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Happy New Year!!
2018 has officially begun, and when a new year begins it’s common to set goals and resolutions in order to make the year better than the last. We make promises to be healthier, more organized, more in-the-moment, and have specific goals we set for ourselves. Maybe you want to run a marathon or a 5K. Maybe you want to learn to knit. Maybe you want to build something.
I don’t typically make resolutions anymore, but I always promise to myself to actively make this year better than the last. I make a new year’s goal to make it a Happy Healthy New Year. To continue to pursue health and happiness in everything that I do. To continue to work on being the healthiest me. So I put together some of the tips and tools that have been beneficial to me in achieving having a happy healthy new year.
Reset your system with a Whole 30 or 21DSD
If you are looking to reset and detox your system and identify your food intolerances, a Whole 30 or a 21-Day-Sugar-Detox is a great way to start. You don’t need to start January 1st. If you are looking to start a Whole 30, I suggest you make a plan and keep recipes handy. Make a list of essentials to keep in your pantry and fridge. When I did Whole30, I made a list of several breakfast, lunch and dinner options so it was easy to pick and choose if I was in a rut on what to make. Whole 30 doesn’t have to be difficult, or boring or bland if you make a plan. See my Whole30 recap, and browse through all of my Whole 30 compliant recipes.
Use a planner or a calendar to set goals and keep accountable
It helps if you write your goals down and keep track of them. I have started to really love keeping a Bullet Journal to keep track of everything. I prefer the Leuchtturn journal with the dotted pages. It helps to exercise your creativity as well, and you can use it for meal planning. E-planners are great too, I use Google Calendar a lot for the notifications and reminders of appointments and events.
Drink more Water
Making sure you are hydrated throughout the day really helps with your energy levels and brain fog. It will also help keep you more satiated throughout the day so you don’t feel the need to snack as often. I keep a 40-ounce Hydroflask at my desk and I try to make sure I drink at least two bottles of it during the day.
Take Time to De-stress
Spending a few minutes each day meditating, stretching, practicing deep breathing, or even coloring can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Simple breathing exercises can help lower your heart rate and reduce stress. I like to use an app called Headspace for meditation. I also like to take some time to crochet or color. Journaling can be helpful as well. Other ways to de-stress are essential oils (I like to use a few drops of lavender in a diffuser or in a bath to help relax), listening to music, and exercising–just a 20 minute walk can help reduce stress.
Practice Positive Affirmations
Be kind to yourself and make sure you are practicing self love. Ditch the negative self-talk and don’t degrade yourself. Taking just a couple minutes every day to focus on the positive can help to teach our brains to change our thought process. The key is repetition. Practice an attitude of gratitude and find something positive each day to focus on. I like to keep a section in my bullet journal to write down at least one positive thing each day.
Of course, exercise and activity does wonderful things for both our physical and mental health, and will lead to a longer, healthier life. Just getting in a little more movement each day can help. Maybe you can take a 15 minute walk during your lunch, or take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park your car a little further away to get in extra steps. Just making a commitment to move more often can help make a difference to your heart in the long run. I plan on starting a section of the blog full of workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home, so stay tuned for that!
It can be a great motivator to set goals for yourself and reward yourself for those goals. Maybe you want to run a half-marathon, so you train for it, and when you finish you book yourself a spa-day to celebrate. There are different ways to reward yourself. Did you achieve a milestone? Book a fun trip, or a pedicure, or try out that new fancy restaurant, or buy a new outfit. Set a goal and a reward for when you achieve that goal. If you want something that might motivate you to move more, Achievement is a great app that syncs with other fitness apps, and you can earn points that you can eventually turn in for cash!
Get enough Rest
We all know that sleep is important. It helps with our energy, alertness, immunity and our mental health. I know it’s easier said than done sometimes to get enough sleep, but try to commit to adding in more sleep when you can. Use your planner to plan out your days efficiently so that you can assure that you get the right amount of rest you need.
Instead of Crash Diets, just Eat Cleaner
I hate crash diets and fad diets. A lot of them are very calorie restrictive and not effective long-term. If you are looking to identify your food intolerances or improve your relationship with sugar then Whole30 and 21DSD can definitely be beneficial and effective, and I have done them both with good results. But following a shake-only diet, or a 1000-calorie-or-less diet is not helpful or effective for long-term results. Instead, just try to eat cleaner. Swap the processed foods and sugars for whole, real foods. Switch the candy with fruit. Find ways to replace the SAD diet with a cleaner way of eating. You can follow the principles in my step-by-step paleo guide for adapting to a cleaner way of eating.
Do what’s best for YOU
Don’t feel pressured into doing something that you don’t enjoy to please others. Your health journey is just that, your health journey, not anyone else’s. If you have a bad knee or joint issues, maybe squatting 400 pounds in a crossfit class isn’t the best thing for you. Try something a little more low-impact and try to avoid injury. If your friends are all taking a zumba class but you hate it and would prefer to go bike-riding, then go bike-riding. If you’re unhappy with the way you’re feeling about yourself from weightlifting, maybe try something different like OrangeTheory. If someone thinks your workout is boring but you really enjoy doing it, keep at it! Find what works best for you and don’t keep doing something that you hate or that makes you feel miserable. The point is that you are improving your goals everyday and working to be more active.
Just making a commitment to yourself to actively work on becoming a healthier you is a great way to start the new year. Instead of trying to follow a strict, fad diet or program, just try to eat clean, move more and drink more water. That’s a great way to start. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up, just pick up and start again and be kind to yourself. Find the things that make you happy, be active in pursuing health and happiness. And remember, it doesn’t need to be January 1 to make a goal!
Here’s to a Happy Healthy New Year!