What was your New Years Resolution this year? Was it to win a dance title, learn how to surf, achieve an INSANELY hard hike, have more patience, lose weight, be more positive? Whatever your goals may be, they are important. New Years Resolutions have been receiving a lot of bad rep. in the media this year…people are saying not to even set resolutions because no one really sticks to them anyway. I think this is such a bad mentality to have. We can ALL stick to our resolutions and achieve whatever goals we have for ourselves if we just put some work into it. This past week I have had a really tough  time believing that I can achieve my goals. Self-doubt is such a hard thing to overcome sometimes; that is usually what stops people from achieving their dreams. But I am working on this, and I hope you will as well. We are all capable of amazing things, but it takes dedication, belief in oneself, and passion to become successful. Without those things, we will just have another New Years Resolution that failed a week into January.

Most people start the new year off with the hopes of becoming healthier and losing all the weight they gained from the delicious holiday treats. I think that’s great, but one of the reasons a lot of people don’t achieve their weight-loss goals is that they try to make too many big changes too quickly. This overwhelms them, frustrates them, and then they give up because “being healthy is just too hard.” It’s really not that hard! What most people don’t realize is that the only way to truly be healthy is to make it part of your lifestyle. Not just do it for a few weeks and then go back to the bad habits, constantly repeating a cycle of binging and starving oneself. The best way to achieve the health goals we have is to start making a few small and simple changes to our daily lifestyle. Once we have these things down and they are embedded into our daily routine without question, then we can begin to add more and more changes. Trying to change everything at once is just too much and not as effective as it would seem. 

I started making changes towards a healthy lifestyle about 5 years ago, and I have been continuing to improve each year. I feel so much healthier now than I ever have before, and I just feel BETTER in general. I feel happy, confident, and strong. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are still areas that I can improve in and I constantly struggle with my self-image, but I think that struggle is just human nature. These “10 Ways to Live a Healthier New Year” have completely changed my life, and they are things I try to incorporate every single day. However, especially if you are new to a healthy lifestyle or if you have had a difficult time sticking to it in the past, I want you to start SMALL. Start with using 1-2 of these things on a daily basis. Once you feel comfortable with those, work your way up and begin to add more. This is the only way that you will be able to stick to it, achieve REAL results, and actually make a change in your life. 

  1. Goal-Setting: Write it Down!- I am guilty of making goals or New Years Resolutions in my head and just keeping them to myself. Usually that means I just forget about it a few weeks later and of course I never actually achieve those things. This step is crucial you guys! Write your goals down and keep them in several places as a constant reminder. You made those goals for a reason, so don’t cheat yourself and simply forget about them. Put them on sticky notes and place them on your fridge, your bathroom, make a vision board, put a reminder on your phone…wherever works for you. This will keep you motivated and constantly remind you that you care enough about yourself to improve and become better. Also, give yourself a deadline or a date to achieve these goals by. Maybe you want to lose (x) amount of pounds in 1 month, or achieve a hard yoga pose in 3 weeks. This will give you even more of an incentive to work towards that goal. Another thing you can do is tell someone about your goals. This will help you stay accountable and many times we work harder if we know someone is watching. 
  2.  30 Minutes of Fitness, (3-7 Days a Week)– I know something that a lot of people struggle with is making themselves work out. Sometimes it’s hard to drag yourself out of bed an extra hour early in order to get your workout in…trust me, the struggle is real. But it will be so worth it, I promise. Working out is one of the biggest things you need to do to achieve your health goals. I’m not saying you need to work out every day, just start with 3 days a week for 30 minutes a day. You will start to notice changes in energy, weight, and you’ll just feel better about yourself. Once you feel comfortable with 3 days, you can begin to add more if that works for your schedule. I usually work out 6 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day, and then Sundays I use as a rest day for just yoga. A lot of people enjoy things like running, walking, gym classes, those types of exercises, but the workouts that I have seen the most results from are the ones that target specific muscles or combine strength and cardio training. Also, I have to ENJOY the workout. I hate things like running or lifting weights, but I found a workout that speaks to my soul haha and I have had the most amazing results from it. It’s called Core de Force and it’s a workout by BeachBody. This workout is a MMA style workout that uses boxing moves to tone your entire body. I’m obsessed. Do something that you enjoy, whether that”s dancing, pilates, spin class….whatever gets you excited and motivated, do it. 
  3. Don’t Drink Your Calories! HYDRATION– This concept is huge guys. One of the biggest things that you need to quit doing if you want to have a healthy lifestyle is to refrain from drinking your calories. This could mean soft drinks, alcohol…any type of sugary drink really. You will be surprised how much weight you can lose just from doing this, especially if these are part of your daily routine. The great thing is that there are healthy alternatives for them. I LOVE drinking Zevias which are a healthy alternative for soda; they are delicious and they have so many great flavors. Stevia (not cane sugar) Blue Sky is also another great soda option, but they are only available at Earth Fare or Whole Foods. These drinks are sweetened with Stevia instead of sugar which means 0 calories and 0 guilt. I’m personally a sparkling water kind of girl, so I love drinking La Croix, which are slightly flavored sparkling waters. We also have a SodaStream at home which we use to carbonate our purified water, and it’s MUCH cheaper than buying bottles of Pellegrino. I also drink a lot of hot tea sweetened with Stevia if I’m in the mood for a hot drink. But obviously the most important thing you need to be drinking is water. Try to drink as much as you can throughout the day. This will not only keep you hydrated, but it will begin to push toxins out of your body as well. I recommend getting some kind of water purification system for your home so that you are getting the best benefits possible.
  4. Eat Local and Organic Foods– What is the deal with this organic food right? Why is it better? Well, ORGANIC means that the crops are not grown with synthetic pesticides, bacteria radiation (irradiation), or artificial fertilizers. These things are know to contribute to so many health problems, and even cancer. Not only that, but the food has little to no nutritional value, especially if it’s been genetically modified. This is why it’s so important to buy organic and local products. It means that the food is actually REAL. I definitely try to buy organic when it comes to dairy products, produce, eggs…everything really. And even though packaged foods aren’t very good for you, you can still by the healthier versions and organic brands, just check to make sure they are non-GMO, and they don’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. If you have a local farm that uses clean/organic methods, that is going to be your best choice because you’re getting it straight from the source.
  5. Make a “Healthy Recipe” Pinterest Board– My “Get Fit” Pinterest Board is my go-to for healthy recipes. You would not believe how many healthy recipes are available for the foods that we love. Make a Pinterest Board and go CRAZY pinning healthy recipes. This way, you always have a recipe that you can make; you don’t have to bore yourself with chicken and salad all the time. There are literally healthier alternatives for all of our favorite foods like mac-n-cheese, pizza, pasta, takeout….EVERYTHING. It’s pretty fantastic. Check out my Pinterest account here for some ideas (I’m kind of of a pin-addict). 
  6. Make an Eating Schedule– This is KEY. I have been on the same eating schedule for about 5 years, and it very rarely changes. I made myself do it for so long that it just became a habit. Schedule what times of the day you are going to eat and then DO NOT eat in between. This is the only way I was able to avoid snacking continuously throughout the day.  For an example, this is my eating schedule: 
  • 6-7 am, Breakfast
  • 11-12 am/pm, Lunch
  • 2-3 pm, Snack
  • 6-7 pm, Dinner 

