When a new year rolls around, doesn't it feel like you can conquer just about anything? When 2014 hit, our readers tweeted in New Year's resolutions they were hoping to stick to and achieve this year.
Taylor Banks (@MstaylorBanks) tweeted, "My 2014 Resolution is to stop saying 'no' so much and start taking more chances." Meanwhile, Karin Michelle (@thebufalobeauty) tweeted she wanted to "Truly find what's best for me, stop trying to fix what's not. Get published. Revise career. Live, love, learn."
Many more of our readers tweeted that they wanted to take chances, start fresh, try new things, and essentially be better this year in some way than they've ever been before.
For ways to do that, we chatted with beWell Founder, holistic nutritionist and health coach Kelly LeVeque, who gave us her tips on how to create and achieve attainable goals, go for the things you want and more.
Check out Kelly LeVeque's tips on how to be a better you in 2014!
1. Set SMART Goals: "Pushing yourself to attain goals is a great way to build confidence in your abilities and self esteem," LeVeque said. "When counseling clients about self-improvement we work within the constraints of SMART goals: they must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely." To do this, try to figure out what makes you feel like a better person, whether that's improved sleep, drinking more water, working out, meditating, calling a friend or eating healthy. LeVeque advises her clients to create a few attainable SMART goals and execute them, like "schedule and attend a spin class every Monday morning at 6 a.m. for 50 minutes" or "set my alarm 30 minutes early and meditate Friday morning for 25 minutes using the Mindfulness app."
2. Stop talking and start doing: When you're finding it difficult to try something new, the problem generally is procrastination, LeVeque said. To conquer this, pre-commit, set SMART goals, give it 20 minutes or visualize. "Sundays are a great day for planning and prepping," LeVeque continued. For example, "Pre-commit by scheduling all your workouts for the week online and blocking out the times in your calendar. If you can sign up for the class online, pay for it and find a workout buddy to join you increase your chances of working harder and not canceling."
"The same goes for nutrition," she added. "Look at the week and set a SMART goal to cook three dinners. The goals would include action steps like shopping for the food, prepping the ingredients and scheduling the nights you will eat each meal." Or, "give it 20 minutes," she continued. "It is proven that when we commit to doing a task for just 20 minutes, more than 50 percent of the time we will follow through with completing the task." Visualizing the task can also help. "Imagine how it will feel when you complete it and how it will empower you as a person," she said. This can help you overcome the fear and anxiety to start.
3. Ask yourself the tough questions: "What are your passions and talents? Where are you now and where do you want to be in 6 weeks or 12 months or 5 years? Journaling these answers can be a great first step to get the thoughts out of your head and on to paper," LeVeque said. Next, research what it will take to get there. "If you want to go vegan, find out what it means to be Paleo. If you want to take the step into a new career, interview people who have exceled in that position and someone who left it for a new path. What does it take? What do you sacrifice?" Make informed decisions and then take action.
4. Get physically and mentally ready: If you're gearing up for a career change and heading to an interview, "work on your body language, stand tall and open your body to the world!," LeVeque said. "Job interview studies discovered that power posers were the most favored candidates because they exhibited body language that conveyed that they felt comfortable, confident, passionate, and enthusiastic while being captivating and authentic."
5. Combat daily stress: Working actively to remove the stress from your life can also be a good way to get going on the things you want to achieve. "Stress reduction is not a one size fits all formula," LeVeque said, but there are a few techniques she recommends to help her clients to start their days.
Meditate via Chakra Meditation--10 to 20 minutes of spiritual alignment—to reaffirm your belief in your abilities. Or, use basic breath mediation. She also recommends Artist's Way Morning Pages--three pages of writing about anything and everything that crosses your mind in the morning. This exercise can provide clarity, comfort and help you prioritize your day. Lastly get moving. Start the day with a run, power walk, yoga class, etc. to de-stress. Even doing 15 minutes of exercise in the morning can "move the negative unaligned thoughts from your mind."