20 tiny pleasures to embrace in 2018 – Shomit in The Telegraph

Like most people, I used to spend the first few days of January in a fever of self-loathing, examining my vices under a microscopic lens and setting myself grandiose, Putin-esque health goals for the year ahead. January is traditionally the month of deprivation, when a guilt-ridden nation collectively bans sugar, wine, caffeine, red meat, nights out and anything that makes life palatable in the dark winter months. But there’s a growing collective voice arguing that such extreme measures don’t really do us any favours. And, in fact, it’s by making sustainable minor tweaks to our existing routine, and introducing small pleasures into our lives, that we genuinely upgrade our lifestyle.

“People often set themselves up to fail by setting themselves impossibly ambitious targets,” says Shomit Mitter, a leading London therapist. “In fact, it is the accumulation of tiny bits of progress that gradually coalesce to generate a true sense of achievement.” Mitter points to the example of Sir Dave Brailsford, the cycling trainer, and his “marginal gains” theory. As Mitter sees it, marginal gains apply not just in the rarefied world of elite sport but in the fabric of our everyday lives. “Positive change is really about tiny improvements which, when put together, add up to the difference between winning and losing,” he says.

The best bit? You don’t need to ban a thing. This is all about introducing small pleasures and making tiny positive adjustments. Mitter sets his clients an exercise called “the three legs of the stool”, which involves answering three questions positively at the end of the day: “What did I do for my body,” “What did I do for my mind?” and “What did I do for my soul?”. “For your mind, instead of trying to learn a new language or beginning to play a musical instrument – both far more stressful undertakings than people realise – you might spend 10 minutes a day on a brain training app like Peak,” suggests Mitter. “And, for your soul, instead of booking an expensive retreat to learn things that most people forget days after getting home, perhaps focus on doing one pleasurable thing with every day, like cooking a meal instead of sticking something frozen in the oven.”

Here, I share 20 small pleasures that I’ve introduced, for body, mind and soul, that together add up to a happier and healthier 2018.

Read the whole article:

— The Telegraph


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