Happy New Year my friends! Hope everyone’s 2019 is off to a strong start. I’m normally not one to make a ton of complicated resolutions every new year – in fact, last year my only resolution was to have good times! 2018 was definitely filled with a plethora of those. It was also a steady year of growth and self-discovery. Even though I haven’t penned out any yearly resolutions in recent years, I do have a few things I’d like to focus my energy on in 2019 – making healthy choices, seeing new places, choosing self-love always, starting a new venture, and engaging in self-enriching books & podcasts more often. I’m hesitant to call these my “resolutions” because I feel like this word is just tossed around too often this time of year, to the point that it has lost its meaning. I don’t want these goals of mine to come off as lofty resolutions that either go forgotten or unaccomplished. In fact, I actually got a head start on most of my 2019 goals in the final months of 2018, and wanted to share with you 5 key strategies that have helped me stay on track with them! Hopefully they will motivate you to stick to yours too 🙂
Create a schedule and stick to it.
This isn’t exactly rocket science, but I listened to one of Kayla Itsines’ podcasts a few months ago where she recommends creating a schedule and sticking to it. Kayla is someone I look up to at the moment as I’m focusing more on health & fitness. When you have something actually scheduled into your calendar, you are more likely to stick to it because it’s already there. Think about it – we schedule in our occasional doctor appointments, important meetings, brunch, etc. Then, we make it happen. Why not make this a habit for the other important parts of your day? For most of last year, I had that “wing it” mentality which I had to snap out of to get back on track with my daily routine. Blocking out a chunk of time for the gym in the morning, for example, keeps me organized and motivated to actually get it done. I’ll even lay out all my workout clothes on top of my dresser so I can just get up, know exactly what to wear, and get going! I no longer sit around debating on what to eat for lunch either, because I had already blocked out a chunk of time in my week or day to meal prep and have the food ready to go when lunch time rolls around 😉
Surround yourself around those who lift you up.
If you haven’t cut out the toxic people, thoughts, and things in your life, it’s time to do so now! There’s enough negativity in this world, and it’s important that you are surrounding yourself with people who actually want the best for you, empower you, and enjoy watching you progress and meet your goals. Share your goals with family and friends, and make sure they keep you accountable. I’m lucky to have David around, always encouraging me to go for what I want and to become a better version of myself everyday! Remember that it’s okay to have off days sometimes. We all have them. Having a solid support system really makes the world of a difference when it’s time for you to get up from a fall and continue powering through your goals.
Take baby steps.
Some resolutions may seem far-fetched when you make them, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not accomplishable. Reach for the stars, but take small steps so that you don’t get overwhelmed and eventually feel like quitting. When I started getting back into working out, I knew I also had to make adjustments to my diet to maximize results. Initially, the thought was quite intimidating because getting to the gym consistently was already a lot for me. Tack on cutting out some of my favorite carb-heavy foods and substituting it all with healthy alternatives was just a little much. However, I realized that a lifestyle change like this one is not a race with a finish line. It’s called a “lifestyle” for a reason – it’s a commitment that you work on for life! Regardless of what goal you have in mind, just know that everyone’s pace is different. You really have to stay in tune with your gut and listen to your body. As far as my food choices go, I began making small changes I was comfortable with, slowly but steadily. I made sure not to punish myself for choosing a healthIER alternative, and not the healthIEST, bearing in mind that balance is key. For example, instead of reaching for candy or a tub of ice cream when I feel that sweet tooth kicking in, I make myself a colorful fruit platter to enjoy. Rather than cutting out rice completely, I’ve learned to enjoy brown rice over white. These small but conscious efforts add up everyday. I can feel my body thanking me for trying and doing, and choosing nourishing foods. Now, exercising has become a daily activity that I look forward to, and surprisingly I don’t even crave unhealthy foods like I used to. I actually find it rewarding to cook my own meals and be aware of what I put into them!
Reward yourself for accomplishments – big or small.
Depending on your perspective, we actually have accomplishments everyday worth celebrating. Even getting through a rough day is one! Whether they are big or small, it’s good to celebrate them and reward yourself for doing your best. This is a little personal, but a milestone for ME. For YEARS, I had put off my annual Pap Smear because of the great anxiety I get from just the thought of it. Hearing these two words makes me CRINGE. Long story short, an incompetent nurse attempted to perform a Pap on me years back, when I was probably around 21, and failed miserably. And oh, so painfully. I literally got PTSD from it! The end of 2018 comes and it’s time for my annual physical… the old me would have just skipped it all together and assume that my body is perfectly healthy. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss, right? But something about turning 27 got me prioritizing my health and all that. I vowed to be my body’s best friend, and being a good friend entails making sure that she is healthy and happy. So, I actually made it into the doctor’s office. I chickened out on the Pap because I let fear get the best of me, but the doctor reassured me that everything would be alright and encouraged me to schedule an appointment a couple weeks later. Reluctantly, I scheduled it but was pretty sure I’d cancel later on. On that day, even though I couldn’t muster up the courage to get the Pap, I felt accomplished for taking some steps to making sure my body is healthy and up-to-date on bloodwork at least (which was over 5 years overdue by the way). As the scheduled Pap appointment loomed closer, I debated back and forth on whether I should cancel it. Let me tell you, this was scheduled on December 31. The FINAL day of 2018. I knew I had to do this for myself and for my body, even if it meant dealing with some discomfort for a few minutes. Guess what?! I SURVIVED IT even though I was scared for my life hours leading up to it! Sooooo you guys. I got my first Pap Smear ever at age 27. Some of you might be rolling your eyes or laughing at what seems ridiculous, but this was a big personal accomplishment for me. David and I went out to eat my favorite Korean BBQ afterwards and I treated my body to a long nap afterwards haha! Talk about the best way to conquer my final day of the year.
Don’t strive for perfection.
It’s human nature to want to be the best in everything that you do. I get it. I’m a perfectionist myself. My inner critic crawls out and before I know it, I’ve overlooked all my accomplishments because I’m too busy focusing on what’s not perfect. Not only is this unhealthy because it leads to negativity and stress, it’s also unattainable. Perfection doesn’t exist! With that said, this year, work towards becoming a better version of yourself. As long as you are going forward, that’s all that matters. And sometimes, you might even need to take a detour to reach your goal. Don’t compare your path with someone else’s path, because everyone walks their own. Enjoy life in strides, acknowledge your progress, and conquer one challenge at a time. You’ll get there, baby!
What are some of your resolutions for 2019, and your plans for achieving them?