Each year, we make the same promises to ourselves. This is the year that you’ll get healthy, eat right, get fit, get more sleep and take care of yourself.
We dive in, all eager, earnest and well-intended and somehow, each and every time, our enthusiasm wanes. Life gets in the way of our precious self-care.
So how do we make changes that stick? Is it all or nothing? Not at all. Teeny tiny changes, small steps will get you where you want to be. It won’t be as dramatic as the “all in” method but who cares about drama? I want to see you get results that leave you glowing with health and vitality.
Here’s some very sound advice that I received many years ago when I faced what seemed the an abyss of drastic change:
Keep It Simple and Easy.
There’s no need to clean out your cabinets; ditch all the foods you love and dive in head first. It will feel more like a belly-flop from a high dive than a graceful immersion into this new pool.
I want your experience with healthy living to be easy, simple, warm, inviting and yummy. Of course, you must make changes; you can’t have change without well…change. And change is sometimes not all that comfy, but change we must if we are to glow with vitality.
Be tender with yourself but challenging at the same time.
Get rid of one ingredient that you know robs your health each and every week and replace that with a healthy option. Is sugar your downfall? Get rid of white sugar and substitute brown rice syrup or coconut sugar in its place. Does cheese make you lose all reason? Try using miso in recipes or tofu to create that amazingly satisfying flavor. You can also try some of the vegan cheese subs out there, but read the labels…you could be stepping on landmine of ingredients you don’t want or adding tons of calories from fatty nuts.
You see where this is going. By swapping ingredients, you will gradually change your pantry…and your eating…and all the while, your tastebuds change with you, making the transition to healthy eating delicious and painless.
Exercise Like Your Life Depends On It…
…because it does. But relax. I can hear you hyperventilating already. I’m not talking about sauntering into your nearest CrossFit gym and taking on the toughest workout you can find. I am talking about making physical activity as important in your day as brushing your teeth.
If you love the gym…or running, biking or some other intensive activity, then this advice isn’t for you. Keep doing what you’re doing…or switch up to another physical challenge. But if you’re not doing something physical…every…single…day…then you need to figure out what will motivate you to get moving. For me, it’s group fitness classes like boot camp. I love the camaraderie, the fun competitive nature of group fitness. My husband is a lone wolf, preferring to run or do an hour on his own at the gym. Some people love yoga and Pilates; others want to sweat up a storm as they lift and strain. Whatever floats your boat floats mine.
Making time for short bursts of activity will rock your world. Take a 10-minute walk at lunch or in between meetings. Instead of meeting over coffee or lunch with a colleague, meet for a walk. For each and every hour you remain tethered to your devices, take a respite and do something physical…do squats for 1 minute; a few pushups or walk up and down some stairs…just move a bit.
Studies show that even 10 minutes a day can vault your endurance and fitness to new heights. Imagine that…a few short minutes now can result in you walking into the gym with confidence and strength.
So hit the bricks, as the saying goes. Who knows where that little walk will lead?
Eat well and get moving…it was the best advice I ever got. I hope it serves you, too.