Today is the first day of the new year, a time we often reflect on what we want from the year ahead. As I was contemplating the direction I wanted my life to go, I wanted to review where I have been. What were my goals for my life last year? Had I made resolutions and had I attained the goals I had set? Last year, I remembered that I had not set any resolutions on New Year Day, as I reflected that each year I basically have a similar goal: I want to be happier, healthier, and more vibrantly alive. It is my hope that by being my healthiest, happiest and most present self I can contribute the most to my world. But last year, I realized that such broad goals are hard to actualize.They are also hard to measure when you are truly attaining them.
I decided to focus on two super simple health and happiness game changers: stay better hydrated and move in ways that increase my strength and flexibility. These were two major things I could do to support my health and mood that were free, simple and reaped big rewards. Still these ideas of being hydrated and moving in strengthening ways are broad and big goals, and goals that I had flubbed before. It seemed the answer was to choose goals that were support these ideals in a way that was really simple, attainable and measurable. Rather than try to make my goal of drinking all the water I should in a day…probably 8-10 cups…I just focused on drinking 1 cup of water first thing in the morning before anything else. It seemed such a small, simple goal but one I could possibly actually implement. Also a goal I could measure and see whether I was doing it or not. I found ways to reinforce the habit. I used my special copper cup I bought in India and made a ritual of drinking the water first thing. As it turns out, drinking that cup first thing did make me drink more water through out the day. This water ritual also seemed to influence me in that I drank less coffee and enjoyed the coffee more. I am happy to say that I turned my simple goal into a real live healthy daily habit. I drink my cup of water first thing in the morning and it helps me want to drink water more for the rest of the day.
The next lofty goal was to be in better fitness shape. You know how it goes, I wanted to be stronger, sleeker, and more flexible. Again that goal was way too broad to be easily attainable. Looking at my life and history, the biggest impediments to my exercising regularly is having and making the time. I tend to like being active once I get moving. I am happy to do stuff that is fun but found that any exercise for the point of exercise would usually bore or stress me. I had begun to love the kettlebells and how easy they were to add into my life. I found the kettlebells fun but I was worried about burning out. I wanted to make the exercise a regular part of my life, but knew it was easy for me to only workout once, maybe twice, a week. I also wanted to get into a habit that I could legitimately do the rest of my life. I wanted it to be sustainable instead of dramatic and then drop off. The tabatas seemed like the perfect solution: they gave me a quick way to get my exercise done. My attainable goal was to try to move at least 6 days a week in strengthening ways for at least a 4 minute Tabata. My workouts could go longer, but 5-10 minute workout counted as long as I went intense. I have found I can do super effective workouts in under 10 minutes and continue to improve my strength and flexibility. I have found that it is not only a very do-able way to get my exercise in, but one of the best uses of 5-10 minutes ever. I meet that goal as well, and have documented the process here in this blog over the last year. As a matter of fact writing this blog is one of the ways I have tried to keep myself honest and on track.
To recap, I realized I needed to set simpler goals if I wanted to reach them. I set the goals of drinking one cup of water a day, first thing in the morning; and to do 5-10 minutes of strengthening and functional exercise with intensity, 6 days a week. Simple goals. I met both goals and found then to be very helpful towards my underlying goals of being my healthiest, happiest and most alive and authentic self. I like the idea that simple but powerful change can start to exponentially create transformation. I did not set out with the goal to write something almost daily, but then I got excited by the idea that someone else might be exercising with me and just that thought was enough to make me write every day. I was half way through the year before I realized what I was doing. Then I started to wonder why it was exercise, something that I don’t know nearly as much about as other subjects, that had become the focus of my blog. But the answer is obvious, I was trying to teach and train myself. I thought if I can do this, everyone can.
Thank you dear readers for going on this journey with me. I hope some of you were inspired to move more and to realize how to workout smarter. I hope some of you implemented your own healthy habits that support you living your best life!
Today I felt so sleepy and not very motivated but I managed a short workout of a tabata of russian kettlebell swings with helicopter twists during the 10 second rest. So it was 8 sets with 20 seconds of kb swings and 10 seconds of helicopter twists. The helicopter twists were the rest. Next I did a tabata of kb upright rows, into a goblet squat, into an overhead press for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds rest, for 8 sets. You could substitute squats for the kb swings and burpees for the complex move in the second tabata if you don’t have kettlebells.