One of the best things about New Year’s is a – seemingly – fresh start.
At 11:59 pm, on December 31st, the anticipation builds. The New Year is here. Good things are coming your way. This is your year.
The excitement culminates when the clock strikes midnight. Everyone counts down. At midnight, you kiss your sweetheart, if you’re lucky, and toast to the New Year.
Then at 12:01, reality kind of starts to set in. You go back to what you were doing a few minutes ago, start stumbling home from the bar, or if you’re like me, go to bed.
But no matter what you do, the next morning you wake up and it’s just another day. January 2nd you go back to work or school or your regular routine and you’re saddled with the same responsibilities you have a majority of the year.
And if you’re someone who jumped on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, well now it’s time to put up or shut up. It’s time to carry out your plan.
(You do have a plan, right?)
If you made a New Year’s resolution, chances are it’s because you want to get better at something. Maybe you want to feel better by losing weight or improving your nutrition.
Maybe you want to become more disciplined, and have committed to daily activities to improve your mind, your business, or your habits.
Or maybe you haven’t made a resolution yet. Maybe you’re not sure exactly what you want to do, or how you want to improve yourself.
Whatever camp you find yourself in, I’ve put together a list of the most beneficial, yet simple things that you can do this year to help improve your mind, body, business, and get better in 2018.
I call them mini-resolutions because sometimes you don’t have to go for the home run. Sometimes – in fact, most of the time – it’s the small, incremental, simple things that take you the furthest.
If you do nothing else this year, for the love of the old gods and the new, get more sleep. In my opinion, there’s nothing that will improve more facets of your life than getting better quality Zzzzzz’s.
I’ve written about the importance of sleep before, but here’s the important stuff:
Sleep is the time of day when your body releases tons of key hormones, including testosterone and growth hormone. These hormones are instrumental in helping you build and maintain muscle, and lose fat. Sleep also helps regulate the release of leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol. For a complete rundown on why all these hormones are important, check out this article on the ten most important hormones you need to know about.
Sleep is also the time when your body recovers. Being chronically underslept will make it more difficult to recover from intense training sessions, build muscle, and lose fat.
Sleep helps manage depression and reduce anxiety.
As far as things you can do to improve your overall health, more sleep and better nutrition are neck-and-neck with each other. But, I would give the edge to more sleep.
Improve Your Nutrition
If more sleep is 1a., then better nutrition is 1b. One common thing I hear from almost all my clients is an improved focus on nutrition doesn’t just help them reach their physique goals, but also improves how they feel, and their overall quality of life.
If you’re new to the whole “eating better” thing, I would start simple. Each meal, fill half your plate with high-fiber veggies, and lean protein. Eliminate liquid calories and mindless snacking.
I’d also encourage you to start tracking your intake via an app like MyFitnessPal. Studies have shown we can underestimate the number of calories we eat by almost 50%, so if you want to look and feel better, tracking is a good place to start.
If you’re someone who does all that, and still is struggling, hire a coach – preferably me.
But even if it’s not me, having someone – another set of eyes – to guide you in the right direction, and most importantly, keep you accountable, will do more for you that even the “best” diet plan.
Yes, even I have a coach to keep me accountable and provide feedback on my nutrition. It’s seriously one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
People think that exercise is the key to weight loss.
Don’t believe me? Just look at all the people who join gyms come January 1st.
This is false, however. No amount of exercise can negate poor nutrition.
But exercise and movement are still extremely important. Yes, it does help you burn calories, but doing it simply for the burn is a fool’s errand.
Even if it’s just aiming for 10,000 steps per day, and eventually graduating to strength training 3-4 days per week, movement is key to improving quality of life, feeling better, getting stronger, having less pain, and yes, looking better.
If you’re relatively inactive, don’t think you have to jump into hitting the gym seven days per week. Start small, even with 30 minutes of something a few times a week. Then as you get more comfortable, start adding more activity, like strength training.
The reason being, strength training can help increase flexibility and joint strength; reduce your risk for osteoporosis while increasing bone density and strength, as well as aid in fat loss while increasing and helping to maintain muscle mass.
And, if you’re looking for a way to move better, eat better, and look better – all in one place – I’d highly encourage you to check out my free 5-Day Fat Loss program.
In the world of streaming TV, audiobooks, and Kindles, I think the art of sitting down with a good book – where you can actually turn the pages – sadly is not as common as it used to be.
