When it comes to goal setting for 2017, consider me late to the party. In all honesty, I’ve taken the last 3 months to purposefully reflect on what I want these goals of mine to be. Under the umbrella of health, I’ve pinpointed 8 wellness intentions I will strive to incorporate into my lifestyle.
(1) Regimented 6 Day Workout Schedule: I love exercise. I find it incredibly invigorating, even addictive. For me, exercise is more than ‘getting fit’ or ‘losing weight’ – exercise is good for my mental health. After my circuit training class, I feel strong and capable but more than anything, I feel happy. Pre-wedding, I was on a strict schedule which felt easy with an end goal in mind. The last few weeks have been difficult due to many factors (change, weather, mindless eating, etc.) but I strive to get back on track with my 6 day workout regime.
(2) Mix It Up: I mentioned circuit training above, which is the class I do every morning at 6am at Atlas Performance. I joined Atlas about 4 years ago and have absolutely LOVED my time there (sadly, we will be on the hunt for something new very soon…more on this later!). It is a conditioning class – 45 minutes of strength and cardio combined to give the ultimate endurance and fat loss routine. Cardio incorporates running, rowing and spinning followed by low-load strength, plyo and body weight exercises. Workouts change daily, leaving less room for boredom and more room for transformation. From a workout standpoint, my goal is to change things up at least 1x/week, whether it be a dedicated spin class or an evening candlelight yoga session. By mixing it up 1 day a week, both my mind and body will reap the benefits.
(3) Dedicated Rest Day: This intention is simple in theory. Would you believe me if I told you this was difficult for me? I will blame this on a little something I call perfectionism; a struggle I haven’t quite cracked yet. I realize that rest is just as important as working out. Rest allows the muscle, nerves and bones time to rebuild and recover. Over-training leaves me in a constant state of restlessness, negatively affecting my sleep patterns. It’s safe to add here that I also aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night (I have no shame in my 9pm bed time!).
(4) Stretching & Mobility: I have a horrible habit of not stretching after exercise. I am convinced this is why I feel extreme soreness in my muscles the day after. Unfortunately, we spend much of our days limiting our range of motion – sitting in front of a computer, rarely making time to stretch, etc. Implementing mobility training into my routine will improve strength, restore muscle pain and enhance posture.
(5) Daily Meditation Practice: Of all my intentions, I am most excited about this one. I’ll be the first to admit that meditation is tough for me – I fail to turn my brain off. Always thinking, overanalyzing. Think how much we consume on a daily basis – this overconsumption clouds both our vision as well as our reality. I recently downloaded the Headspace app and started the “Take10 For Free” introductory series today. With this series, I will meditate daily for 10 minutes and learn to train my mind for a healthier (and happier!) life. Any scientific approach that works to lessen stress and anxiety and improve sleep, love and cognition is a definite yes.
(6) Drink More Water: I just learned that I should be drinking ounces of water equal to my body weight (in pounds) divided by 3. I’ve determined my goal for daily hydration. We all know water intake helps digestion, inflammation and energy levels but it also helps brighten skin and strengthen hair. Truth be told, my skin has never looked better than right after a brutal 45 minute circuit fit class.
(7) Limit Eating Out: It is only natural to want to experience all the delicious food many renowned Chicago restaurants have to offer. I consider myself insanely lucky to have eaten at such incredible places the last 4.5 years I’ve lived downtown, but feel its become more routine and less special. I genuinely think I’d be a great cook if I dedicated both time and effort, which leads to my next intention. I want to be more strategic about preparing my daily meals – researching recipes, frequent trips to grocery store and mapping out our meals. I think this will help my awareness of what I am actually putting in my body and how my body will feel after I am finished eating. I have jumped on the homemade acai bowl bandwagon and love how simple, delicious and healthy it is – check out my recipe here.
(8) Digital Detox: This intention is geared more towards my mental health as well as overall happiness. We are connected at all times, rarely giving ourselves a break. No break from consumption of information, scrolling through social media or compulsive communication with friends. When I am out to dinner with friends or family, I notice several cell phones sitting face down on the table while we all sit there, waiting for a vibration to go off. I don’t blame any of us – it is the world we live in, however I do think we can all limit our habitual digital usage. Opening the Instagram app on my phone feels like second nature; sometimes I don’t even realize what I am doing or why I am doing it. My intention is to turn off my phone twenty minutes before winding down for the night and to keep it in my purse when spending time with my husband, family and friends. While I know this may be difficult, I think it will end up being more fulfilling.
Cheers to the New Year (3 months late) and healthy intentions!