Updated: Dec 16, 2020
As a health and fitness coach, I love the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. Even though I commit to the same resolutions year after year, I do so shamelessly because I know that the path to health comes from recommitting again and again. Want to join me and the millions of others using the New Year as a catalyst for re-commitment? Feel free to take my resolutions as your own and modify to fit your needs:
1. I resolve to rest. It may surprise you to see “rest” instead of “exercise” first on the resolution list of a fitness coach, but the reality is that getting quality sleep is the single most important thing a person can do for their health. For one thing, as far as physical fitness goes, it’s during rest when strength-building occurs. Read that again. Yup, it’s true. Let’s break it down: during exercise, micro-tears are created in the muscle. This is good because the muscle fiber that grows to repair the tear makes the muscle bigger and stronger. However, without the rest phase, you are just continually tearing down the muscle, not giving it a chance to repair, and are therefore missing a crucial part of the strength-building process.
Sleep is also essential for mental well-being because it helps improve concentration, memory, and mood. Besides, since nearly everyone comes out of the holiday season unrested and wiped out, I would argue that it is an unreal expectation to think anyone is going to wake up on January 1st ready to embrace a new exercise routine. So, take a few rest days after the holiday, and continue to revisit rest days throughout the year, guilt-free.
2. I resolve to rejuvenate. We often see “rest and rejuvenate” listed together, but these are very different things worthy of listing separately. Sure, sometimes I rejuvenate by resting; but more often, rejuvenation emerges through doing something that feeds my soul. For me, this means snowboarding in the winter and hiking in the summer. Whatever it is for you, carving out self-nourishing “me-time” at least once per week will lead the path to a more purpose-filled and engaged life in the new year.
3. I resolve to move my body out of love. I am passionate about exercise because I know that movement is medicine. Exercise activates endorphins (chemicals in the brain that make you happier), so you have to show up to find your happiest, healthiest, and best self. I also know that energy begets energy. In other words: putting energy into your workouts will result in more sustained energy to help you thrive in all areas of your life.
So, I move my body as often as possible. However, I am crystal clear that exercise should never be a punishment for what I ate or my weight on the scale; because I know that moving my body out of love creates enrichment in my life that transcend fitness.
What helped me learn to move my body out of love was simply finding an exercise modality that I loved, which started when I took a Zumba© class for the first time. I was hooked, and I wanted more exercise that felt like playtime. So, I started practicing aerial arts (aerial silks, aerial hoop, and pole fitness), and, eventually, I opened an aerial fitness studio in Kalispell, Montana. Women now have access to aerial fitness in most of the larger cities across Montana; so, if aerial fitness is of interest to you, I encourage you to check out the options near you. (Shameless plug: if you are reading this in Kalispell, MT; you are on the right website. To view our schedule of classes, please visit: www.levitationnation.org/schedule.)
Whatever exercise you choose, finding one that you love will work magic into your commitments to your workouts and is guaranteed to awaken a self-love within.
4. I resolve to nourish my body with real food. Sure, it can be a real challenge to stay away from nutritionally void, processed foods in this day age. Fortunately, I have a solution: the actionable route that helps me is setting aside a day for food prep each week. I wash and cut fruits and veggies, make a soup, and cook chicken in the crockpot nearly every Sunday. Adopting a food prep day will not only improve the quality of the food you are putting into your body, but it will also deepen your connection to more intentional living in 2021.
Also, on the topic of nourishing the body with real food, I will say that I cut alcohol out of my life nearly eleven years ago, and it has been a game-changer for living a healthy and purpose-filled life in so many ways:
Calories from alcohol = vanished.
Calories from bingeing on food while drunk on alcohol = disappeared.
Life goals achieved while not in bed sleeping off a hangover = skyrocketed.
I’m not saying you have to follow my all-or-nothing approach to drinking. If a glass of wine once in a while nourishes you as part of the “enjoyment of the human experience” kind-of-way, you do you! But make a point to drink mindfully to enhance the enjoyment factor as well as circumvent accidentally slamming down three margaritas before dinner time.
After all of the uncertainty and turmoil we saw in 2020, I know that women across Montana are ready to rise up and courageously embrace the new opportunities that await in 2021. This year is our year to manifest and fully embrace the possibilities of a purpose-filled life with a healthy mind and body. Happy New Year and Best Wishes.
Article by Mindy Cochran. Mindy is the founder of Kalispell’s Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catchphrase “fitness is fun” is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. Mindy believes that “The Real Levitation Experience” lies within elevating your health & wellness. Mindy loves to share the expertise she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer and life coach. For more about Mindy, please visit www.levitationnation.org/mindy.