[FREE VIDEO] AHH… Neck & Shoulder Relief

[FREE VIDEO] AHH… Neck & Shoulder Relief

Neck & shoulders hurt, neck tight, headache, jaw pain?

You are not alone, we exercise and work out to get better or at least maintain our fitness. In the yoga community, many have forgotten about release as a major part of healthy and harmony in the body.
Join in for a detailed step-by-step 25 min yoga session dedicated solely to the neck and shoulders, stretched the right way.
Sit in a chair, on the floor, or combine them into yoga postures.
Today is the day you start to feel better!

Other Articles Related to Neck & Shoulder Relief

Stretch Your Neck For Instant Relaxation

5 Things You Should Be Doing to Help Your Back Pain

Release Your Shoulders | Shoulders & Upper Body Video

One-Armed Side Push-Up for Sculpted Arms & Shoulders Video

The Down Dog and Puppy Dog Blog: What You Are Missing

The Down Dog and Puppy Dog Blog: What You Are Missing

This video was created because of my yoga former teacher training students, 
may you never stop learning.

The Down Dog and Puppy Dog Blog: What You Are Missing

I never really gave much thought to Down Dog. I mean, it was a pose that I could do for the most part. Sure my shoulders were weak, and I felt a bit shaky. Overall, my Dog was down. 

Well, at least I thought. I believe there is a part of your brain that stops thinking, opening itself up to learning when we think we got it. That was me in Down Dog. 

As my shoulders got stronger to hold the weight of my body, I began to build patterns to get the pose done. Patterns that left me avoiding critical areas that I could most certainly be liberating via The Dog. 

A few years after entering into the world of teaching yoga, I soon discovered I was missing some significant aspects of training in the asana department. I mean, I knew the basics. This pose looks like this, so let’s shove your body into that pose. Amen. (insert sarcasm) 

Downward Facing Dog Pose with Hope Zvara

An entirely new world opened up to me when I stepped out of the yoga world to learn more about the body. Like really learn about how the body moves, why things happen, why body parts hurt and how to unwind the body with cues and directions beyond “if it hurts don’t do it” and “honor your body.” Which are both beautiful and sound cues, but I wanted to understand? I wanted my students to understand so that they and I could take back ownership over our bodies and start to truly mend injuries and issues that don’t ever seem to go away. 

I took training from The Gray’s Institute. From Katy Bowman, Leslee Bender, Anatomy Trains, and got my hands on all I could find from the teachings of Dr. Stewart McGill, to name a few. 

I first started to apply these concepts to my practice and saw a remarkable difference — less pain in my shoulders and lower back. The longstanding stability issues in my pelvis began to improve, and for the first time, I truly understood where the core was and how to access it. 

There was a time I would walk around the room while teaching and see a student’s shoulders what I now know as “internally rotated.” I’d attempt to grab onto his (or her) upper arms and roll them out. And when they didn’t even move a millimeter, I’d walk away pretending like that was how it was supposed to be. If you are a teacher you can relate. I wanted to help; I saw the issue but didn’t know exactly how to adjust the pose or how to “fix” it. Like why didn’t that work? Why didn’t they move? What was I missing? 

A lot of this video is to explain that. One’s shoulders are acting immobile and how to begin to correct this. 

How to do downward facing dog pose blog by hope zvara

The day I was introduced to Puppy Dog in a new way, my entire teachings revolving around Down Dog and shoulder issues changed. 

All-day long we sit, we are internally rotated at the shoulder, collapsed in the chest, and limited in mobility between the shoulder and the rib cage. So no wonder when we come to yoga and pop up into Down Dog with little notice and warm-up, we are in my mind (we could be) doing more harm than good. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO

It is my observation that Down Dog and Puppy Dog’s focus is NOT the hamstrings as they often take over the pose. Using cues to press their heels down (which is fine and dandy) and walk their Dog as the first cue in the pose. The focus, first and foremost, is the spine and shoulders, hamstrings, and calves. 

 Downward Dog is us upside down. And we should approach it in such away. 

If your hips are tight before a hippie pose, we work them. The same should be valid for the shoulders. 

Meet Puppy Dog Pose. Puppy Dog is not a fancy pose and most often looked at as a modification or lesser variation. But do not be fooled, my friend. Puppy Dog will expose everything Down Dog lets you avoid. 

Puppy Dog Pose with Hope Zvara

Puppy Dog assertively guides your shoulders and arms into their proper position- external rotation. It’s that fantastic stretch across the upper back and gives you back that full range of motion a little bit by little bit that Down Dog has been allowing you to skip over for all these years. 

