7 Tips to Make 2018 Your Healthiest Year Yet

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New year, new you!  The last few weeks of sugary bliss is through. Mandatory taste testing of your secret baked goods is over.

You didn’t want to giveaway a half-hearted attempt at a cookie for goodness sake. If you've loosen your belt buckle after justifying your New Year's fitness resolution, it's now time to face the music. Can you see the treadmill now, and practically feel the cheese ball induced sweat dripping from your brow?

If you've waited until January 1 to start fresh, now is your time. It's never too late to start.

Momentum is everything. Here are seven unusual tips that have the potential to make 2018 your best year yet. What are you waiting for?

 

1.) Pick one. 

 

It’s time to take a real hard look at your current state of health. Take a self scan. Do you normally have a deep restful sleep and wake up energized? Are there more soda bottles than water bottles in your car floorboard? How are your digestive functions these days?  Do you experience little to no bloating? How are your stress levels? Do you feel in control of your emotions, or like your emotions control you? How are your relationships?

If you’ve been to the doctor lately what was their report regarding your weight, cholesterol and other markers?

Chances are you don’t need a professional to tell you where you need to improve this year whether that be in your physical or emotional well being. Take a few minutes to be honest with yourself. Schedule a check up with your doctor and face the numbers. Numbers don’t lie!

Instead of being overwhelmed by the number of changes you may want to make regarding your health. Just pick one! You heard correctly, one. Then write it down!

 A Harvard Study found:

  • 83% of the population do not have goals.
  • 14% have a plan in mind, but are unwritten goals.

  • 3% have goals written down.

The study found that the 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals.

The 3% with written goals are 3 times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals.

If this is the only tip you takeaway you will already be off to a great start! Pick one goal and write it down where you can see it often

2.) Find a physical activity you actually enjoy.

 

We all know a healthy lifestyle includes physical movement and intentional exercise, especially because we live in an automated microwave society. Most doors don’t even require us to open them these days! Here’s the kicker – when health experts say to exercise more we automatically get a picture of endless hours on a stationary bike or making a fool of ourselves at the free weight station.

Take a deep breath. This is not always the case! Give yourself the freedom to find a recreational activity you actually can enjoy and may even look forward to. The goal is to like it enough you start to make it a priority throughout your weeks.

This list is extensive but here are a few out of the box ideas to try this year:

  • Kickboxing

  • Hiking

  • Geocashing

  • Walking with friends

  • Swimming

  • Start to garden (bonus if you grow your own vegetables!)

  • Try a spin class

  • Purchase a set of resistance bands and pick different workouts you can stream online at home

  • Find some hills or outdoor stairs nearby to add your daily walking routes

  • Stop meeting for coffee and go for a walk

  • Go Dancing

  • Coach your kids sporting activities and practice with them

  • Adult gymnastics

  • Hot Yoga

  • Clean your house

  • Bike to work

  • Join a community recreation team

Do any of these options strike your fancy? If not, the list is literally endless. So start thinking of exercise as “play” instead of punishment. Remember, diet is 80-90% of all weightless efforts anyway. Getting moving more often is just a bonus adding years to your life and life to your years.

3.) Make some new buff friends.

 

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If getting in shape is at all on your mind, you may want to consider making some friends who can pack a punch and pack their own lunch. Believe me, I know it can be intimidating to hang around other people who are better, farther along, or smarter than us in any area of life. We see the gap between our own ability and theirs, and frankly it just feels uncomfortable!

 However, if you are willing to humble yourself, and start seeking these type of people out, I promise their ways will start rubbing off on you. Plus, you may have some valuable pieces of experience they could benefit from too.

 Be on the lookout! Whether you need to make some new buff friends, others who excel in interpersonal relationships or those who have best business practices – make an effort to invite them into your inner circle. Strike up a conversation, start asking questions, and enjoy the process of life long learning. In the meantime, you can join the Fitsterhood! Our private Facebook group of likeminded women! Head on over and click to join before the next tips.

4.) Make it a family affair.

 

According to a study from Common Sense Media, 5 to 8-year-olds who think their moms are unhappy with their bodies are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own. Point in case, our kids, our spouses, or our friends are all affected by the choices we make and the choices we choose not to make. Verbalizing our goals with others may be as important as writing them down for ourselves. It’s easy to fall off the wagon when no one else is watching. When others commit to cheer us on, we will be much more motivated to continue.