7. Yoga– I know you guys hear me talk about yoga a lot, but that’s because I’m soooo passionate about it, and I’ve seen the amazing effects it has had on my body and my mind as well. The great thing about yoga is that it gives your body a release from all the things it goes through during the day, whether that is your soreness from a workout, tightness from sitting at your desk, or just de-stressing your mind from the constant flow of information. This will protect your body from injury and give you a period of relaxation that you may not otherwise have. I recommend doing at least 10 minutes of yoga a day to get the most out of it, and you can do longer on your rest day if you choose (which is what I do). Not only is yoga a great release for your mind and body, but it also builds strength and tones our muscles unlike any other workout does. My abs and arms especially have been sculpted by adding more yoga into my daily routine. It will improve your overall fitness and help you feel better in your workouts as well. 

8. Personal Development–  Being healthy is something that starts in your mind, so why not fill it with positive information instead of negative? This is something that I started a couple months ago, and I can’t believe how much it has changed my outlook on life and the incredible possibilities that are out there. To me, personal development is something that inspires you to be better. This can be related to your occupation, your passion, your lifestyle, your personality….whatever it is that you want to improve on or expand your horizons in. I love listening to personal development podcasts, but there are many PD books as well. My favorite podcasts (which I have mentioned before) are The Dance Podcast, The Gina Pero Show, and School of Greatness. “The Dance Podcast” inspires me to be a better dancer and hear from successful dancers about how they achieved their goals. The “Gina Pero Show” is also dance related, but is about how you can just be a better person and live life fully. And then Lewis Howes “School of Greatness”  contains interviews of extremely successful people and how they achieved their dreams, as well as ways to just be GREAT in whatever occupation, relationship, or situation you may be in. I put on a podcast every time I get in my car, and ESPECIALLY on my long drives to Charlotte for dance.

9. Support System– One of the big reasons why it is so hard for people to stick with a clean lifestyle is that they try to do it on their own. No help. No support. Solo. As I mentioned before, you are more likely to be motivated when you’re accountable to someone else. So get a friend to be your gym buddy or go healthy grocery shopping with your boyfriend/husband and cook dinner together. Get someone involved in your journey and it might inspire them to change their own lifestyle as well if they haven’t already. 

10. Make a PLAN!!!!!- Alright you guys, it’s time to make your plan!! I want you to write everything down that you need to do in order to achieve your goals. The best way to do this is in a planner like this adorable fitness/health Happy Planner that my boyfriend’s sister got for me this Christmas. It comes with little stickers and tabs to help you stay organized, and there are even places to schedule your meals, workouts, and everything else that you need to achieve that day/month. 

If you didn’t get the chance to check out my YouTube video, you should definitely watch it! It follows along with this post and provides even more detail of the things I’m writing about! 

I hope you all feel much more confident about achieving a healthy lifestyle this year, and reaching EVERY goal you want to hit. Dedicate some time for yourself and start going after the things you want. You will feel better, look better, and be able to accomplish amazing things in 2017. 

Cheers to a New Year, and an even BETTER you, 

Ashlyn Tori <3