There’s a lot of pressure to start off the New Year on the right foot. That’s why we see gyms packed with people at the start of the year. Only to find that many people don’t last past February! That’s why it’s important to set realistic wellness goals for the New Year that you can actually sustain. This allows us in turn to be a strong and bright light for our families, communities and the world.
Here are 5 movement tips on how to stay healthy and/or improve your health in the New Year.
We can hold ourselves accountable with realistic goal setting. But we can also bring in an accountability buddy to help us with our fitness goals. Start this new year with the intention to cultivate a community that supports and inspires you – and it can begin with something as simple as finding a workout buddy!
We don’t wake up every day with motivation, so we need a back-up plan. You can do this by enrolling in my online Pilates classes like the Daily Dose or Pilates Dance Based Toning . Alternatively, you can check out my live Pilates mat classes. This way, you can always workout at home without worrying about making it to a workout class!
Implement Stress Management Strategies
You know the saying: “You should meditate for 20 minutes a day – unless you are too busy – then you should meditate for an hour.” Well, in my experience, that holds true! The more hectic life is, the more important it is to carve out time to be still and practice self-care.
In addition to a well designed Pilates practice like the Lee Pilates Method, there are lots of great apps that can help you get started in a meditation practice – like Calm and Headspace. Or if you need a better night’s sleep to start your day refreshed and motivated, try a Yoga Nidra app. This meditation is practiced lying down. Practices like this are a great way to cultivate a new habit that can continue on in the new year.
Make your workouts convenient
Find a way of continuing to move that is both FUN and convenient for you. One of the more obvious ones these days is signing up for online classes, especially live ones! My clients and I have a great time both in my private Pilates online classes and my live online Pilates open classes. We work hard but laugh and enjoy our time together throughout the class. This is a great way to strengthen your PIlates practice without leaving home and build community at the same time. Find what fills you up but also fits into your schedule.
I also use my on-demand online program to squeeze in workouts as I travel and when the day is too full to make it to class. There are so many classes to choose from and I enjoy mixing up the workouts to design the right program for me on any given day.
In the hustle and excitement of the New Year it can be easy to forget what’s most important – love, family, relationships and creating time together. I often put an image on the home page of my phone that reminds me of important values I don’t want to forget as I get wrapped up in the business of life. Sometimes it is a picture of my family or my girl Gracie, other times it is a quote or mantra that means something to me, or an inspiring sunrise picture that reminds me of powers greater than myself.
I also use a few breathing and Pilates exercises and neural drills to bring me back to my center. Because when my body feels good, my mind follows. If you’re feeling sluggish and non-motivated try this calming 3 part breathing exercise this hip circle or lumbar spine neural drill. Once you’ve done those, articulate your spine with the Pilates Roll UP, Pilates Spine Stretch and Pilates Chest LIft. These are wonderful exercises to activate your core and connect your breath and brain with your body.
Rest and Play More
If you are a chronic over-worker, like me it is really important to make this the year your rest and play more. Two years ago I made a commitment to make rest as important a practice as my meditation and movement practices. Like any practice, it is an ongoing process but you can’t improve at something you’re not committed to. One way I rest is to snuggle with Gracie (my dog). I find this very comforting and calming. In a more structured way -I head to bed earlier each night.
This gives me the important time I need for my stretching and mental relaxation which helps prepare my brain and body for sleep. I also use one of the yoga nidra apps I referenced above which has had a profound effect on the quality of my sleep. I’m still working on developing play in my life. But one of the most important things I’ve done is to dance. Put the music on and as the saying goes: “dance like noone is watching”.
Final thoughts on movement tips
It feels great, freeing and empowering. Mostly because we have to overcome our judgements of how silly we may feel we look. (Trust me I feel this way also.) Dancing is a huge stimulant to the brain, releases endorphins and creates joy. Just do it!!
I’ve thrown away the long list of New Year goals. I think we all know what is needed to live our best lives. Consistent mental and physical health practices like those above, strong bonds of love and community with family and friends, being kinder and more patient with ourselves and others, and practicing gratitude which generates joy, peace and hope. Happy New Year!