There’s something about having a book in your hand that’s different than anything else. And that’s why I encourage more people to find a few minutes in their day to read an actual book.
Whether it’s for knowledge, relaxation, or entertainment, books have been around for centuries and will continue to stand the test of time for one reason: because the experience of the written word and the pictures your mind forms as you read those words – and where those words take you – is a unique experience to you and only you.
A reasonable goal I feel is 10-20 minutes per day, or a book per month; which is really not all that much. And I don’t know about you, but I waste waaaaaay more than 20 minutes per day on things like Facebook and TV.
Look, I get it. There’s a lot of great TV on nowadays. It’s entertaining. It’s a great thing to do with your significant other, or talk about with friends.
I’m not asking you to stop watching Game of Thrones, football, Shameless, or whatever else you watch.
But do yourself a favor and stop with the mindless TV. The TV you have on in the background, just to have it on; just because “there’s nothing else to do.” Read, talk more with your boyfriend/girlfriend, or do something productive.
Seriously, one of the best things I’ve done in the past few months if there’s nothing I want to watch is turn off the TV. The silence is actually very relaxing. It helps me be more productive, more creative, and has improved my quality of sleep.
Remove Toxic People
This one is tough, because often times these toxic people could be family or people you’ve known for a long time. Hell, they could even be your boyfriend/girlfriend.
But, it’s also important for your health, sanity, and success to either remove these people from your life, or at least severely limit your time with them.
Toxic people are fairly easy to spot. They’re the people with whom you make, not poor decisions (we all make those), but legitimately bad decisions. The kind of decisions that move you further away from your goals, not closer.
Toxic people are the people who always have something to complain about. Things are always negative, or “gloom and doom.”
Toxic people put down the legitimate success of others. Toxic people want more people to be like them, because their life isn’t what they want. Misery loves company, as they say.
Now, a lot of these people don’t do this intentionally. But that doesn’t mean you’re required to pander to them or spend an exorbitant amount of time around them.
You are under no obligation to anyone who does support or tries to put you down for attempting to better yourself. End of story.
So, if your success or you trying to improve your health, your mind, your life, etc makes them uncomfortable, limit the amount of time spent with these people as much as possible.
Have More Sex
I shouldn’t need to convince you of this one, but I will anyway.
Help ward of colds and the flu
Reduce depression and stress
Boost cognitive function
Act as a pain-reliever
Reduce risk of heart disease
Boost testosterone and lower blood pressure
Fight prostate cancer
Reduce risk complications during pregnancy
Not only that, but couples with a strong, healthy sex life, report stronger, healthier relationships.
Plus, I mean, it’s sex. So…
Stop Being “Busy”
We’re all busy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say they aren’t busy. I’m busy, you’re busy…too busy to make it to the gym, to eat right, to meal prep, to read, to get more sleep, etc, etc, etc.
Look, I get it. We all have things that need our attention. Our families, children, jobs, errands, spouses, businesses, chores, responsibilities…
But what about you? What about taking time for the most important person in your life…yourself.
Here’s the harsh reality: If you don’t think you have time to do things for yourself – things that will improve your life, your health, and subsequently, the things you can do for others – you need to re-prioritize. Everyone and everything should not come before you. Not all the time anyway.
If you want to get in shape, but don’t have the time…if you want to start a business or side hustle, but are too busy…re-prioritize. Audit your day, and look at where you can make changes.
Maybe it’s less TV.
Maybe it’s taking an hour on a Sunday to prep meals for the week, so you don’t have to hit a drive through on the way home from work or picking your kids up.
Maybe instead of stopping for drinks after work, you head straight home or hit a coffee shop to work on that business you’ve been wanting to launch.
I guarantee you, if you take a hard look at your day, there are changes you can make in order to put yourself and your goals first, more often.
Now, I won’t lie, some of these changes may not be easy to make. They might be uncomfortable even. But real growth is almost never comfortable at first.
Becoming a Better You
One of the biggest mistake I find clients making when tackling a new fitness plan is trying to be perfect.
But the thing is, you don’t need to be perfect. And trying to be perfect actually does more harm than good.
What you need to focus on is becoming better; and making small, incremental improvements every single day. THAT is how you’re going to get where you want to go. And incorporating one, two, or all of these mini-resolutions into your 2018 can help you get there, and become a better you.
Want a step-by-step guide to building a better body in 2018? Or are you cool with staying the same? If you’re ready for a change, check out my free 5-Day Fat Loss email course.