14 Ways to Better Yourself in 2014

We all know that New Years is the time where we hear everyone and their mother make “NEW YEAR, NEW ME” statements. I will be the first to admit I’ve had a few of those posts myself; the goals I am going to crush and all the ways I will make 2014 even better than 2013. For everyone who says they are going to change something, improve something, reach a life goal, etc in the new year and actually means it more power to you! Let’s do this thing! However, with that said, we also all know that we tend to make these epic “New Years Resolutions”, grab the bull by the horns, go hard, anddddd then give up before the end of January. I am not here to deter you from making these declarations of change… I am here to propose that rather than jumping into freezing water without first dipping your toe in to test it out and then running screaming, we all should take the time to focus on all the little things we can do and change in our lives to help us reach these goals. Like really reach them. Crush them. Shatter them. Do even more than we ever thought. And never give up.

I’ve said it time and again that the only way to successfully make a big change or improvement and make it last is to implement it into your entire life. You can’t change one thing about yourself or your behaviors without it affecting other parts of your life. If you want to do something right and you really want a better you in the year 2014, it’s time to make some simple yet extremely effective lifestyle changes. So here is my list of 14 things you can easily do to lead you down the right path to a better, your best, you…
1. Write down your goals. 
Big or small. Write down everything you want to accomplish. Pick at least one thing you want to have before the end of the year. Maybe fitting into those jeans you are clinging to from ten years ago. Then write down your smaller goals that you can reach within a month or two; things that you can continuously update or check off. For me thats always new PRs I want to hit or gymnastic bodyweight movements I want to conquer. Don’t just write them down but then hang them up somewhere that you will be forced to see and read them. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The more you are reminded of the things you want the less likely you will be to give up on them.

2. Drink more water!
I cannot say this enough. To everyone… The most important thing you can consume during the day is water. Stop drinking a million cups of tea or coffee (guilty). Put down the juice. Walk away from the soda machine. When your body is hydrated you will feel a THOUSAND times better. Everything will function more optimally both inside and outside of the gym. Your brain works better, your body will love you and thank you. And as an added bonus for those of you on that weight loss journey, when your body has an adequate amount of water going in it will stop storing it and clinging to all that water weight you just can’t seem to shed.

3. Kick one bad habit.
It takes doing something for 6 months for it to truly be a “habit”. So no going to the gym for two weeks won’t engrain it into your life. It may still be a battle. BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t easily force yourself to disengage in some bad habits either. You know those favorite cookies you always have on hand “just in case” you get a craving? I mean of course they aren’t part of your diet and you don’t eat them thaaaaat often. They are really only there for when you can’t sleep at 1am and need a fix. Well, STOP BUYING THEM. Your mind knows they are in the house and the more you keep them around and give in to those midnight cravings the harder it is to eliminate that stuff. You are more tempted when things are sitting in your house. Even if you “don’t eat them that much”. Of course this is just one example but find something you can make the decision to stop incorporating in your life and force yourself to do it. There is something, trust me. 

4. Try new exercise routines.
Sign up for Crossfit *wink wink* *nudge nudge*… Buy that CKO membership. Start Insanity (and actually finish it). Go try yoga. Ask someone to show you how to lift or use those machines in the gym that look like a death trap. Do something you may have read about or thought about but then decided nah I’ll just stick with my elliptical and crunches. New year, new you right? So actually try something NEW. If you are still trying to make a change or you didn’t quite stick with the resolution you made last year then maybe the old stuff isn’t working. 


5. Do something your afraid of!
Building off the last one… Step out of your comfort zone! Like far out. Way out. Like you can’t even see that warm little light in the center of it. The feeling of confronting the idea of something that absolutely terrifies you and just doing it anyways is the biggest adrenaline rush in the world. It doesn’t have to be something big at all. For example, I am terrified of the idea of being upside down I never had upper body strength and always felt like I was immediately going to fall and break my neck and die. Recently, I did handstand pushups… decently. It was an insane, thrilling, fulfilling moment. You will learn a whole new side of mental strength and develop an increasingly fantastic sense of self-confidence with every fear you take head on.

6. Learn how to cook.
You don’t have to become the next top chef. But you know all those cool healthy recipes you see on pinterest or read in all the fitness, men’s health (my personal favorite for recipes), or women’s health magazine? The ones you drool over but never attempt because you “can’t make that stuff” so you just order out. Try them! Practice makes perfect so give them a go, have them turn out horribly, and then try them again or try a different one. Trust me the more you can cook for yourself the happier you will be. Not only does a home cooked meal always taste better than take out but even though you are ordering from that salad place down the street you are probably not getting as healthy a meal as you would be had you made that salad yourself.

7. Do daily affirmations.
There is no better way to become your best you and reach those goals than by telling yourself how f**kin kick ass and amazing and strong and wonderful you are. Love yourself … and don’t just pretend to or think it, tell yourself that you love yourself… Look into the mirror every morning, smile, and tell yourself something positive and encouraging and that you are loved. There are apps for the phones that give you new daily affirmations to read each morning. There are millions of books with affirmations out there. Or just come up with something simple like how you are going to crush whatever is going on that day or how intelligent and charming and whatever you are. These will make a world of a difference in your attitude towards life and towards yourself. Change the energy you put out and you will change the things you get in.

