You decided that you want to improve X in your life. First of all, well done on making a mindful decision to better yourself! But now you don’t know where to turn next. Making changes to your lifestyle can be extremely daunting. There is an overwhelming amount of information and misinformation on the internet often with conflicting messages, DO THIS, DON’T DO THAT, HAVE MORE OF THIS, HAVE LESS OF THAT… it can drive even the calmest of people into a frenzy.
Whatever change you wish to implement, or goal that you aspire to achieve, the best approach is decisive, incremental, steady, and conscious. It’s like being faced with a giant project at work with a tight deadline, if we all looked at the mountain ahead of us without stepping back to collect information, strategize, prepare, reflect and THINK, nothing would every get done.
This philosophy can and should be utilized with life changes as well. Think of it as working towards formulating your Life Plan …. I want more free time to do this, I want my career to take that direction, I want to eat better, exercise more… By breaking down your targets into small manageable tasks, it converts the impossible into attainable.
One of the best tools you can use to help strategize your thoughts, goals and plan is through a SWOT analysis. Typically, this is applied in a business setting for strategizing projects and potential ventures, but it can be an extremely powerful and effective for life decisions. Women are very visual and conceptual and this forces self-reflection which is often overlooked when trying to determine how and what.
PERSONAL SWOT - EXAMPLE
With this example, a possible solution would be to plan meals on the weekend when this person has time, make a shopping list and purchase the food through an online grocery store and schedule it to be delivered Sunday afternoon so there is time to prep for the week ahead. By inviting a friend around or doing it with a family, it instantly becomes a more enjoyable and social affair.
Being able to identify these issues is the best way to address the challenge and find solutions. Be honest with yourself, stick with it, stay positive and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself along the way!
After setting some goals for yourself, things are going great and you are really in a groove, then suddenly your motivation is waning and overall excitement and dedication are diminishing by the day. Hitting a road block along your journey to wellness is totally NORMAL. Here are some go-to MUST-HAVES to keep you on track. Keep these in your arsenal and those lackluster days will quickly become a thing of the past.
Invest in some at-home materials and equipment for facilitating your end goal
Make sure that you have a good mixer for chopping, processing and blending, this makes meal prep & cleanup a breeze.
Purchase a handful of durable, leak-proof and shatter resistant glass food containers that can withstand the microwave and oven. These containers will keep your healthy eating and meal prep on point. Other materials are a nuisance to clean and tend to get smelly.
A yoga mat, some light hand weights and an exercise band are a great start to keep you moving at home. Spend time online for inspiration, there are countless free workouts and tips. This equipment will come especially handy for days when you are really pressed for time and still want to get your heart rate going with an express workout. Having the yoga mat out will also act as a friendly reminder to stretch, relax, restore and decompress before hopping into bed at night.
Make accomplishments real and visible
We are good with preparation and prior planning when it comes to work and others, but consider having a calendar for YOURSELF. Hang it in a spot that you will notice to log your personal targets. Schedule meal prep time, work-out time, call BFF time… otherwise days fly by without achieving any of your personal goals. Once you satisfied an objective or achieved a particular milestone, cross it off. Having a visual guide really helps keep you on track, plus there is something extremely gratifying about ticking things off that you can see, it makes it more tangible. You can give yourself a well-deserved mental high-five with each tick!
Have an accountability buddy
Having a confidant keep you on track is an extremely powerful resource not to be underrated. Friendly competition will keep you motivated and a commitment to somebody that you respect will keep you accountable. Pick somebody who is like minded that you trust, admire, can relate to and feel comfortable with. Be specific one another about how you want to meet your goals. Make time to regularly check-in with one another (a simple email or quick text will suffice). Periodically revisit goals to keep you on track.
Make short-term and long term self-agreements - if I work-out three times this week and eat clean M-F, I will go out for cocktails on Friday with my friends. If I achieve my target of clean eating and consistently exercising three days a week for 1 month, I will purchase those cute workout pants with the coordinating sports bra. Before you know it, the workout attire will get tighter and shorter with each passing month of consistently sticking to your plan!
