THE Life

Your life. Your way.

Reflections and Resolutions for 2017

It's the end of the year. Naturally, a time to reflect on how the year went and think about what we would like to have happen in the next year. I think most people would agree that in general, 2016 has not been great.

My year was better than the last but I don't think that's saying much. However, the goal is always to have this year or the next be better than the last so there's that at least. Some of my relationships have fallen apart, ones that I thought would have lasted the test of time but no matter how well you think you know someone, people always have the ability to surprise you. In that same vein, I've met plenty of new friends, though, too. And I was laid off but also found a position with a new company that I'm really enjoying so far with an excellent team.

Some things that I'm looking forward to leaving behind in 2016 are bad habits such as negative self-talk, the focus on the scale or goals that are based strictly on aesthetics, workouts I don't enjoy, perfectionism, calorie counting, and everything else that is holding me back.

Everyone experiences moments of doubt and negativity, when your fears seem bigger than you. We are capable of so much more than we believe. Eliminate the negative self-talk and instead start complimenting yourself with daily affirmations! It might seem silly at first but practicing self-love is an essential part of wellness. Successful people still have fears but they refuse to let it stop them from accomplishing their goals. Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.”

Quantifiable goals are great but tunnel vision with the numbers on the scale can be far from positive. Make it, achievable, specific and measurable, and habit based. Focus on action-based results, not outcome-based. Examples of good goals are eating vegetables with every meal, drinking 2 liters of water everyday, chewing food 15-30x before swallowing to boost digestion, meditating for 5 minutes a day for 4 times a week, or exercising 5 hours per week.

Try something new to get your blood pumping and make exercise fun. Working out doesn't have to be a chore. Experiment with different activities such as kickboxing, aerial yoga, spin class, archery tag, trampoline fitness, hula hooping, or barre.

Work out because you love yourself, not because you "hate" your body. After I've been working out consistently for a year, I absolutely appreciate and feel more comfortable with my body. I still have my moments when I'm not feeling myself but they are fewer and farther between now. Celebrate what your body can do, feel empowered, boost your energy, sleep better, improve your health, alter your mood for the better, among myriad other benefits. 

Focus on progress, not perfection. Giving yourself unrealistic or unattainable goals is detrimental to your mental and your physical health. Don't beat yourself up if you aren't adhering strictly to your objective. Shake it off, re-focus and get back on track! Remember it is what you do every day that impacts on your health, not what you do occasionally. If you're willing to be patient and apply some simple, daily disciplines to your everyday life, then success may be even closer than you think.

Avoid obsessing over calories — especially if it has created a negative relationship with food. Food is fuel, and we need calories to have strong muscles, bones, and a functioning body. Carbs are not the enemy. They are necessary for your health. Eat protein, healthy fats and plenty of veggies. Limit your intake of sugar and overly processed foods.

Your compromised mental health can have a gravely negative impact on your health. Stress can cause weight gain, poor sleep, bloating, physical pain, skin problems, and more. Practice some self-care, however that feels like for you. It could be drawing yourself a bath, some quiet time with a book, a massage or meditation.

What is preventing you from being your best self and living your best life? Is it a toxic relationship, an awful job that drains you of your energy, or a deep-seated fear? Let. It. Go. Surround yourself with people who support your goals. Say goodbye to work that doesn't make you feel good — or worse, makes you feel bad. Remove unnecessary obligations that keep you from reaching your physical, mental, and personal goals. This is YOUR time! Swap these things with activities that help you reach your goals, a job that fosters your creativity and empowers you, and relationships with people who build you up.