Very often our health and wellness goals and New Year’s resolutions revolve around food and weight. While a wholesome, nourishing diet is a very important goal aimed at leading a healthy, energetic life, it is just one piece of the puzzle. If other aspects of your life don’t fulfill you, no amount of vegetables will make you happier. Now, I’m not telling you to eat junk food and sit on your couch all day. What I am saying is focus on the complete picture; fueling your life physically, emotionally, and spiritually will bring you closer to a happier, healthier, more fulfilled YOU!
In 2018 I want you to broaden your health and wellness goals. In addition to adding in more whole foods to crowd out the processed foods and sugar, focus on leading a life you love! Do you participate in physical activities you actually enjoy? Do your relationships fuel you? Does your career motivate you? Do you have a spiritual practice that inspires you? Do you do something fun every day? Do you make time for YOU and include self-care rituals that nourish you?
I have clients whose initial main focus is to lose weight, increase energy, or heal digestive issues—all very important goals. We work together towards gradually adding in more whole foods that nourish their unique body and crowd out the foods that don’t serve them well. But that is only one aspect of what they gain in my 6-month integrative health-coaching program. They find physical activities they actually look forward to doing each day. They learn ways to reduce their stress through breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga. They improve relationships with their loved ones. They are happier at their jobs. They become more mindful while eating and in all aspects of their daily activities. They sleep better and are more at peace. They carve out time to do activities that rejuvenate them. They radiate with a newfound appreciation for themselves and their life!
Leading a healthier, happier life goes beyond the food on your plate. Here are some of my favorite tips for gradual modifications you can incorporate in the coming year to fuel yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually:
- Slow Down– In this fast paced, technology-based world we are always in a rush. We run from place to place and constantly think of the next task or event. Resolve to add 10 extra minutes to get to your next activity. Take a step back and look around and truly appreciate the moments with your family, friends, and all that nature offers in this beautiful world.
- Sleep More – Make sleep a priority. Give your body a chance to rejuvenate and rest as much as possible. Start by going to sleep 30 minutes earlier and turn off electronics an hour before bed, so you can truly unwind.
- Do Physical Activities you Enjoy – Experiment and find physical activities that motivate you. If you don’t like running on the tredmill, then don’t run on the treadmill. Do you Love to dance? Take a dance class. Cherish your time in nature? Go for a hike. Do you enjoy team sports? Get a group of your friends or family together for a game. Do you enjoy group strength training? Take a boot camp class. Are you looking for more of a lower impact class? Try yoga or Pilates. The important thing is to do an activity you like, so you actually look forward to it!
- Do What You Love – Find a career you love or make changes, so you can love the work you already do! Does your job bring fulfillment and gratification? Are you using your strengths and creativity? Are you motivated? Are you working in a positive environment with those who encourage you? Do you look forward to work? Are you involved in networking groups to enhance your career? Ask yourself these questions to see if your career aligns with you or how you can improve it.
- Find a Spiritual Practice That Speaks to You – Spirituality comes in many forms including religion, yoga, meditation, art, music, and nature—just to name a few. Add to your life a spiritual practice that inspires and enlightens. Find something that grounds you and is your happy place. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
- Appreciate, Forgive, and Cultivate Positive Relationships – Relationships should provide joy, comfort, and growth. Acknowledge and appreciate those around you. A simple “thank you” can make someone’s day. Forgive those who have done you wrong, and make peace with the past. Talk to the person or write a letter that describes how you feel; often just writing the letter without sending it is enough to let it all go. You will feel a sense of peace and closure. Release the negative people in your life who are downers and surround yourself by those who support you and motivate you to be your best self!
- Be a Yes for You – Too often I hear clients say that they just don’t have time for themselves, yet they manage to do things for everyone else in their lives. It’s OK to say no to others when they ask you to do something. It’s OK to place your needs first. Be a YES for you in 2018 and carve out time for you every single day, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Do something relaxing and fun! You are not selfish for doing so, and absolutely deserve it.
- Start and finish the day with gratitude – When you wake up in the morning, acknowledge everything you are grateful for in life. List the items out loud or write them down. Count your blessings when you go to sleep and appreciate all of the good things that happened that day. You will start to focus on the positive rather than the negative.
- Set Intentions - Intentions help you achieve your goals and provide a roadmap to your desired destination. Set intentions for yourself each day such as: “I intend to slow down and find the beauty in everything,” “I intend to be selective with my time,” “I intend to try something new,” or “I intend to stop before responding to someone right away and acknowledge both sides of the situation.” Intentions will motivate you, provide a focus, and set you on a path to work towards your goals.
- Listen to your body– Last, but certainly not least, always listen to your body. If it needs rest, then make sure to get sleep and slow down. If your body is aching, do stretches. If your stomach hurts, pay attention to the foods you are eating, how you are eating, where you are eating, and incorporate stress releasing activities such as yoga and deep breathing. Your body knows what it craves and is your best healer.
Make 2018 the year to nourish your body, mind, and spirit. We can work together to create the life you love!