You have decided to eat better, exercise more and take more time for yourself, excellent! … But now what? Getting started is quite possibly the hardest hurdle. Once we make a positive lifestyle change and it has become part of our routine, it is comparatively easy to maintain and “stick with it.” Yet taking that first leap is truly the most challenging. Here are some helpful tips to consider when kick-starting your health and wellness which can be applied to all types of life goal setting.
Realistic and attainable – attempting to go from relatively unhealthy eating habits to sustaining yourself on smoothies and power bowls is not realistic, nor is it likely to be maintained, and that is the ultimate objective - MAITAINING the positive change that you worked so hard to attain. A realistic goal may be cutting out sugar, junk food, processed food (FAKE FOOD) limiting alcohol/caffeine consumption and eating more natural REAL FOOD - fresh fruit, vegetables, whole natural grains and legumes, lean proteins etc.
Definitive, clear & quantifiable – goals need to be easy to comprehend, recognizable and quantitative. Simply stating “I want get healthy” is far too vague. There are several ways to do so. A more definitive goal might be - in order to improve my health I will take group fitness classes and walk more.
Enjoyable, relatable and important for YOU – setting a goal for yourself involving something you have never liked, or something that has little personal and emotional impact on you is likely to fail. That is not to say “I don’t like exercise, ergo I don’t need set this as a goal”. Instead, think about positive attributes of actions that result in making you feel healthier, happier and calmer and fit this into your lifestyle. EG. I do not enjoy the gym, however I like dancing, being outdoors and socializing. Consider then a goal like trying a dance class with girlfriends and joining a local tennis club social group that heads to a local café afterward a round of matches.
Pick an end-point – having a deadline will prompt you to start, keep going and complete.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Making lifestyle changes are difficult, humans are not too dissimilar to our less evolved counterpart mammals. We are truly creatures of habit. Creating new, healthy habits is challenging and frustrating at times. Don’t get too hung-up on missing a day at the gym or having a slice of cake at somebody’s birthday party at work. Simply accept the decision you made (enjoy that cake!) and move forward with resolve to off-set those choices with something else, like an extra-long walk on your way home from work and salad for dinner.
We all know that leading a healthy lifestyle is important and beneficial and yet, very often life seems to impede our progress, or so we perceive it to. The modern woman’s daily agenda is a fine balancing act in managing several moving targets and yet we always (or nearly always) achieve our objectives. We have infinite To-Do-Lists...sometimes even lists for our LIST!
Yet, how often does self-care fall to the sideline? It is sometimes more frequently than we care to admit to ourselves. Our endless goals are inundated with a myriad of tasks that for some reason take priority over caring for ourselves. Whether it’s a weekly yoga class, eating healthier, spending more time reading that book you have been meaning to finish for months… these things simply are not valued as important as other targets and goals that we manage to accomplish on a daily basis. Woman are exceptionally successful with multi-tasking. Consider apply this highly valued skill to YOURSELF and the possibilities are truly endless.
Failure to make positive lifestyle changes to better health and well-being typically boil down to three rationalizations: the perceived lack of time, money and energy. YOU DO HAVE THE TIME, MONEY AND ENERGY TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT YOU WISH, especially for yourself. When it comes to work, family, friends, deadlines, we always seem to find the time, money and energy to achieve everything. I mean this is the sense that TRULY, if you want to take time, money and energy for yourself, you can, you simply have to prioritize it over other things.
Personally, as much as you would love a one month yoga retreat at a luxury beach resort (some of us simply do not have the time or money to accomplish this). HOWEVER, you do have the time and money to take a weekly yoga class at a local studio and occasionally do yoga at home. We also could save towards a week long yoga retreat and forgo another vacation or trip elsewhere.
