Whether 2014 was your favorite year so far or one that you are beyond ready to put behind you, seeking growth is one way to set 2015 up to be your best year yet. While you don’t have to do a total and complete life overhaul, here are some areas of focus that might help inspire you to make some changes in the new year.
Get up and go! You already knew exercise was making this list. Don’t make goals that are extreme unless you make mini goals to get you there – otherwise it’s more likely to not succeed. Exercising doesn’t have to mean going from a total couch potato to a world class marathoner (unless that’s what you want to do). It could be as simple as walking more each day by parking in the back of the lot or getting off the subway a stop early. Start exploring different classes – there are so many out there especially if you live in a big city. Try a variety until you find what you love. It might also help to find a workout buddy or an accountability partner to keep yourself (and her/him) on track.
Give yourself a reality check about where (and on whom) you are spending your energy. Look inside yourself, like really excavate. How are you spending your time? Who are your spending your energy on? Are the people in your life – friends, lovers, family, coworkers, etc – putting as much effort and energy into us as we are them? Do any of the relationships in your life make you feel worse than they make you feel better? No relationship is ever 50-50 but they shouldn’t be constantly and consistently out of balance. It may seem extremely hard at first but make this the year that you release yourself from the shackles of relationships that don’t serve you or fulfill you any longer or at the very least, stop spending so much energy on them.
Get comfortable honoring yourself first. This is a huge one. As women and Latinas, most of us have grown into nurturing people who tend to look after the needs of everyone else before we consider our own. It’s not the caretaking we need to stop, it’s the self-neglect. It’s ok to say NO if we don’t want to go somewhere or do something. Getting comfortable with that no gives more power to our YES. Start carving “me-time” into your week even if it just means savoring a glass of red or a bath. You will find yourself recharged and less stressed even if it is weird to do at first.
Hydrate. Let me say that one more time. HYDRATE! So maybe this isn’t new advice but it certainly is a small step that each of us can take to be healthier immediately. Better yet – it’s one that makes us feel (and look) better quickly! Now keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to guzzle straight water every day. Adding produce with high water content; drinking more milk, tea or coffee; and adding lemon, cucumber or mint to water are all ways to hydrate more especially if you don’t like plain water.
Practice active gratitude every single day. The fastest way to feel good (and spread that positive feeling)? Start making it a priority to thank people in your life and express your appreciation for those that matter to you. As you seek gratitude, it will force you to consciously become aware of all the goodness in your life, big and small.
Recognize your body’s need for a solid snooze. According to the Center for Disease Control, the average human adult needs 7-8 hours per night. Furthermore, adults who consistently get less than 5 and/or more than 10 have shorter lifespans. Making sure you get in that 7-8 hour sweet spot, despite lengthy to-do lists, is a way to maintain your health AND stay focused – thus making you more effective each day.
Give yourself a break on making your diet absolutely and perfectly clean. Guess what. None of us – not even pro athletes or models – are perfect all the time. What the rest of us should be working on is finding ways to fit in more produce, be conscious of portion sizes and using moderation. Really start slowing down and listening to your body. When your body starts to feel satiated, stop eating. Learn what actual portion sizes are – this is a huge one, no pun intended. Most of us grossly overeat. At the same time, don’t deprive yourself. Craving something sweet? Indulge in a small yummy treat to prevent binging later. You shouldn’t have to feel like you are missing out.
Give yourself permission to play. Between jobs, caretaking, obligations and a seemingly endless to-do list, finding time for yourself to indulge in a hobby can seem like a luxury. Most of us feel timestrapped as it is! Stop being so serious all the time. You know that old adage “laughter is the best medicine”? Well, there’s something to it! Laughter relieves anxiety and stress and elevates mood. It also makes you a much more fun person to be around.
Be a woman’s woman! Final and most important is to make it a point to support and uplift other women. Let’s work to stop the stereotype that women hate each other. Seek to mentor younger women at the office. Build a network of female friends that account for each other’s emotional and spiritual needs. Make genuine connections and be the example. Together, we are absolutely unstoppable.
What you plan to change or how you plan to grow in 2015 is totally up to you. What are you going to do differently this year?