8. Try new foods.
It will not kill you to eat those brussels sprouts or that asparagus that someone made for you… Unless of course you are like allergic or something weird like that then yeah don’t eat that shit… But there are so many foods out there that I know I have not tried and I intend to. The more foods you try the more you might surprise yourself about what you like. Then remember that diet your nutritionist put you on where you think you can only eat like plain grilled chicken and lettuce leaves? Yeah it will seem a LOT more interesting. Open your mind and open your mouth.

9. Do a mud run, color run, 5k, marathon, half marathon…
Seriously. Do it. You do not have to be the fittest person in the world or run a 6 minute mile to participate in these things. People walk them. And not like a few people like a lot of people. I ran a Warrior Dash I think a good chunk of the people in my heat did a slow jog and, by the end of the 5k, almost a crawl. It is just one of the most ridiculous and rewarding and hilarious and memorable things you will do. You will NOT regret it. It is one of those things you have to experience at least once. Cause come on man when will you ever again crawl through mud trenches and then get to eat a gigantic turkey leg and have a free beer after? Exactly.

10. Spend $$$$ on yourself!
You are the most important person in your world. Do not be afraid to spoil yourself. Especially when it comes to things relating to your health. Can I really afford the $2,000 a year I spend on Crossfit or the organic food I buy or the unbelievable amount of workout clothes I own? Not necessarily. Do I spend that money on myself anyways? Yes. Because trust me the universe will always provide for you. Somehow. Instead of spending money on that Chanel purse or 20 drinks at the club, go splurge at Whole Foods every other week. You will love yourself for it. You pay so much more in health when you eat the $2 box of poptarts than you will financially on the $5 loaf of flourless Ezekial bread (my personal fav). You deserve to put the best things into your body. Stop looking at the price tag and start thinking about how you will feel tomorrow, and next month, and in 5 years.

11. Get more sleep… Every night.
“Sleep when your dead” is the worst thing I have ever heard. Yes, we all have had those phases in life… Or I mean if you’ve had an enjoyable life you have… where we are too busy participating in shenanigans or getting into a mess of trouble to bother with sleep. And yes we will all have those nights every now and again. Like the one many of you are probably about to have or just had for New Years Eve. However, these nights are the exception. Obviously there is a fine line between sleeping through your alarm because your body is truly worn down and just being lazy making an excuse for why you can’t go to the gym. Life gets busy and sometimes we get busy but do not overwork yourself. A lack of sleep means that you will not function properly throughout the day, therefore sacrificing sleep to do more in your day may actually backfire and end up being more unproductive than just pushing something off to the next day. Also when you lack a sufficient amount of sleep your body cannot recover fully and that leads to a higher potential for injury when working out, especially if you are doing intensive workouts or anything consisting of heavy weights and difficult movements. 

12. Implement a superfood into your daily diet.
Super foods are labeled as such F O R.  A.  R E A S O N. All those foods that sound like something far too healthy to be delicious or things as simple as blueberries that you keep you’re going to buy but never do or do and then they sit in your fridge and go bad. Start paying those foods more attention. There are so many “super foods” that are unbelievably delicious! And you will be incredibly surprised at how fantastic they make you feel. It is also really really easy to sneak them into your daily meals. I have so many favorites I cannot even begin to list them all. Recently I just started using chia seeds. I put them in a smoothie or greek yogurt every day. They are the “super food of athletes” and I could not agree with that more. Do some research, shoot me a question or request for recommendation, and just start with one or two. This could even count as your trying new foods. Trust me you will be amazed with just how big of a difference eating good foods like these has on your body.

13. Stretch more.
No I’m not joking. It could be something as simple as that little reach for your toes stretch we all learn in middle school gym class. It could be doing hot yoga a couple times a week. Or anything in between. When you can move in a smooth manner and be more flexible you feel better on a regular basis. Roll out your muscles. Work on your mobility. It’s the best way to become physically more functional… like in life. Too many people who workout regularly and lift weights neglect a good stretch session. I know because I used to be one of them. Read any of the articles I have seen that talk just even about the relationship between yoga and crossfit and you will change your mind about the importance of stretching. Not only for the super athlete, the extremist, the weightlifters, the crossfitters… for everybody. It’s like getting a good massage. Each time you stretch you release a little tension and you feel refreshed. 

14. Make resolutions you can KEEP!
It is admirable for anyone to see and recognize the things that are wrong with their life. Even more so to decide that these are things they actually want and need to change. EVEN more than that to make any sort of action towards changing these things or reaching these goals. But before you decide to turn your world upside down and overwhelm yourself, sit down and really think about these “resolutions”. Decide on something that you want to do, a big goal you want to reach, and plan out small mountains you climb and feats you can conquer. Hitting little goals on the way to something big will make you feel amazing and give you the motivation to keep going on this journey. Make resolutions that you not only will keep but that you will absolutely conquer and will help you to continue a new amazing life being that “new you”.

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