It’s a new year and a fresh start to designing new wellness intentions and fitness goals. I don't love the word "resolution"; to me that represents a solution to a problem. We are not problems! I prefer setting intentions-- a positive call to shift, backed by my actions.
It’s not really about being at a specific weight by a certain date, or being able to do a specific yoga posture, rather focus on the actions you can take to work towards a goal or certain idea. Achieving your goals will always take awareness, self-discipline and consistency.
And remember, your goals can change and shift, perhaps evolve as you're on your journey, and I strongly encourage you to focus on the journey rather than the destination. Mindfulness, being aware of the consequences of actions, is a key piece of sticking to any goal.
Here are a few of my personal ideas and advice that can help!
1. Be Realistic
The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable. For instance, saying that you will NEVER eat your favorite food or at your favorite restaurant again is setting yourself up to fail. Instead, strive for a goal that is attainable, such as preparing 2-3 healthy home-cooked meals per week. Then treating yourself with your favorite indulgence (every couple weeks, or at the end of the month) if you make those healthy meals consistently.
Outline a plan. If you've set a year-long goal, write down and give yourself "by when’s" that you should be completing on a weekly/monthly basis. Start with small steps-- giving yourself a tremendous task will leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Schedule out, sign up and mark on your calendar the fitness classes you want to take, or when you will hit the gym. Create a routine. Pick out new healthy recipes to try, write out a grocery list. Meal prep at the beginning of the week, so you have healthy things all ready to put together a salad, or individual baggies of frozen fruits and veggies to toss in for your morning smoothie.
3. Share your Goals & Involve a Buddy
There's a power that occurs when you writes things down, and especially when you say things aloud. You're really putting your intentions out into the universe rather than having them float around in your mind, eventually landing on the back burner. When you share your goals with a friend or mentor, someone you trust and admire, they will help keep you accountable and support you. Who knows-- you'll also inspire them to set their own goals, share their ideas, and join you!
4. Make a Vision Board & Post your Goals
It’s creating a visual representation of what you envision for your life. It allows you to define and clarify your aspirations, reinforce them and keep your intentions focused. You can put anything on the board: where you want to travel, your career path, the type of home or car you want, do you want children, a family… Whatever you want in this year; this lifetime. Once you create yours, display it somewhere to look at on a daily basis to keep you inspired and motivated. This is super fun to do with friends, too!
5. Try Something New
Maybe you already have a good workout routine and healthy eating habits. Your body (and mind) can plateau if you're doing the same thing for too long. Be re-inspired and do things less out of habit, and live with more intention and variety.
Maybe you tried running or yoga or spin classes in the past, and it wasn't for you; well, give it another chance! Hopefully you're a different person than you were back then, so you may like it differently. Check out a different teacher at your yoga studio, or attend a group class at your gym if you're used to working out on your own in the weight room.
Make different dishes to eat, incorporate new ingredients or order something (healthy and) different from your favorite restaurant. It’s important to try new things and keep ourselves open-minded.
6. Create a Personal Ritual
In yoga, we call this "sadhana" which is simply a daily practice designed to turn inward. It can be a morning or evening meditation or home yoga practice. It can be self-massage or a night time routine.
As a business owner and mom of a toddler, it’s hard to find time for myself unless I create it. Currently, I give myself about 30-45 minutes alone in the bathroom before bed to wash my face-- but I've made it into a ritual of self-care incorporating a foot soak and foot massage and a rather extensive regimen of face cleanser, creams, massage and face stretches.
Maybe it starts as a weekly ritual of meal prep- washing and cutting veggies and fruits-- make it meditative. You can even make washing the dishes a meditative and intentional ritual. You will notice that when you are truly mindful and present to a specific activity, that you are training yourself to be more mindful and present all the time-- and that will create a major boost in your well-being.
Set aside some time for yourself daily or weekly where you completely unplug and do something for yourself. Be consistent.
7. Don't Beat Yourself Up, You Deserve Rewards
Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. It won’t happen overnight, so be persistent and patient!
Obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time. Celebrate your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your goal. If you have been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, reward yourself with new fitness clothing or by going to a movie with a friend.
Don’t fall off the band wagon when you travel – find a way to incorporate fitness into your vacation/business trips and look for resorts and hotels with a fitness calendar, such as rooftop yoga at The Embassy Row Hotel, Washington DC.
Emma is one of our Rooftop Yoga instructors. Our partner, Epic Yoga DC, is one of D.C.’s favorite yoga studios. Be on the lookout for the start of rooftop season and Rooftop Yoga.