 Whether you want to improve your stress level, or drop a few pounds, talk to your family about it. Think of your family is like a built in cheerleading squad. Tell them your one goal to improve your health this year. Communicate the practical action steps you will make towards that goal, and invite them to brainstorm other ways they can help reach your goals. Who knows, maybe this will inspire them to take healthy steps themselves.

 This could include preparing food together, grocery shopping, picking up a new hobbie, or planning a family trip together. You may be surprised to see the support and extra help you could enlist.

5.) Bring a bag lunch.

 

A quick visit to the drive through for a big mac, medium fry, and diet coke will cost you 920 calories and 49 grams of fat! That’s only one meal! Moral of the story is that packing one meal a day before you leave for work (or the night before) could widdle your middle without too much effort.

Even healthier options while dining out including salads can have lots of hidden calories; fat and sugar in salad dressings along with salad toppings like crispy chicken won’t help you reach your fitness goals.

Aim to pack 2-3 servings of protein, 2-3 servings of healthy carbohydrates like fruit, whole grains, or starchy vegetables, and 1-2 servings of healthy fat like raw nuts, guacamole, olive oil salad dressing, or even dark chocolate (try keeping it above 70% cocoa)!

Try tuna or chicken salad on a wrap, a salad bowl, or black bean dip with multigrain tortilla chips. The options are endless. Brown bagging it will not only help you fuel up for work, it can also help you save some money and get leaner at the same time.

6.) Get a breakfast makeover.

 

Do yourself a favor and get a breakfast makeover. If your breakfast currently looks like a cup of coffee, a slice of bread or a pastry and a piece of fruit, you are missing out on a whole lot of energy and setting yourself up for distracting cravings throughout the day.

Forgetting to break your fast in the morning may sound like a sly way to cut some calories, however, you will almost always make up for it and them some later in the day. “Stoking” your metabolism by eating a balanced breakfast, ideally full of fiber and lean protein will reduce cravings throughout the day and keep you focused until lunch. The healthy choice you make in the morning will give you the momentum you need to continue to make good choices throughout your day!

A breakfast ritual of champions…

Start with a big glass of water ideally before you down your morning cup of jo. Have a big handful of berries like raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries all high in fiber to help keep you satisfied longer along with some plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon. A bowl of steel cut oats with walnuts or almonds on top would make a great addition as well.

A good rule of thumb is to include a healthy or minimally processed carbohydrate(steel cut oats, overnight oats, roasted sweet potatoes, fried red potatoes, sprouted whole wheat toast, or fruit) and a lean source of protein (eggs, turkey bacon, chicken sausage, or plain yogurt), with a smaller amount of healthy fat (butter, nuts, avocado, coconut oil).

Are you in a rush most mornings? Try throwing together a breakfast smoothie, making overnight oats in advance, or buying single servings of plain greek yogurt with a piece of fruit and a small bag of almonds to take along!

Create a new morning ritual if breakfast currently is not included in your schedule. Perhaps getting up a little earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee with your wholesome breakfast and completing your daily reading will become your favorite part of the day!

7.) Cut it out.

 

The most unusual, and also the most simple tip for your healthiest 2018 may be in not adding something new, but rather choosing something NOT to do! Our schedules are all busy these days. It can be easy to get trapped in endless to-dos and parenting activities.

We want to make good impressions and we hate missing out! Consider the possibility of your long to do list as the culprit of keeping you from the margin to making the one health change you need to make this year possible. What if 2018 was not only your healthiest year yet – but also the year you had the most time to be the person you wanted to be and spend it with the people you wanted to spend it with

Take the challenge to evaluate your schedule. Is there anything you can stop doing now, delegate to someone else, or choose not to continue?

  • Do you look forward to this activity?
  • Is this activity something that brings you joy or energizes you?

  • Is this an activity or responsibility someone else may enjoy or may fit best with their skill set?

  • Does this activity align with your family values or bring you closer together as a family?

If anything on your schedule does not fit with these guidelines, do everything you can do cut it out. Take a deep breath; think creatively of how you can do less, not more.

Here’s to your best year of health yet!

*I have loved becoming an instructor at Farrell's Extreme BodyShaping, a kickboxing and strength group fitness class program. I've never been stronger or surrounded by such a fitness motivated bunch. Find a location near you and more information on their website.

Train in your lane,

Brooke

Tip 1: Harvard Study http://www.personalplan.com.au/2_PersonalPlan/Goal_setting_Facts/index.html
Tip 3: Jim Rohn Saying http://www.businessinsider.com/jim-rohn-youre-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-spend-the-most-time-with-2012-7
Tip 4: 5-8 year olds body image https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/children-teens-media-and-body-image