Entering into a new year offers the opportunity to mentally reset and refocus on creating routines, habits and situations that server our spirit, body and mind in ways that can allow us to feel good about ourselves and thrive. Sometimes this means challenging yourself to try new things or to switch up a routine that has you feeling stale in mind and body. As a coach, I am often working to problem solve with athletes as to how we can increase motivation and performance while at the same time decrease anxiety or that feeling of being “in the grind.” Sometimes this simply means that we that we bring a bit of fun back into training.
Here are my 2019 challenges to all of you, whether you are a fitness enthusiast, competitive athlete or someone who is aiming to commit to living a healthier lifestyle. I challenge you to,
1. GO ROGUE
Ditch the data now and then. Drop your watch with the fancy apps at the doorstep or temporarily in the garbage on your way out (drop even your basic watch) and go “naked” on the wrist! Cover up your power meter on the bike or hop on one that does not have a computer of any kind. Go ahead – you can do it. Run, walk or bike your favorite loop at an easy effort simply for the sake of enjoyment. Take in the sights, focus on your form and be present in the experience of being out in nature and being in your body. Note how this makes you feel. Vulnerable? Lacking in control? Naked? Alive? Free? Good! Start to get comfortable with being present in your body, mind and in nature.
2. TAKE ON A NEW ACTIVITY THAT CHALLENGES NEW SKILLS?
Is there something that you’ve been itching to try but have not taken the steps to do so out of excuses, fear or simply putting it off? Make this the year to go for it. THERE IS NOTHING MORE EMPOWERING THAN LEARNING AND EVEN MASTERING A NEW SKILL! The body and mind are forced work together in new ways in developing new patterns of communication. Mastery of a new skill is good for the brain, good for the body and good for the spirit! It can promote a greater sense of self efficacy (belief in our own ability to achieve a goal). Learn to cross country ski, sign up for some swim lessons, hop in that Zumba class or perhaps learn to ride the trails on a mountain bike!
3. RESPECT YOUR BODY
Be kind and gentle to your body. Love it madly.
Remember, your body does so much just to keep you alive and moving at the most basic level. Think about all of those organs inside of you working away like elves to keep the production of life going. When we push too hard, too long or both too often without adequate rest, we put incredible stress on our joints, muscles, tendons and immune system. When we disrespect our body’s needs, we increase our risk for injury, illness and burnout. The same principle applies to lack of movement, the accumulation of too much stress with no release and the consuming foods that cause an inflammatory response within the body, (similar to the fight or flight response) such as too much alcohol, sugar, saturated fat and processed foods.
4. BE A GROUPIE!
Hop in some group fitness or training opportunities. Do you shy away from them because you fear that you’ll be in over your head? Intimidated? You may just find that the opposite occurs if you take that daring first step to show up. The benefits often outweigh or even negate the negatives. Those perks include,
- Increased motivation levels during the workout vs going solo
- A shared experience in “the challenge” of the workout
- Greater likelihood of accountability in getting in a workout
- Feelings of being inspired
- Social engagement
5. AIM TO INSPIRE OTHERS
Always remember that when you make the commitment to a goal process, you may be silently inspiring others to do the same. Never under estimate the power that you have to positively influence others simply by showing up for yourself. Keep in mind that we don’t always have to be “silent inspirers!” Make a point of praising others when you see them working through their own challenge or doing something that inspires you. Encourage others and speak using positive, heartfelt language and energy. I challenge you to do this on a daily basis and then make note of how it makes you feel. When someone compliments or encourages you, pay it forward with someone else. Let’s spread that kind of energy like wild fire!
I wish all readers of this blog a year of being good to yourselves, a year of taking on new challenges, a year of ongoing personal growth and a year of paying empowerment forward!