Now that I have provided a much abbreviated background, I want to spend some time and energy focusing on “words of wisdom” and “advice” from my own lived-experiences and lots of trial-and-error. For the year 2019, here are ‘19’ tips, tricks, and recommendations to striving to achieve holistic wellness (i.e., mind, body, and spirit).
Whatever significant lifestyle change you are aspiring to make, do it for you and no one else. Something I have learned in life is that we have to make ourselves happy before we can make others happy. This also aligns with how we feel and treat our bodies.
Continuous reflection is helpful. Why are you exercising? Why are you more mindful about your eating habits? Why are you doing what you are doing? Having answers to these questions (and others) can be enlightening and ostensibly provide a trajectory.
Consult a medical doctor, therapist, sports pathologist, etc. to figure out what is going to work best for you. As mentioned, I am not an expert, nor claim to be, and am only speaking from lots of self-education and personal lived-experiences.
Make well-informed, well-educated decisions. Essentially, if able, do your research. I encourage folks to know as much about whatever type of lifestyle change / adaption / add-on to your life you are making. The more well-informed we are, the better off we can be about how we are choosing to live our lives.
Make sure you continue to nourish your body. This means eating, sleeping, taking rest days, and drinking enough water. Each person’s body is different, so these will vary. Hence the importance of consulting with a medical professional.
Find a fitness routine and regimen that speaks to your soul and works for you. Just because “all of your friends” are doing Soul Cycle does not mean you need to run out and purchase cycling shoes.
You, as a person, should matter more than anyone else in your life. Why? Because if you are not your best because of health-related reasons, than nothing else in life truly matters.
Really work to combat the “I can’t,” “I will…” mentality. As Nike’s motto signifies, “Just Do It.” We truly have to do the best we can to do at least something; anything. And by ‘do,’ I mean move our bodies in ways that exert energy, endorphins, and make us feel good.
Try a class with a friend. New experiences can be intimidating. Thus, having someone to work through the initial awkwardness can be liberating. This said, I do not (always) recommend working out with a partner/significant other; especially if you are a competitive person life myself.
Challenge yourself in ways that you may have never done before. I started CrossFit in 2014 as a result of a good friend bringing me to a free class. Never in a million years would I have imagined I would be as in love with the sport as I am. And this is coming from a person who was solely a long-distance runner.
Talk about what you are doing. If there is one thing folks in my life know I love to do it’s CrossFit because I talk about it so much. I mean, it is the first rule of CrossFit after all. This said, if you talk about holistic goals you are hoping to achieve, they are more likely to come to fruition and there is a greater sense of accountability from those around you.
Write it down. If you are seeing your goals on a whiteboard, calendar, and/or sheets of paper, you are more likely to achieve said goals.
Do it because it makes your body feel good. Something that took me years to work through is working out because I want “x” part of my body to look a certain way. Now I workout because it makes my mind, body, and spirit feel good. Not to mention I want to be able to actually do something with my body as opposed to just looking superficially “aesthetically appealing.”
Make your goals tangible, realistic, and incremental. What does this mean? Our goals need to be quantifiable. For example, if I have never run a day in my life, I need to set incremental goals each week. This can look like: Week 1- I am going to run 800 meters four times a week without stopping. Then: Week 2 - I am going to run 1,200 meters four times a week without stopping.
Consistency is key. According to brain science it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic (66 days). Therefore, to be blunt, it will take intentional efforts to get into that fitness routine, eating healthier, drinking more water, and/or sleeping better. However, I truly believe that anyone is capable of anything; as long as we are consistent!
It is okay to “mess up,” “make a mistake,” and/or miss a day. Perfection (and imperfection) is a social construct that we, as humans, are conditioned to believe is something to strive for in life. Ergo, I would like for each of us to take a collective deep breath and internalize that we will miss a day (or two) from the gym, we will (occasionally) not get enough hours of sleep, and we may eat more sugar than our body needs. We’re human. It is okay and we will be okay.
Have self-compassion and self-love. This goes hand-in-hand with being okay with messing up. Rupaul Charles may not be the most exemplary human-being, but his sayings (sometimes) ring true. “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else.”
Have fun. Hundreds of folks I have conversed with over time have told me they have associated holistic wellness items with “not being fun.” Fun is subjective and, consequently, up to us to decide what is “fun” versus “not fun.” Not enjoying something? Make some tweaks so that it fits with your own method(s) to living life.
Start now. I know a lot of folks live by the mentality of “I will start on X date; X month; X year.” Start today! We can all do something, even small things, that can be implemented in our everyday lives that can / could make a significant impact.