The New Year is upon us - which means (for many people), setting up resolutions that typically only last a few weeks. Some people will set lofty goals while others will settle on more manageable achievements. No matter who you are or what you want to call it, it's always a good idea to take stock in where you currently are in life in relation to where you want to be. After all, this is your only shot at this thing - so you might as well go after it with aiming toward becoming the best version of yourself.
Take some time over the next week or so and write down a few things that you are proud of, happy about, or have a sense of accomplishment of from this past year. Then, write out a few things that you'd like to achieve, do, and/or accomplish this upcoming year.
The best way to approach change is by focusing on daily BEHAVIORS versus simply writing out a particular outcome. If you struggle with getting started on these types of exercises, here are six healthy habits that could help you get going...and the best part is, you can fit all six of these in about an hour per day.
1. Physical Health (20 minutes)
What you put into your body (nutrition) and what you get out of it (exercise) are the two most basic fundamentals in maintaining good physical health. There is a ton that goes into each of these - so find someone who can help you in developing a plan to improve on both fronts that fits within your lifestyle. There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach...keep that in mind when seeking assistance. You can check out all of our service offerings on fitness here.
If you do have an idea about how to get started, then start out with 20 minutes per day doing some vigorous exercise. One of the best ways to approach this is to mix things up by doing strength/resistance training exercises and cardio training on alternate days. There are five basic strength exercise movements that you can work on in a variety of ways:
Lunge or Single Leg Movements
You could spend 20 minutes on each movement type on different days and mix in cardio on the other two days or mix and match however you want. You don't have to spend hours at the gym to get started or to get results...you just have to start.
2. Mental Health (10 minutes)
Just as everyone should take good care of their body, they should also take good care of keeping the mind sharp. One very simple way to do this is to take a few minutes per day to read.
No matter who you are or what particular interests you have, there are (more than likely) hundreds if not thousands of books in existence that can help you learn more about the topics that are meaningful to you. Whether they are focused on you learning more about your industry, parenting, hobbies, travel, starting a business, managing money - whatever it is that you want to become an expert in (or at least learn more about), there is a wealth of knowledge waiting for you.
If you read 10 pages of a book per day, that roughly equates to 18 books per year. How much sharper would you be if you read 18 books per year on a particular subject?
3. Emotional Health (5 minutes)
There is something to be said about not allowing yourself to get too high when things are going well or too low when you are facing incredible challenges in life.
One simple way to work toward this type of balance is to practice daily breathing exercises (or meditation). Taking a few minutes to focus on deep, purposeful breaths each and every day can certainly create some inner peace and emotional balance. Like many other things in life worth pursuing, it might take some time to get this exercise down pat - but it is well worth it.
Five minutes might not seem like much, but if you stay focused and present, you will be surprised just how calm and balanced you can become in that short of a time. Find a quiet place to sit (preferably in a dark room) and calm your mind. Breath in as deep as you can and slowly release your breath as you relax your entire body. Repeat this for five minutes to have an incredible start to your day.
4. Spiritual Health (5 minutes)
No matter what your beliefs are, spending time in gratitude and being thankful for the opportunities that exist in this life is always a great place to start out each day. Could your current situation be better than it is? Perhaps...but it could possibly be worse.
So, instead of focusing on the things that are completely out of your control - try taking a few moments to reflect on that which is within your control and be grateful for the opportunity to do so.
The absolute best way to approach this is to write these things down. You don't have to have a fancy notebook or journal, but doing this practice (writing down what you are grateful for) can have incredible benefits on your health.
5. Relational Health (10 minutes)
Whether you have thousands of "followers or friends" on social media or you simply have that one person who you know you can rely on, take some time each week (or day) to let them know how much they mean to you. No one can effectively do this life thing on their own.
Surround yourself with those who will be honest with you, will have your back, will support you, and will hold you accountable for working toward becoming the best possible version of yourself. If you have these people in your circle right now, do everything you can to maintain those relationships. If you don't, make a point this year to find them and begin developing a relationship that is meaningful (for each person involved).
A simple approach to this behavior is taking 10 minutes to reach out to 1-2 people every day and let them know you are thinking about them, what this person means to you, how much you care about this person, or whatever it is that you appreciate about them being part of this life with you. The more people you have in your network, the better...so take 10 minutes each day and reach out to a couple of them. You never know who might need to hear from you...
6. Financial Health (10 minutes)
You don't have to be a multi-millionaire to be considered financially healthy. You do, however, need to ensure you are working toward a few key behaviors in order to maintain sufficient financial means to fit your lifestyle. There are so many ways to create financial stability and, ultimately get to financial freedom. Each situation is a little different and it is a good idea to spend time with a financial planner to ensure you maximize your individual financial situation.
The most basic behaviors in ensuring financial health include the following:
Put together a financial plan (review how much income is coming in and going out through monthly expenses)
Work toward getting rid of all debts
Create a passive income stream (or streams)
Begin setting aside enough money to cover a year's worth of living expenses
Work toward allocating funds toward a "risk" or investment account(s)
Finally, begin setting aside funds toward "dream" investments (additional property, philanthropic work, a small business)
Spending 10 minutes per day reviewing these behaviors to ensure you have a solid plan and are on track with your plan will go a long way in your financial health.
Again, these are basic principles that are well documented, but each individual situation is different so partnering with a professional financial advisor or planner is key to building long-term financial health.
As you can see, there are some simple things that can be implemented in just one hour per day that can make a tremendous difference in your health. Once you begin implementing some or all of these behaviors, you might find you want more time to spend on them to enhance certain aspects of each health discipline.
If you take an inventory of how you currently spend the 24 hours each day, you might be able to carve out a little more time to work on building these health behaviors even more. When you are at your best, you provide an opportunity to show up for the people you serve in an even greater capacity.
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Here's to a fantastic, healthy New Year!
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