Over the last two years, I’ve experienced a few noteworthy changes in my life. And with the new year now commencing, I thought I’d share my 2012 physical and emotional healthy lifestyle goals.
I embarked on my weight loss journey with excellent success, losing 50 lbs. in under six months. I also improved my diet, for a time eating about 90 percent fresh foods. I was finally feeling really good about myself, physically and mentally. But by the summer of 2010, my face broke out terribly, which would last for about a year before I cleared up. While it left me physically scarred, it had a much more profound effect on my psyche and in the way I treated and perceived myself. Thankfully, in these past few months I’ve slowly begun to get back to the woman I once was, and feel as though I’ve come through all of this stronger, more confident, with a better attitude towards myself and towards life, and with a better idea of who I want to become.
1. Regular and balanced exercise. When I first hit the gym in 2010, I went from 190 lbs. to 145. This was definitely a fantastic achievement, but looking back on that time I do feel that my approach to exercise was far too strict and overdone. Exercising shouldn’t feel like a chore or a contest, it should be a time to give yourself an invigorating rest from the tediousness of work or school, and it’s a nice time to reflect on things going on in your life. A normal gym workout for me now is to spend 30-40 minutes on cardio machines and another 10-20 on weight machines, focusing on the upper-body machines. With each exercise, I make sure to alternate the levels and programs that I do to prevent a plateau effect, and for weights I alter how many reps and sets I do.
2. Eat better. My diet as of late has been quite poor. While 90 percent fresh food seems a little too restrictive to jump right into again, I do hope that over the year my dietary habits will lean closer to this ratio than they currently do. I’d like to make sure that I keep my desert and junk food intake down, without completely cutting these out of my diet. I’m a very lazy eater, preferring to snack instead of preparing actual meals; junk food often happens to be a much easier food to snack on! My goal is to get myself into the habit of reaching for things like fruits, veggies, nuts and protein-rich fresh ingredients.
3. Spend more time with friends. Since high school ended in 2009, I’ve only made an effort to hang out with a few of my high school friends, and only a few times. Were it not for my one friend attending university with me, I may not have had any actual contact with friends during my first year at university last year! I’ve definitely made some improvements recently, though. This past December, I went to a strip club with two friends from high school, went to a movie with the aforementioned friend and went shopping with my mum. I’ve also gone out on my own a lot more instead of just staying inside all day. This may not seem like much to many of you, but for me this is definitely something worth celebrating!
4. Put more effort into family and family-centered events. While I love my family, I don’t really love being around them. Like my dad, I’m a very quiet individual, only really coming out of my shell around my friends. I’ve often made excuses to not go to family get-togethers, and when I would go I’d usually just sit in a corner and listen to my iPod. I’ve slowly started to feel more comfortable around my immediate family again, with small gestures such as joking around with my dad or showing my mum items I’ve purchased while shopping. For 2012, I do hope to be able to not skip any family events unless required. I may not feel completely comfortable, but in the end I think it’s worth it just to see my family happy.
5. Sleep better. I think I’ve been sleep-deprived since 2010. I can always feel the difference when I get solid rest, especially over long periods of time. I always feel more energetic, less grumpy, less irritable and it definitely shows in my face and skin. While staying up late to marathon Primeval may sound like a great plan, I do often feel bad that I let myself stay up so late when I find myself sleeping in until past noon. With better sleep also comes easier exercise, so there really are no down-sides to this goal!
6. Take more risks and be more proactive.This will be the hardest goal to accomplish, but it’s one that I consistently wish I’d give a chance. I’m a very shy person, but as I’ve already noted I am starting to come out of my shell more. In the last few years I’ve found that I am actually able to handle small talk with strangers without wanting to burst into tears (I can only be thankful that such a response has never occurred). I want to be able to go up to people and initiate conversation — I’d like to be the one putting effort into forming friendships. Even more important, I’d like to be able to find the courage to make the first move when I am romantically interested in someone else instead of just sitting and hoping for them to make a move. I do lack some initiative, and I’m really quite sick of it. I don’t want to just sit there waiting, I want to take chances.
Do you have any lifestyle goals for the new year? Any tips on how to achieve some of these goals a little easier?