Another year, another opportunity to regain control of our lives. Wipe the slate clean. Forget the past and forge our way to an intentional, well thought out future. Slow down. Enjoy what matters. Find our “WHY?” and do activities that make sense and create joy in our lives.
Now, before you scratch your head at my list, I need to set the record straight. In the past, I probably would have given you a tight list of tips that only pointed you towards exercise and nutrition. But it’s a disservice to you to lead you astray this year. Your health is much, much more than that. So, this year I need you to look at the bigger picture. There’s so much that impresses us to think, move, act, choose, sway. BE. And that’s exactly why I believe we need to consider all these influential factors. Instead of focusing on fitness solely (while it’s obviously important to thrive and function) let’s take 2017 to the next level. What, you may ask? WELLNESS--all encompassing, balanced and realistic. A more holistic approach to health. Healthy in mind, body and spirit-- not just body.
10 Tips to Achieve Wellness
1. Pray upon Rising
Before your feet hit the ground, connect with the man upstairs. A simple conversation to express your thanksgiving, concerns and ask for guidance in the day ahead. This simple act is the ticket to setting the tone for your day. Caffeinate your day by emotionally connecting with your creator and your purpose. It’s better than a shot of espresso!
2. Live Intentionally
Do things that have meaning to you. Ask yourself, is this taking me closer to my goal or away from my goal? Make things count. Notice patterns of behavior that are draining your energy and time and minimize or kick those habits to the curb.
3. Schedule Your Physical Activity
If it’s not in your calendar, it won’t happen. Choose a time of day that compliments you. If you know you're most productive and energetic in the morning, do it in the morning. Put it in your calendar just like you would a dentist appointment. Strive for 3-5 days per week, choosing a combination of weight training, core and cardio. (Follow me on Insta & FB for ideas!)
4. Learn to Say “No”
Know it’s A-OK to say "no". Does that mean you don’t care? No. Should you feel guilty? No! (See how I did that? Ha!) It just means that we’re choosing to live intentionally. Do what empowers you to be a better person and live a happier life. Saying yes to everything will eventually create unwanted stress. And ain’t nobody got time for that! But in all seriousness, think of this--- when you say no, you’re giving someone else who desires an opportunity to say yes.
5. Volunteer with No Strings Attached
Give back. Service others. Try to volunteer on a monthly or quarterly basis. The act of giving brings personal joy and a sense of purpose. Check out www.volunteermatch.org for ideas and opportunities.
6. Read 10 Pages of a Book Daily
Will 10 pages a day make you smarter? Yes! And when you add that up over the course of 365 days, that’s 3,650 pages. Gah, that’s a lot of books! Just think how much smarter we’ll be come December, 2017! Choose books that will help you grow personally and professionally like self-help, profession specific, spiritual improvement, motivational, etc. Tip: get it in while sipping your morning coffee or place the book on your nightstand as a reminder to read before you get your shut-eye. Keep a notepad close by to make notes or highlight as you read if you’re reading from a downloaded source. When you finish a book, go back and glance over your highlighted notes.
7. Listen to Podcasts while Driving
I’m on an intentional living roll! Successful people use their time wisely. How long is your drive to work? Use it to plug in to things that are intellectually stimulating. There are so many choices and they’re inventoried by category; check out the top rated lists too. Lots of good stuff out there. But you’re a music lover so giving up your karaoke time is painful. Same here. I love great music, but I've created a habit and allow myself to feed my addiction by listening to music while I cook, wash dishes, while in the vehicle with family or friends and while entertaining. 2017 is all about balance.
8. Rest, Stretch & Recover
We are HIIT and CrossFit crazy these days. Don’t get me wrong, doing more in less time is purposeful and can transform our bodies but it's also very taxing. To the point that we’re suffering from injuries and harsh blows to our immune systems. Give yourself a minimum of 1-2 days of pure rest, gentle stretching and recovery each week if you're a HIIT junkie. Read more about HIIT at www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/high-intensity-interval-training.pdf and the importance of rest and recovery at www.stack.com/a/hiit-too-much
9. Meal Swap with a Friend at least 1x per Week
Find someone who lives close by or works with you that you can easily swap with. You don’t want to meal swap with someone that will create stress because you must go out of your way to exchange meals. There are a couple of ways you could approach this. I cook for you on Monday, you cook for me Wednesday or we both cook a meal and swap on the same day so that I technically now have two meals prepped (mine and yours) that we can now eat off for 3-4 days. Make enough for your family and his/hers to have leftovers. Choose someone you can count on and is mindful of cooking like you. Over the weekend, choose a day when the two of you can chit-chat about your menu to ensure it’s something you’d eat. Foods you dislike and all food allergies must be provided. This is critical to making this a successful trade off. Communication is key. Add a third buddy and you have your weekday meals covered! Check out this article at www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/5-steps-successful-dinner-swap for more tips.
10. Donate Unused Items
Any clothing, shoes and home goods you've forgotten about needs to be donated. Decluttering and organizing your home will give you a sense of accomplishment and a fresh start to the new year. Researchers at UCLA say that clutter is linked with mood; particularly self-esteem and depression. So if you're feel a little blue, clean and organize!
Simple, aye? Know you’re worth it. Make things happen in your life this year and watch how you begin inspiring others to not just 'be' but to live intentionally. Make it a year of being physically fit + spiritually fit + mentally fit to find peak wellness in 2017. The stronger you are in all these areas, the happier you will be. Ya know, the things that truly matter :)
Health and Fitness is More than just being Physically Fit
Happy New Year!
Cheers to a Healthier, Happier You!
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