With a New Year come new resolutions. After years of vowing to lose 10 pounds before every spring break, or swearing I wouldn’t drink alcohol for a month (a goal I have yet to achieve) I realized I wasn’t being realistic.
By setting a goal like “lose 10 pounds,” what I was really committing to was an entire shift in my diet, exercise and lifestyle. That’s a lot of change to make just because my calendar read January 1st. Instead, I realized it wasn’t so much about the end result, as much as it was about the healthy changes that got me there.
With that being said, here are my top tips for making 2013 your healthiest, happiest and fittest year yet.
1. Breathe Your Way to Mental Clarity. This little trick doesn’t require a location, tools or equipment; just you. We can’t all afford to jet off on a vacation every time we get run down so learning some breathing techniques can come in handy, especially since proper breathing is essential for total body health.
Close your eyes and close your mouth. Inhale deeply through your nose for 5 second and hold for 2 seconds. Release your breath through your mouth for a count of 5 seconds and repeat.
When I’m stressed or feeling mentally unproductive, this 5-2-5 really helps bring me back to a positive space. It’s also a natural tranquilizer for your nervous system… and free!
2. Strategize Your Sleep Time. When the days rush by and that long to-do list doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter, many people forget to make time for proper shut-eye.
Committing to a good night sleep benefits nearly every area of your life. From physical health to emotion well-being, consistent sleep patterns are good for you. To achieve this, shut down the electronics at least one hour before you intend to sleep as this allows your mind time to wind down. Soon the simple act of shutting your laptop screen will have your brain signalling that it’s time for you to shut down too.
Create a bedroom environment that is conducive for sleeping; free of clutter and flashing electronic lights, keep the temperature a little on the cool side and keep it dark. You’ll be snoozing in no time.
3. Pre-Plan Your Meals. Sitting down at the beginning of each week and committing to a meal plan saves you time, money and promotes healthier eating habits. When you pre-plan, you are less likely to splurge on take-away temptations which can ruin that workout you just did.
4. Keep Your Gym Bag Packed and Ready to Go. Pre-packing your gym bag gets your one step closer to the gym by mentally preparing you to go. Having the visual stimulates you as well.
So what should you be packing in your bag? Mine always has my gym card, water bottle, locker padlock, fresh socks, shoes, my favourite fitness outfit, deodorant and of course, my iPod.
5. Find a Workout Routine That Works for You. Like clothes shopping, you have to try on a few items that don’t fit before you find the perfect outfit. The same goes with finding a fitness routine that suits you.
I am an uppity type of gal, so I assumed aerobics classes were made for me. Turns out there weren’t, though I love a good Boot Camp. I love my weekly Pilates and it took me a while to discover this. Signing up for a 10 km race turned out to be another unexpected and enjoyable fitness journey for me.
Getting out there and trying new things is how you discover what you love. Loving what you do gives you something to look forward to and ensures you’ll make time for it. Just be sure to switch it up every now and again to avoid boredom!
Don’t stress yourself out with unrealistic resolutions this year. Take conscious strides to better yourself by putting YOU first. Like I said, it’s the process that really benefits you in the long term. So Happy New Year and may 2013 being your best year yet!