Puppy Dog gives you that broadening, lift, and support we struggle to find in Down Dog. And when our Down Dog’s spine looks like a macaroni noodle releasing the hamstrings and bending the knees is the action step we want to cue. See, when the arms are at full extension, and the legs everything is pulled to its max and the spine gets caught in the middle. You end up with a rounded back, tucked pelvis and shoulder issues waiting to arise. Oh snap! I didn’t even mention proper leg rotation. GAME CHANGER! 

As you will find out in this video, by releasing some of the tension and adequately positioning the shoulders, you get an entirely different experience. One that in my mind is wayyyyyy better than the stuff I was experiencing earlier. 

Stiffness, not your issue? Watch the video and find out how to build stability by doing Down Facing Dog and Puppy Dog the right way. 

But honestly, whether you watch this video or not. The Benefits of Down Dog and Puppy Dog are out of this world amazing! 

Benefits of Down Dog and Puppy Dog:

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Energizes the body
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Helps reduce the symptoms of menopause
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis
  • Tones the arms and legs
  • Opens the chest
  • Tones the arms
  • Tones the core
  • Releases the spine and back
  • Builds strength in hands, wrists, shoulders

 

Check out Hope’s other blog: 5 Things You Should be Doing to Help Back Pain

 Join Hope’s Online Community: Mindful Movement & Yoga Studio 

Subscribe to Hope’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/hopezvara

Navigating Stress In Life

Everyday life can be stressful. 

Job demands, relationships, life events, and social media drama are daily occurrences. These things can often have you feeling like you are traveling down a never-ending, bumpy road called LIFE. It’s easy to see how stress can suck you in and not let you go.

While stress can help some people perform under pressure, too much bad stress can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health. It’s common for most people to focus on the negative side of stress, but sometimes stress can actually be a good thing. Good stress can motivate a person and help them achieve more goals. BUT how can a person tell the difference between good stress and bad stress?

Good Stress vs. Bad Stress

Good Stress

Good stress, often called eustress, is stress that pushes a person to accomplish more. It helps a person achieve those hard-to-reach goals. Good stress also helps a person learn new things, adapt to change and engage in creative thinking. In a situation where a person is experiencing good stress, they always have control over the outcome of the issue.

Bad Stress

Bad stress, often referred to chronic stress, can slow a person down and prevent them from doing the things that they need to do. It can often lead us down a winding road of helplessness and despair. Bad stress can be things like staying in an unhealthy relationship long-term, living with a difficult person, continual high paced (stressful) workplace, taking on too many things and continuously unable to complete them. That continual saying “yes”, when you should be saying “no”. When the body feels like it is under too much bad stress, symptoms such as excessive sweating, anxiety, headaches and rapid breathing begin to appear. 

Managing Stress

As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced and content. However, sometimes I fail to implement these strategies into my own life. I take on too many things, try to please everyone else, and neglect my own personal health and self-care. It’s a downward spiral and before I know it, my daily life is fueled by bad stress. Can you relate? 

Unfortunately, the bad news is that stress is inevitable. It’s just a part of daily life. The good news is that stress IS manageable. In order to manage the stress in your life, you must relax your body and mind. 

Here are 3 ways to manage stress so that you can live a healthier, stress-managed life.

1. Take a Break

When I say take a break, I don’t mean a break where you are scrolling through social media or watching videos on your phone. I’m talking about unplugging and walking away from all the distractions in your life. Do something for five to fifteen minutes that requires very little of you other than for you to just be yourself and to be present. Sit outside, take a quick five or ten-minute walk, play a quick game of “Go Fish” with the kids, or engage in meditation. Counting Breath for Stress Relief & Relaxation is a guided meditation that helps focus the mind and relax the body.

2. Put Away Your Electronic Devices

If you think about it, we live in a world where we have immediate access to almost anything we need. Instant information is available to us with the simple touch of an app on our phones or tablets. But at what expense? Being over connected has created a huge epidemic in our world today. An epidemic that has produced anxious, stressed, and technology-addicted teens and young adults that are not ok with doing nothing or being alone. The only way to break that cycle and bring more Zen into your life is to put the electronic devices down and slowly back away. Have a no-phone rule at the dinner table, limit screen time, keep your device in your pocket or bag when you are out with friends–whatever you need to do to stop looking at your device–do it. You’ll be glad you did.

3. Be Positive

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? If it’s half-empty, it’s time to change your thinking. Keeping a positive attitude, shifting your negative thoughts to positive ones, and keeping your self-talk encouraging are great ways to reduce stress. For example, instead of thinking “I can’t believe I made the same mistake AGAIN” think “Everybody makes mistakes. It’s ok. It is something that I can fix.” Developing an attitude of gratitude toward the people, things, and events in your life is also a good way to reduce stress. Write it down or just take time to tell the people in your life that you appreciate them–trust me, it goes a long way! Finally, smiling and laughing also helps to reduce stress. I guess laughter really is the best medicine. 

