Saturday, December 27, 2014

Be the Best Version of You in 2015


There is something about starting a new year that is so exciting. For many of us it's a chance to start fresh or get back on track. While you can really do that at any point in the year, the date of January 1st gives you a definitive time to start working towards your goals, dreams, and ambitions. Have you been pondering what you want your 2015 to look like? I have. And for me there are some key themes that are essential to being the best version of myself in the new year.  

Choosing Happiness

I don't know about you but I find it pretty easy to blame a lack of happiness on external circumstances. Bad traffic, loud obnoxious people in the office, know-it-alls, negative Nancys, reading/watching the news-- these are all things I find that put me in a bad mood. But are these things really truly to blame for my moodiness? When I take the time to actually think it, and be honest with myself, I would have to say the answer is no. I am to blame. You're probably thinking that's a really odd thing to say. But the truth is, every single one of us has a choice: 1) choose to be happy or 2) choose to let external circumstances get to us. This year I will choose happiness. A negative moody attitude will not make any of those situations disappear, but it will succeed in making you miserable. The next time you're dealing with a situation that makes you unhappy, I challenge you to make a conscious decision to keep your attitude positive and choose happiness.

Health and Fitness

The month of January is notorious for a spike in gym attendance. Everyone wants to start the new year off right; but unfortunately many of those motivated individuals don't stay motivated long. Life gets in the way and the excuses begin. Every year for me is about a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. My goals will vary from year to year, but the central theme remains-- health and fitness are a priority. I notice a major difference in my body and overall well-being when I'm active versus when I'm not. I don't want to feel tired and sluggish. I want to feel refreshed, energized, and able to say yes to a random 16-mile run. This year don't make your gym membership about the number on the scale, make it about a commitment to a lifetime of being healthy. 

Sustainability

How often do we take the time to consider whether our lifestyles are sustainable? Sure, many of us will take reusable bags to the grocery store if it's convenient; but what other aspects of our lives are lacking in the area of sustainability? We only have one earth and the way we treat our planet probably is not sustainable in the long run. Now, I'm not saying that you need to jump feet first into the "being green" community, but I am challenging you to consider ways to be kinder to our planet. Maybe it's feasible for you to bike to work once a week. Or instead of throwing out your food waste, consider starting a compost bin or investing in chickens to eliminate waste. I'm super excited to continue biking to work this year (when it's warmer than 45 deg!), expanding the garden, composting, chicken keeping; and overall, trying to reduce my footprint on the earth.

Nutrition

Nutrition is such a hot topic. Do you subscribe to paleo, gluten free, low carb, shakeology, or some other diet that promises you a thinner waistband? So many people are looking for a quick fix. They want to lose weight, so they grab the fat free whatever not realizing that the fat free item probably contains way more sugar than you would care to know about. Marketers know our weaknesses and uses it to their advantage. While there may be specific health reasons to follow one type of diet over another-- for most of the general population a diet rich in quality fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, good fats, and plenty of water is all you need. Portion control and not depriving yourself is key in having a healthy mental relationship with food. This year I plan to make mindful food choices. I want fruits and vegetables to be the focus, and everything else to be the side items. I challenge you this year to spend time understanding your current relationship with food, and to think of food as a means to fuel your body. Fast food and sugar filled items may give short term gratification, but in the long run you're not providing your body with the nutrients it needs to make you feel your best.

Simple Living

In our fast paced social media driven society it's so easy to get caught up in materialism. Wanting the bigger house, fancy car, designer clothes; and overall, trying to one-up our peers. Frankly, that can be exhausting. There is so much more joy in living simply-- ridding yourself of excess things that you don't need, DIY when it's feasible, and being content living within your means. You don't need top-of-the-line everything to be happy. This year I want to make mindful purchases-- Is this something I need? Will this item makes me happy? What am I willing to give up to own this item? Can I make this item myself? Next time you're wandering the isles of Target or browsing online, I challenge you to ask yourself these questions before you purchase something that you don't truly need.  


What key themes are you planning for 2015 to be the best version of yourself? I'd love to hear about your goals and dreams for the upcoming year!

♥AK