated in my boot camps, you know that I try to break things down into manageable steps that can lead to big changes in your life.

What most people don’t realize is that there is more to recovery than just dealing with the food. Of course, most of us get that we need to use the help of a higher power or meditation or support groups to help us recover, but other life matters impact our recovery as well, including the state of our homes (clutter in the home, clutter in the brain), our spending, and our relationships with others.

I have decided then to dedicate 2017 to whipping my whole life into shape with the idea that my recovery will be stronger and longer lasting. While I will strive to do all of these things to a certain degree daily, I plan on focusing on one of the following goals each month this year. And I will blog about them.

To give you the opportunity to following along, on the last day of every month, I will write up a reflection on the task from the month before and introduce the new habit. Let’s do it together!

January–more and better sleep
February–stronger food plan
March–boosting mood
April–work on the household budget
May–time management
June–get more physical
August–build in more down time
September–have more fun
October–release the past
November–improve my meditation practice
December–relationship building

January–More and Better Sleep

I am pretty sure I don’t need to cite any sources to convince you that sleep is essential to everything. Good, solid, restful sleep and enough of it. Some people don’t need much. Others need a ton. It is to our advantage to find out our sleep needs and fulfill them.

What I know about me and sleep? I am not an early morning person. My brain wakes up at 9 pm. My body wakes up at 9 am. During the school year, it is impossible for me to follow my body’s natural sleep rhythm. My son has to be at school by 8:20 every morning, which means I have to be up by 7:30 am. Even when I go to bed at a very good time, my body still does not feel rested, but I am in this situation for the next 13 years, so I am dealing with it, but not well.

The beginning of term starts out in the best way, but by the end, I stay up later and later to get projects done, which means less sleep. And since he goes to school five days a week, that means less chance to catch up on sleep because there are fewer down days.

My goals for this month (and the rest of the year, of course) is to be in bed by 10 pm. That is, head on my pillow, covers up to my neck. I will journal and read and then hopefully fall asleep by 11 pm, which gives me my eight hours, which is what my body and mind both need.

To make sleep itself better, I need to make some changes to my bedroom this month too. I need to clear out some of the clutter and spend more time changing the sheets and making the bed cozy and inviting.

I will also be adding a new cool mist humidifier to my dresser.

To get a jump start on SAD, I will set my UV light to come on at 6 am each morning.

To make all this work, there are other actions I must take. Our bags for work and school must be packed and ready to go by 8 pm. My son must be in bed and fast asleep by 9 pm. That means that I have to be done with all of my work by 7:30 pm. Given that I get home at 6 pm, this is going to be a tight semester, but I know that it is essential. I know that this is what I must do. In the end, if the work doesn’t get done, the work doesn’t get done. There’s always tomorrow.

Bottom line: Live deliberately.

This sleep plan will begin January 2. What are you plans for better sleep in 2017?

Looking for some inspiration to get you in the right mindset for 2017? Get a copy of my book, The Optimistic Food Addict: Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder. In this often raw and always honest memoir, I talk about the first three years of my recovery and the disordered thoughts and eating that ruled my life for more than 30 years.