1. Stand more
Too much sitting is not a friend to your posture, health or fitness goals. Remind yourself to take a posture break from your desk, chair or screen. Move about, stretch a bit and release physical tension. Fit more movement in all day longusing the 50/10 rule. Set your time on the hour every hour for 50 minutes and at the mark, get up and move around for 10 minutes. Here is a posture-healing move from industry expert Jill Miller:
This dynamic shoulder move un-stiffens your shoulders after long periods of non-movement.
• Hold a strap, belt or towel between your hands approximately 2 feet apart wide.
• Keep your right hand raised.
• Twist the left shoulder to reach it back behind you while still maintainingtension on the strap. Then switch the arms so that the entire shoulder joint is rolled through its entire range of motion. Do 10 complete rounds.
• Do not allow the elbows to bend.
• You will need to raise and lower the shoulder blades in order to allow the shoulder bones to fully rotate in their sockets.
• Separate your hands further apart on the strap.
• Attempt to pull the strap apart while moving the shoulders, acting as though the strap were elastic. 5. Targets?
• Rotator Cuff Muscles, deltoids, pectoralis, biceps, triceps, lattisimus and trapezius.
2. Believe you can achieve your goals
Seeing yourself achieve goals daily and reflecting on your victories buildstangible momentum. Reflect each night. What activity or habit all day long wouldcontribute the most value to your health and fitness? What would it be? Ask this question three times and this is your HOT 3 activities to prioritize for the next day.
3. Detox your thoughts
Active meditation is a great first step. The next time you are at the gym, find astretch mat or a studio and have a comfortable seat. Gently close your eyes and allow your mind to take in all the commotion and energy around you. Notice your breath, your muscle tension and your thoughts. Then work backwards and focus on the sounds around you until the only sound you are noticing is the sound of your breath. Stay with it for a while and then slowly draw your attention back out to absorb the sounds around you again. Practice every week.
4. Get curious about change
Getting curious about what is at the core of your experience is key to changing your habits. Download an anatomy app on your phone or computer or pick up The Anatomy Coloring Book and begin to finally understand your personal anatomy and physiology.
5. Stretch time
To make the most of life, we need to redefine our relationship with time. By taking time to be present and experience the moment, the day and everything around us, brings perspective and a new approach to time management as life management. Get creative with your procrastination. Make time for the things that matter most by pushing off the things that matter least. Write out seven low value activities that you can eliminate, delegate or outsource from your day.
6. Disconnect to reconnect
Once upon a time, before technology ruled our lives, we catered to the rhythms of the day: nature, people and our bodies. This is the year that we must build in our down-regulation time and set aside the critical movements to disconnect ourselves from distractions that ultimately decay our ability to connect on a deeper level. Eat with company — and do your best to give up digital while you eat. Avoid eating at your desk and instead enjoy meaningful conversations over meals.
7. Sleep your way
Research shows sleep is key for improved performance in every area of our lives. We cannot catch up on sleep. It’s a myth. Our bodies thrive on regular sleep hygiene. Start by setting your bedtime and wake up time for each night and morning and stick to it for 2 weeks, including weekends. You can stay in bed if you want, but get up and stretch and then sit in bed and read if you like. Be realistic and choose a dose you can commit to and that heals our body — with a suggested minimum of 7.5 hours.
8. Breathe on
A lack of conscious breathing leads to impeded function, less energy and an assortment of health challenges. Taking time to access breath and retraining it for healthy patterns that support performance is a simple habit that has profound effect on our mood, energy and performance. Begin by watching your breath during particular moments in your day, while cooking, or exercising or walking your dog. Try the 4 square breath as a tool to tune your physiology. Breathe in for a slow count of 4, gently hold the breath for a count of 4, exhale
slowly for a count of 4 and gently suppress the breath for a count of 4. Repeat the cycle for 4 rounds and build up from there.
9. Play it forward
Just like a healthy diet, we need variety in our day and this requires that we set aside time to play; to mix it up for our mind, body and soul. Book breaks throughout the day to chill and plan your regular time to down-regulate, whether that’s relaxation or hiking, a movie or a night out dancing. Fill up your own bucket every week… meaning fill up your day, week and year with things that make you come alive again if you do them regularly.
10. Light up your life
Vitamin D is a critical factor to our total vitality. Spending time in nature is one of the most effective ways to increase our dosage and improve our outlook. Make a point to connect with nature everyday — for coffee, a walk or even just gazing at the sky or trees or even a flowerbed for three minutes. Nature is a natural healer and resets our biological rhythms — it evokes peace as well as bringing playfulness back into our lives.
11. Food matters
We are blessed to have the ability to purchase an incredible array of dining options to feed our body. But much of the food on the market today is actually not food, but a cocktail of chemicals mixed for tasty and excessive consumption. It’s not news, it’s not exciting or sexy, but it’s what matters. Eat whole foods. Avoid the aisles of processed foods in the store and instead experiment with seasonal varieties of fruits and vegetables, nuts and butters for snacking satisfaction.
12. You’re too sweet
There is excessive sugar everywhere. Medical, nutritional and health professionals agree that our bodies cannot properly use and metabolize all of the sugar, especially sucrose. Become a sugar sleuth and find the hidden sugars in food, then passionately avoid processed sugar except on very special occasions. Over time taste buds adapt and we begin to taste the natural sweetness and savory satisfaction in healthy foods.
