We’ve all had times in our life when we’ve been at our healthiest and most in shape. But whether that was a few weeks back (pre-holidays), or it was a few years ago, these simple strategies will help you move closer to your ultimate wellness goals.
But first. When you set a goal or intention for the New Year, the first thing you want to do is ask yourself if the goal is achievable and measurable. Visioning out where you want to be, and knowing the reason WHY (watch this video) behind your goal is helpful to ground us back to our efforts during the trying times, too. Further, don’t forget that creating new habits is work! In essence you’re creating new neural pathways that aren’t naturally there already – which means that it’ll be hard. There will be times you’ll want to give up and throw in the towel. Sticking it out for 21 days is a great place to focus your efforts and once you get there it’s likely the new habits will feel so good you won’t want to stop!
The first step to transitioning to your best, most fit self is mastering a mindset. No matter where you are on your health and fitness journey, you need to know that you are already enough as you are. You have all of the tools and strength to make dramatic, lasting and impactful change to your body and your life, but we can’t forget that you’ll never be able to reach your goals if what’s between your ears isn’t fit too. Making lifestyle changes isn’t the same as a quick fix plan, so follow these tips and expect ups and downs, because: life.
Whether you’re a pro at supplementation or just a beginner, there is always something to learn, or something to be added to your current regime that’ll provide additional health and wellness benefits. Either way, ensuring you’ve got your bases covered will be slightly different for each person, but most people could benefit by ensuring you’re taking the following on a regular basis: Vitamin D (ensures healthy mood, bones, gut health and immunity), Omega 3 (supports reduced inflammation and improves recovery), Probiotics (supports a healthy microbiome leading to better digestion, mood, weight loss, immunity, skin health and lower inflammation), protein powder (rebuilds muscle tissue and increases metabolism) and a Greens powder (an antioxidant “boost” for the days you can’t get enough leafy greens in!).
Also, newbie or not, it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed with a new supplement regime, or to simply forget to take them when things get busy. This is why it’s so important to not only create a habit by continually repeating the behaviour of supplementing, but to also tie taking your supplements to an activity you do every day. For example, by leaving your supplements beside your toothbrush, on your night table or in the fridge beside your lunch bag you’ll be more likely to take them regularly. Setting a reminder on your phone or in your calendar, or including the supplements in a pill box (like the one your grandma uses) to throw it into your bag are other ways to ensure compliance here.
Scheduling when and where you’ll workout may not feel like a very important step, but it plays a huge role in forcing you to make a conscious commitment about how you intend to spend your time. Everytime you book a workout in advance you’re being mindful about valuing yourself and your health, moving closer towards your fitness goal. This tactic tends tends to work even better if you’ve got an accountability partner like a workout buddy or personal trainer, or if you’re required to book into a system that penalizes no-shows. When it comes down to it, don’t overcommit yourself. But, in the end, be true to your word and don’t miss a workout if you say you’ll be there. Another tip: don’t forget to schedule in your recovery days, which for most of us is every other day.
Part of reaching your fitness goals means you need to know exactly where you’re headed and, where you are in relation to the goal at all times. Whether monitoring your health goals the old fashioned way via pen and paper or an app such as MyFitnessPal it’s important to keep track. It’s also key here to point out how effective it can be to celebrate the small wins on your health and fitness journey. This might look like daily food choices, number of reps or a new personal best. The point is that when you acknowledging the changes you’re positively reinforcing the actions you’re taking towards your goal. Also, if you ‘fall off the wagon’ so to speak, starting small and reviewing your previous progress is often the key to getting back on track. Last, don’t forget your health journey should be fun, and full of learning and discovery. If the constant monitoring is becoming counter productive or obsessive, lighten things up, reframe and bring the focus back to health and feeling good!
If you haven’t already jumped on the meal prep train yet you’ll be amazed at how this no-brainer habit can skyrocket your health and fitness gains (not to mention save you $, time, waste and stressing about how to eat healthy). If you’re new, it may seem like a daunting task, but once you get the hang of the steps below it’ll become second nature: 1. Decide on your meals for the upcoming week (feel free to keep them similar week to week) 2. Make a grocery list and shop for ingredients 3. Prepare ingredients for (some or all) the meals for the week. Usually it’s best to plan your weekly meals on a Thursday or Friday so you have the weekend for shopping and prep. Systematizing one weekly grocery store trip and 1-2 meal planning sessions of ‘batch cooking’ will be sure to save you time in the end. Also, it’s worth noting that a huge predictor of success with healthy eating is preparation.
For most of us it doesn’t seem as normal to put as much effort into our mental health as it does to our physical health, yet there is no question that it’s equally as important and deserving of the same conditioning and dedication. This is especially true if you find yourself battling anxiety or depression and its impacting your ability to function optimally. Thankfully, exercise can boost endorphins and multiple studies have found that exercise can be just as effective, if not more so, than antidepressant medications. Meditation using a guided video or an app like headspace is another tool that can be used to condition and strengthen the frontal lobe of the brain, the area responsible for helping to control negative impulses. Ensuring you’re getting enough sleep, doing activities that light you up, tying in mindful eating practices, eating nutritiously, supplementing with things like Omega 3 & Vitamin D, and gratitude journaling are all ways you can choose to focus on your mental fitness this year.
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