January Focus: Health & Wellness

This year, I’m shaking up my traditional “New Year’s Resolutions.” As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be choosing a different aspect of my life to focus on for each month of 2019. I tend to have an “instant gratification,” “all or nothing,” “if I fail once, what’s the use in trying?” attitude when it comes to these types of things, and so I’m hoping that implementing some structure in my goals will set me up for success. I can do anything for 30 days, right? And ideally, having a small area of focus each month will enable me to build healthy habits that will build on each other throughout the year.

Like many people, one of my main goals in the new year is to be healthier. It’s cliche, but it’s true.

Last year, I started off 2018 with a 28 day fitness program coupled with a not-quite-Paleo nutrition plan and loved it. For the first time in my life, I found an exercise routine I actually enjoyed (at least, a little bit), and I completely changed the way I thought about cooking. I kept it up long after the program ended, and dropped nearly 15 pounds! Unfortunately, my momentum skidded to a halt when I graduated from my Master’s program, moved to a new state, and started a new, stressful job. I’ve been wanting to restart those healthy habits for a while now, but haven’t quite found the motivation I needed. Until now.

For the month of January, it is my goal to:

  • Eat Clean: No gluten, dairy, added sugar, processed foods or alcohol. Having rules to guide my eating really helps me to be more mindful of what I’m putting into my body. This isn’t a permanent change (let’s face it– I love pasta and ice cream too much!), but a temporary one to help remind me that eating whole, nutritious ingredients can be equally (if not more) delicious.
  • Exercise 30 minutes, 6 days a week: I’m generally pretty lazy. I hate running, and unless I set strict expectations for myself, I generally avoid all other forms of exercise too. I want to remind myself that I don’t have to make long, extended trips to the gym to see results. Exercising for short periods of time (almost) every day will help me to make it part of my regular routine.
  • Drink 80 oz water a day: I have a terrible habit of not drinking. Anything. All day. I don’t even notice it until I’m hit with a terrible migraine that lasts for hours. In addition to all the other benefits, increasing my water consumption will also help to prevent me from mindlessly snacking.
  • Go to bed by 10:30 each night: Not going to lie, this is probably going to be the most difficult one for me. I tell myself I’m a night owl, but if my constant exhaustion is any indication, I’m just not getting the sleep I need. Additionally, in order to make time for my workouts, I’ll likely need to wake up and do them before work. So, early bedtime it is.
  • Finally, meditate 10 minutes a day: Because health isn’t just about your physical wellbeing. Meditation is another practice that I started (and fell out of habit) last year, and I found that it helped me navigate my day to day stressors in a healthier manner.

These were the same goals that I set for myself at the beginning of 2018. And while I didn’t keep them up for all 365 days, they were a perfect way to hit the “reset button” for the new year.

I’ll be sure to check in throughout the month, and write reflections on how things are going. Until then, I’d love to hear about what you’re doing in the new year to get into a healthy, balance mindset!