We frequently receive these justifications (lack of time, money, energy). Let us suggest a new mantra to repeat to ourselves, write on your To-Do-List and set as a reminder to frequently pop-up on your phone: I DO HAVE THE TIME, MONEY AND RESOURCES TO ACCOMPLISH GOALS FOR MYSELF, I SIMPLY HAVE TO PRIORITIZE THEM. This is not to say that there are other tasks, goals and objectives that my need to be put aside as there are only a finite number of minutes in the day, dollars in my bank account etc…
Example: I want to work-workout in the morning before work
Sample Plan of Action: Must go to bed early the night before so I feel rested and ready for the 5:45am alarm
Opportunity Cost: I will not meet my friends for dinner and drinks the night before
Example: I want to eat healthier but I don’t have the time or resources to plan my meals accordingly.
Sample Plan of Action: When preparing dinner the night before, pack yourself a salad for work (eg. lettuce, canned tuna, carrots)
Opportunity Cost: Eat out less so as to have more time and resources to plan healthy and mindful meals
The next time you add a self-care related goal on your To-Do-List, please recall this note to self before pushing it off until tomorrow: This is not a luxury, nor is it self-indulgent, I am taking time for ME, so I may better help and serve others with my other goals and objectives.
Stay Happy, Healthy, Mindful and Self-Aware Ladies!
We get it. There’s just no time. You’ve got emails to answer, piles of clothing to fold, and a million things that need your attention immediately.
And when you do find yourself with a rare and precious 10 minutes, how do you spend it? Do you pick up your phone to scroll through Facebook or Instagram, wondering how these people find the time to photograph every meal or glass of wine? Always looking so calm, relaxed and happy.
Ok, put your phone down. We know, it’s asking a lot. Or let us help you find ways to use that 10 minutes on your phone to work on yourself and finding a path to feeling good.
Ready? Here are a few simple ways to spend a short amount of time that can make a big impact:
If self-guided methods are not working for you, consider other steps such as group programs, private coaching or advanced medical assistance. Let us know how we can help you!
Savvy women know how to identify a good investment. They size up the potential gains and measure them against the perceived risk. But would you consider yourself - your wellness and happiness - an investment?
Consider how much time and money is devoted to keeping yourself healthy in mind and body. According to our survey, not so much.
Not so good, ladies. But this is something easily fixed by taking just a little more of that money and time from other categories and reshuffling it into wellness. Because you are your most important investment. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot be our best selves.
Is it just me? That feeling of faking it through everything, and never getting anything quite right? Because there’s too much to do, and never enough time, I spend my life careening between obligations for work and family. It seems like I’m always just getting by but never really succeeding, or even feeling good.
This isn’t a topic that women openly talk about. That feeling of failing when it seems like everyone around you has “it” figured out. And by “it” don’t we mean getting it all done at work and home and leading a happy, fulfilling life - all while looking good?
How members enjoy their pass time at Hudson Coterie.
Happiness can be a numbers game, according to Happify.com., a site that emphasizes the science behind the study of happiness. There are ways to quantify what drives our moods and wellness. So let’s start counting!
$75,000: This annual salary level is the sweet spot for happiness - making more doesn’t make a huge difference in mood levels.
33, 55 and the 70s: The ages at which people report that they are the happiest. So there are good times yet to come!
10: The number of friends it takes to lift happiness levels.
6-7: The number of hours a day spent socializing with friends and family to keep a smile on your face.
5: The number of positive interactions happy couples experience per every negative one.
2-3: The number of times happy couples have sex on a weekly basis.
1: The ideal number of miles between you and a bestie.
Clearly, happiness is not just for the young or the wealthy, But it comes easier for those who invest in meaningful relationships with friends, family and partners.
To learn more about Happify and its research visit http://www.happify.com
So what’s making you miserable? Is it your boss or that dead-end job? A fight with your partner? The overwhelming number of obligations and demands that you just can’t meet?
What does this science tell us? That you shouldn’t feel bad if it seems that you catch the blues more often than others. It may simply be your hard wiring. It also lets us know that external factors - that boss, your relationship or dating woes - don’t hold as much sway as you think.
Most importantly, it tells us that we do have the ability to take control of our happiness by making adjustments to our thoughts, actions and behaviors.
Learn more about the science of happiness at Happify and TED.
science based games that will help get you to your happy place
science of happiness at Ted, Ideas Worth Spreading