January is the time most people start to make resolutions to self improvement. Have you thought about it yet? I thought I’d get you thinking before the ‘big night’ and champagne clouded your judgement 😉
Guess what? Now is NOT the time to do this. While everyone else is making grand promises that won’t last longer than the New Year’s Eve hangover, why not set yourself up for success instead?
Too many people I work with decide that on January 1st they will: quit smoking, go on a diet and start exercising. Wow, a triple whammy. Of course all these things are worthy goals, but this is biting off more than ANYONE can chew.
How about starting off with some small changes that will add up to BIG changes in the long run. It’s amazing how what may seem like an insignificant lifestyle change can make a big difference over time. Promising yourself that you’ll make a small change is doable, it’s not as daunting a task as claiming to make sweeping lifestyle changes all at once.
Make a small change for 21 days and then add another small change. In the course of the year, that means that by the end of 2013, you’ll have opportunity to make 17 changes in your life. That’s one change every three weeks.
Here are 17 possibilities or ways to improve your life in 2013:
1. Drink more water. Try to keep a water bottle close at hand and fill it several times a day. (Read more about water HERE.)
2. Get your rest. Chances are you’re in need of more sleep than you’re getting regularly. Make a promise to have a regular routine and time to hit the sheets.
3. Eat more veggies. Easy enough. Try to add a vegetable (or two) with every meal. (Here’s some dieting tips.)
4. Sweat. Plain and simple. Find something that you enjoy and start to do it 4-5 times a week, 30 minutes is plenty of time. (Try THIS workout.)
5. Take a break from the ordinary. Do something that you find meaningful and satisfying at least once a week, whether this is a hobby, getting out in nature, talking with a friend.
6. Get your heart beating. Moving is great, but you really need to make your heart pound to enjoy the health benefits of exercise. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the way to go. Try this 4 minute ‘tabata’ at home:
Get a timer or use an app on your iPhone to work for 20 seconds and rest for 10.
Do 20 seconds of anything like burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, stationary running, or alternate all of these.
Repeat this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes of heart pounding work.
7. Don’t forget resistance training to maintain and build muscle tone. Include simple bodyweight moves daily such as push ups, bodyweight squats, pull ups. These are simple and will do wonders to build strength and muscle. (Here’s another cool muscle toning workout.)
8. Make a rule not to eat ‘carbs’ after dinner.
9. Cut back alcohol consumption to one day a week and chase every alcoholic drink with an equal amount of water. (Read about alcohol and fat loss HERE.)
10. Don’t drink calories in the form of juices, and pop.
11. Reduce sugar and artificial sweetener intake. ‘Eat sweet – crave sweet’. If you want to get rid of those sugar cravings, the first step is to cut back on how much ‘sweet’ you eat. Natural fruit will taste much sweeter when you’re not accustomed to eating sugar-laden treats. (Read more about sugar HERE and HERE.)
12. Increase the amount of lean protein that you eat. This can be in the form of lean meats, fish, Greek yogurt, protein powder if necessary. Aim to eat 10 g of protein with each meal or snack to help stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings. (Read more about protein HERE.)
13. Take Vitamin D. Any location north of Los Angeles doesn’t get enough vitamin D from natural sunlight.
14. Forget about doing ‘ab’ exercises. There’s no such thing as spot reducing so rely on HIIT (like in the tabata above) to shed those pounds around the middle. (Here’s a good one.)
15. There’s no need to be on the treadmill for hours. Studies show that more intense short workouts are more effective for fat burning and muscle building. Devote to daily workouts that are shorter as opposed to long drawn out workouts. (Try a ‘non-treadmill’ treadmill workout HERE.)
16. Cut out the crabs in your life. When you have negative people around you, it can bring you down. Find a way to minimize contact with them. (Confused about carbs? Read THIS.)
17. Have a positive attitude. Think of what you’re thankful for daily, including those around you and be sure to thank them often. You’ll actually enjoy life more by counting your blessings. The cup should always be half full.
By the way, if you want to GET PAID for being successful at meeting your goals, my friend, Craig Ballantyne has a contest for you to enter (free) and you could win $100 000. I highly recommend you check it out HERE.