13. You are the flow
Access to quality water is a driving force of nature and human health — one cannot really live without it. More water is better. Drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces each day. Get a reusable glass bottle and refill with fresh filtered water through out the day. To make it easy, drink two glasses in the AM before rising and then rehydrate on the hour throughout the day. Avoid drinking water at meals and instead drink a glass 20 minutes before dining.
14. Take-in food
Mixing up your macronutrients (carbs, protein and fats) to match the demands on your body is critical. Mix it up. Practice rotating your foods and expanding the possibilities for flavor in your life and a variety of minerals and vitamins and micronutrients for your body. Try to avoid eating the same foods every day, and
take a 4 day break from foods on a regular basis. For example, cook a chicken, use it for leftovers for a few meals and then take a break for 4 days before having chicken again. Or if you tend to consume tons of wheat, cycle it in and out of your diet regularly.
15. The miracle of you
As humans we are unique in almost every way in our physiology — from our blood profile to our fingerprints, organ size and shape and especially our digestion and metabolism. As such, it’s unreasonable to think that one diet (nor any exercise prescription) fits all. One diet simply does not fit all. Eating is a grand experiment and we can rely on professional guidelines to steer our way,however the best diet is the one that serves the current needs of your body. Book a consultation with a health professional to determine a sustainable and sensible plan of action specific for you.
16. Believe in magic
Superfoods empower the systems of our bodies to fully function at their best. While there is no legal or medical definition, superfoods are colloquially defined as nutrient-dense foods high in antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Experiment with superfoods. Add a new one to your weekly diet each month for the rest of the year. There are many to choose from but start from the following list: kale, mangosteens, goji berries, blueberries, cacao powder, coconut oil, chia seeds, seaweed, kefir, hemp seeds, black garlic and nutritional yeast.
17. Every day in every way
Our bodies are meant to move. And often. And while it’s great to show up at the gym as often as possible, what is even more critical is that we take the time to move for at least 30 minutes every day. Block workout time like you do an appointment with the boss — if this is challenging, then a workout buddy, trainer or group workout community is key for accountability.
18. Find a new groove
Our bodies crave variety. It is better for our muscles, our bones, and our brains. In fact, recent findings in neuroscience show us that we can change our brain through neuroplasticity by simply adding a new challenge into our lives. Time to bust out of our safe zones and finally try that yoga class. Or if you typically run three miles on a flat surface, meet with a PT and learn how to run with a Tabata interval instead. Either way, ruts lead to stagnation on every level. Bring your body alive with something new. Group workouts are great ways to add a newness factor into your life. Or practice self mastery and choose one new movement challenge (running or yoga or trapeze) every 30 days.
19. Set an alarm
Being clear about your goals is important, but so is drawing a line in the sand and training your awareness to ring the alarm whenever your choice or circumstance puts your dream at risk. Set a daily alarm. Any time of day will work but it’s especially useful to set it for your most chaotic time of day. When the alarm buzzes, set the time for 60 seconds only and notice your breath, the feelings and sensations in your body and think about your vision for your life. Ask yourself if you are moving closer to this vision or further away from it as a result of the actions of today.
20. Stretch for it
Flexibility and its partner at hand, mobility, are certainly critical survival skills in our lives and even more for our bodies. Give the day a stretch sandwich. Grab a trainer or a yoga teacher and ask for three stretches you can do in the morningupon rising and three before sleep. Short, simple and sweet.
Listen is an anagram of silent. Understand what your body is telling you. It speaks about hunger, thirst, what food to eat, what food to avoid and if you are making a good decision or a bad decision in each moment. Take time to sit still with each choice. When you decide yes to something, notice the feeling in your tension level, breath and do a gut check. Does your body feel lighter with the yes, or does the choice give you anxiety. Begin to take note until you understand the patterns and language of your unique physiology.
22. Grunt for the gold
We are not born strong despite our genetic predisposition. We grow strong as a result of the challenges we overcome. This is true in the gym so our strength matters and requires that we show up consistently and put our bodies through the rhythms of resistance. Plan your strength routine with the long view in mind. Think forward to how you want to use your body and begin to add movements that help you get there into your workouts. At the minimum, master the fundamentals of squatting, pushing, pulling, rotating, bending and gait (walking, jogging, running). Book a free consultation to discover a unique strength plan tied to your goals.
23. Break up with stress
Stress can be positive or negative — as such we need to monitor how much we can handle and whether it’s stress that’s helping us grow or dragging down our potential. Either way, our response to stress is what matters the most. When we feel stress, our body requires an outlet to move the energy. Music is a great channel. Pick a song that you can use and put the music on and take a walk or do some menial task while listening to the song. This will give you the chance to bust through your habitual pattern of responding to the stresses in your life.
24. It’s all movement
We are often uncertain where to begin to impact change. Start with one habit at a time and stick with it, get support and gain momentum towards where you want to go. One thing at a time and stick to it. Being overwhelmed results from focusing on the vastness or immensity of a new challenge and is solved by concentrating on the one thing in front of you right now. To change your life, change your habits and to change your habits, change your actions. To change your actions, change your thoughts. Think right now of 12 new habits that will improve your life. Pick one and begin to implement it until it sticks. Don’t worry if one day it doesn’t, pick it up again the next day and the next until it is yours. Then add the next. And the next.