I Resolved to Be Healthier and Happier in 2018, and I'm Still Going Strong — Here's How
I remember exactly how driven I was to invest in myself heading into the New Year. It wasn't that I was exceptionally lost, rather I simply hadn't been focusing enough on the things that would improve my well-being from the inside out. I was working too much, eating in ways that didn't fuel my body, and neglecting to nourish my soul, and I had fallen out of my once-religious cycle of working out consistently.
It was a culmination of acknowledging all these things that truly motivated me. And while I find the tradition of New Year's resolutions a little silly (you can make a change anytime), I did use the year shift as my turning point. Here's how I reshaped my life in just 12 months.
I Set Realistic Goals
My goal was an encompassing one: to feel more in love with myself through eating more mindfully, stepping outside of my fitness comfort zone, and taking more time to broaden my intellect. They say that there are a few ways to improve your chances of reaching any goal; that includes writing them down and being specific with what you want to accomplish. I defaulted to the famous "S.M.A.R.T. goal" rules, which stands for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.
With that in mind, I bought myself a new bullet journal — my first ever — and spent countless hours crafting beautiful pages. There are many pages dedicated to simply documenting my life, but also a handful of goal-oriented pages that helped me stay on track.
I Eliminated the Things That Were Slowing Me Down
I began the year on Whole30 to explore my habits and potential food intolerances. I discovered that too much sugar and dairy will break me out and that soy upsets my stomach. I also learned that alcohol was a weird, unnecessary crutch for me, and I kicked my "beer nightly" routine pretty fast. I tend to do well with structured routines and goals, and since Whole30 already outlined all the rules and was over in just a month, it made diving into a healthier New Year pretty easy.
Then I Got Moving
I was determined to be more active and wrote out specific goals that would help me with that. I checked off two of those pretty easily: I purchased a bicycle — something I'd been meaning to do for years — for leisurely rides through the neighborhood. And I took more walks in the evening.
Additionally, I invested in a subscription to ClassPass beginning in April, which allowed me to easily explore new classes. I'm proud to say that I've taken nearly 80 classes since then. For those doing the math, that's an average of three to four classes per week, and, yes, I feel amazing. My favorite classes are Pure Barre and an all-women's boxing class called Jabz. This was a change from my usual "at home" workout sessions, and I think I benefited greatly from the community aspect of both classes.
Given that, I also pulled the trigger more quickly on local and national events and opportunities that infused exercise into my routine. This made exercise and health something to really look forward to. I signed up for a local yoga class in an abandoned church, attended West Palm Beach's District Fit event where I took and fell in love with my first barre class, stayed at Golden Door where I took 10 fitness classes in four days, and married the experience of a music festival and exercise at W Hotel Hollywood's Wake Up Call Festival. (Shadow-boxing on a roof at 8 a.m.? So rad.)
I Celebrated My Success
This past year has been my most internally and externally fruitful yet. I've purchased and read more books than I did the year before, I've been listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, and I've truly re-evaluated my relationship with food and exercise. I knew that making changes would be beneficial, but I didn't realize just how much simple changes would impact me.
For me, the focus on investing in myself — both internally and externally — really helped push me forward this year. Nothing felt like a chore, like I "had to lose" a certain number of pounds (for the record, I haven't weighed myself in eight months) or that I "had" to go to the gym, eat a certain thing, or read a particular type of book. The flexibility and kindness I allowed myself, paired with writing out my goals, helped me have one of my best years yet. With this momentum, next year is looking pretty great, too.