Lots of people feel a little sluggish and bloated this time of year.  Holiday celebrations leave us a little uncomfortable in our skin, which is why many of us use the new year as a time to get motivated to eat better and exercise.  I think it's great to reflect and set goals, but I'd like to offer some direction so that you can pursue resolutions that you can be successful at and that will make you healthier and happier. My former self was quite insecure (that's putting it mildly) and would always strive to lose weight.  No matter what weight I started the year off as, I wanted to weigh less.  In January I'd obsess over my eating habits, adopt the latest fad diet, and push myself to workout, but eventually I would grow frustrated or hungry and give up.  What I didn't know, was that I was setting the wrong goal.  In my early twenties I decided to shift my focus off of changing my exterior and instead focus on what's inside.  Instead of counting calories and obsessing over weight, I decided to pursue self-love and change the way I felt about myself.  I wanted to feel good in my body, no matter what size I ended up at and I was amazed at how that shift made adopting a healthy lifestyle so much easier.

We respond better to love than hate.  Motivating ourselves with punishment, mind games, guilt, negative thoughts, and deprivation just doesn't work.  It creates more obsession and gives more power to our negative thoughts.  It's a downward spiral that I was stuck in for a long time.  Every year when a new year is around the corner, I choose to use it as a time to reflect instead of time to riddle myself with expectations.  It's a time for me to look back on the previous year, acknowledge the growth I've achieved, and express gratitude for the gifts and lessons of that year.  It's also a time for me to set achievable goals for myself and to look forward to future challenges I'd like to overcome. Every year deepening my love for myself is a focus.

Self-love is a term I use constantly, but I realize that isn't a concept that is at the forefront of everyone's mind, so I'll explain what that term means to me.  I have this belief that love is a powerful tool.  Love is more than warm feelings and kind gestures, it is the thoughts we think and the actions we use.  I believe that all of our negative habits stem from some area in our lives where we need some love, nurturing, and attention.  By focusing on giving to ourselves more and nurturing these parts of us, we're able to pursue a healthier lifestyle more effortlessly.

I think it's important to note how hard it is to retrain ourselves to take care of ourselves.  Many of us, and this was very true for me, have a hard time putting ourselves first because it feels selfish.  It's okay to focus on yourself, in fact, it is when we ourselves are taken care of that we are able to give the most to others.  A lot of my clients tell me they have been wanting to get massages sooner, but it gets put on the back burner.  This is so common.  Whether it's taking the time to do something that's good for us or choosing to spend money on something that we want or need, it's easy to let these things slip through the cracks.  I'm asking you to bring awareness to the ways in your life that you do this and to choose to take care of yourself next time.

Right now, today, is an opportunity for you to make a commitment to feel deserving and worthy of self-love.  To show yourself this by nourishing your body with healthy foods, getting hydrated, finding ways to move, nurturing yourself with a bath, a book, a movie, a walk, a massage, surrounding yourself with loved ones that help and support you, asking for help if you need it, etc.  This year make resolutions that support you.  That support your journey to becoming a happier and healthier individual.  You deserve it and the world will be better for it.

I made commitment to love myself years ago and I still choose to make it a priority as it's just as important today.  The more I love myself the more I transform inside and out.  It's a constant journey and is equally challenging and rewarding, but it's the best decision I've ever made.  You can learn more about my transition here.

I know first hand how important support is when choosing a healthier lifestyle.  Starting this January I will be offering Wellness Coaching and Consulting Services to anyone who may need some help on their path to wellness. Click here to find out more.