This guest post is written by Rebecca Cafiero––Healthy Lifestyle Expert, TEDx Speaker, and Certified Holistic Nutritionist. Learn more about Rebecca and her lifestyle tips at www.rebeccacafiero.com.
Are you tired of the New Year, New You theme that seems to pop up every January 1st? Or even more wary of rinse and repeat resolutions that never seem to gain traction? Or perhaps you’re rebelling against missed expectations by NOT setting goals this year.
A while back, I found an old journal with my New Year’s resolutions from when I was 22 . . . More than a decade ago! And scarily, my resolutions haven’t changed much over time. Lose 10 lbs. Work out more. Eat healthier. Do a cleanse. Drop a jean size.
Despite my best intentions and efforts over the years, and regardless of the small fortune spent on too-small workout clothes bought to reward dropping a size or trainers meant to motivate me, I found myself continually failing to create sustainable habits. So the cycle of restarting my goals at the beginning of the year, or month, or next Monday, became endless . . . Until I made a few tweaks that have completely changed how I approach goals AND have helped me begin achieving them.
I like to think of New Year’s goals as just minor recalibrations. First, I take time to review my progress over the past year, and then I decide the areas I’d like to improve in, or where I want to shift focus or energy to.
Challenge yourself to do away with the idea that you need to recreate yourself in the new year. Leave thoughts like it behind in 2017! You are already great, and are just ready for a new year optimization!
Be A Goal Digger
Create simply written and clearly defined goals. Be sure they are measurable, but not so specific that you’re setting yourself up to fail by mid-January! Life happens! Also, beware of making TOO many goals! You don’t need a whole list. Just a few goals with actionable steps.
AVOID goals like:
Work out more (too vague)
Hit the gym 5x per week (not realistic)
DO make goals like:
-Move my body for 30 minutes at least 3x per week.
This could be a long walk or hike, hitting the gym or yoga studio, or doing an at-home workout.
Little actions like taking the stairs at work or parking at the far corner of the parking lot add up over time!
Studies show that having an accountability partner can increase your chances of completing your goals by 65%. And while one buddy is better than none, if that person loses steam or focus, you’re left tackling your goals solo. Instead, find 3 to 4 friends and start a group text. Cheer each other on when you hit the gym, share photos of your healthy and delicious food finds, and encourage each other to push through when life happens. Not only will the daily check-ins from others keep you motivated, but constant contact with a group of positive, action-oriented friends with similar goals is an added bonus!
Develop a mindfulness practice
Start your day off right by dedicating 5-15 minutes of time to self-care. In just 10 minutes each morning, you can give yourself a solid foundation mentally, physically, and emotionally for the rest of the day!
- 1 Min Exercise: 60-second plank hold to activate the body and get the blood flowing!
- 3 Min Meditation: Use the SOS feature on the Headspace app!
- 1 Min Gratitudes: Write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
- 1 Min Intentions/Goals: Identify your #1 priority for the day, and write out the action steps needed to tackle the task.
- 1 Min Affirmations: I love the phrases, “I am happier, healthier, and more abundant today than I was yesterday,“ and, “Life is happening FOR me, not to me.”
Balance Your Body Instead of Weighing It
It’s not about being a certain weight or jean size, it’s about FEELING your best! That means abundant energy, mental clarity, creating sexy lean muscle, and nourishing your cells so they don’t only look great but feel great.
- Skip the dieting! Learn to listen to what your body needs. And no, that doesn’t mean diving face first into a pile of donuts. Learn to identify what you want, why you want it, and how you’ll feel after you eat it. Say yes to cleansing for happy cells, and no to diets and deprivation!
- Say No To Juice Cleanses! Hello, sugar overload! Instead, consider doing a cellular cleanse utilizing intermittent fasting WITH nutritional support. It’s been around (and positively studied) for centuries. And it’s gaining popularity not just amongst celebrities and athletes, but also amongst us certifiable nutrition nerds, naturopaths, and vegans! It’s all about balance and sustainability (and of course, activating those anti-aging benefits). Reach out to me if you’d like a recommendation for your lifestyle!
- Stop Counting Calories! Instead, make your calories count. Meaning, don’t load up with a 400 calorie caramel latte full of sugar and chemicals when you can make homemade, delicious guacamole instead!
- Embrace (Healthy) Fat! Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar does! Load up on healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil. When you have a craving for sugar, it’s often really because your body needs the right fat!
- Hydrate! If you’re feeling tired, drink water. If you’re craving something, drink water! If you have mental fog, drink water!! The number one thing that hinders weight loss and is the reason behind lack of energy or mental clarity is not drinking enough water. Aim to drink 75% of your body weight a day in plain water (not coffee, juice, or teas)! Start off the day with a BIG glass of water as soon as you wake up. Ideally, with fresh-squeezed lemon for a big dose of energy-creating, immune-boosting vitamin C!
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!!
As human beings, we naturally move towards pleasure and away from pain. When you’re dreading your next workout, it’s easy to come up with a dozen reasons why you should skip. So do something that excites you! Try a SoulCycle class with an instructor that inspires you! Or meet girlfriends for a salsa dance class!
Nearly a year ago, I started a weekly girls workout group. We meet every Tuesday evening for an hour of sweaty fun! We do a 30-minute workout, followed by 30+ minutes “healthy happy hour,” where we experiment with fun protein shake combinations and catch up each other’s lives. I could do the workout on my own anytime, but the companionship of positive women holding me accountable is priceless!
Reward Yourself! Don’t buy too-small workout clothes as an incentive to get smaller. Instead, focus on the behavior you want, and reward that. Splurge on that Sweaty Betty sports bra you’ve been eying once you’ve hit your 3x a week movement goal for two weeks. Treat yourself to a reflexology session as a welcome reward after completing your weekly goal. Or plan a yoga/surf retreat with your accountability partners for next holiday season! Create ways to associate a great feeling with achieving your goals, instead of beating yourself up for not being perfect.
Most importantly, remember that a healthy body you love is the vehicle to achieve all of your goals. You need the energy to kill it at work and to grow your side hustles. You need clarity to be your best in your relationships, including with yourself!
Learn more about Rebecca and her healthy lifestyle tips at www.rebeccacafiero.com.