AND if you are ready to get crystal clear on your life priorities, health needs, and how to achieve your goals, my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass is for you! In this sixteen-week program, we cover three key areas: Breath, Body and Belief. All three of which are necessary for sustainable success!

Hopefully, these three tips will help you begin to walk down the path of life a little less stressed and with a bit more positivity. 

5 Things You Should Be Doing to Help Your Back Pain

Back Pain. Two words that most of us know all too well. If you’ve never experienced back pain you are one of the lucky ones.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 8 of 10 people will have an episode of back pain over the course of their lifetime. 

I know what you are thinking– “Thanks for that great news, Hope.”  Well, there IS a silver lining, I promise. While preventing back pain completely may not be possible, there ARE things that you can do to help to reduce your risk. 

Check out these five simple but effective back pain prevention and relief tips.

1. Stretch It Out

Addressing your hip flexors is vital to getting to the bottom of lower back pain. Hip flexors are an area of the body that is often misused and misunderstood. Hip flexors are a skeletal muscle group that allows us to move our thighs up and down. Of this group, the largest is the psoas (so-az). The psoas is a muscle that runs from the inside of the upper femur through the inner hip, passes through the abdomen, and attaches to the last rib and to the lower vertebrae. Spanning 16 inches in length, this guy is the longest and thickest muscle in the body.

Try this deep-release stretch to help restore the tone and function in the psoas.

2. Strengthen Your Core

Your core strength is vital in maintaining back support and reducing back pain. One of the primary aims of core exercise training is to prevent injuries that can occur if you don’t properly support the spine. Among the key benefits of core strength is the ability to reduce back pain. In fact, it is weak and unbalanced core muscles that are linked to low back pain. However, not many people truly understand where their core is, how to access it and how to safely use it. Join me for 7 minutes to a better, stronger, more functional core! 

3. Try Yoga

Yoga is a mind-body therapy that’s often recommended to treat not only back pain but the stress that accompanies it. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found that yoga was as effective as standard physical therapy for treating moderate to severe chronic low back pain in people in underserved communities. Learn How To Safely and Functionally heal the pain in your lower back, upper back, neck & shoulder with this Follow Along, Instructional Yoga Video.

4. Stop Crunching Your Vertebrae 

And I mean exactly that. As a yoga teacher and educator in core health, I have seen huge success and headway for those who change their approach to back bending. Most of us lean back and call it a backbend, only to leave the back, particularly the lower lumbar and sacrum to suffer. Now that suffering may not be felt today or even in the next year, but that build-up of negative compression over time will eventually lead to an unexpected pain or injury. Utilizing your pelvic floor and leading with your pelvis can allow you to feel a more complete spinal opening and also receive a release in the groin, an area we have muscles attaching in and locating their opposite ends at our lower back and ribs. So stand up, find neutral, activate your pelvic floor and torso circuit and inhale raise your arms and leading with your pelvis lean back. Let your spine, neck and head follow in the action of the pelvis rather than the neck and head flailing back as a means to go deeper.

5. Shift Your Mindset

We as a society (this is just a generalization, not everyone) have a: give it to me now, quick-fix attitude. And that attitude will reflect in our bodies’ responses to healing. If you want to improve flexibility, strength, or heal an injury, we need to start understanding and addressing that those things take time, both as the student and as the teacher to develop and maintain. A little goes a long way. Be detailed in what you are teaching and ask questions as a student. Just getting the movement done is not enough and just because something is hard or you are moving quickly doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  So if your back could talk, what would it say to you?

Following these simple tips can help you alleviate or prevent back pain. However, if you should experience back pain, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign of a more serious condition. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what you should do to find and treat the cause.

Goal Setting in 2020 – Starts Now

Goal Setting in 2020 – Starts Now

2020 is here! And that meals setting your goal(s) starts now!

Let’s do the party dance! 
Yes, sure, you are right… It’s just another day. 
But it doesn’t have to be. You can make 2020 be great! 

GOALS

Do you set goals? 
Do you set goals and are you someone who disciplines oneself to reach them?

Here’s what I discovered after years of feeling like I failed when it came to promises to change my life…

5 Things I Was Doing That Sabotaged My Success:

1. I was trying to change too many things at the same time. 
2. I forgot that I needed to ASK safe people for support
3. I only saw the big goals, I didn’t know how to set or see the small ones. 
4. I’d mess up once and think “failure”.
5. I was afraid to be doing something others around me weren’t. 

This is only a small list. But my thinking was so black and white.

So unrealistic, and unwilling to start small that I just keep stumbling. I had this idea that if I couldn’t “do it” and it be right from the beginning then somehow I was sucking. 

I believe we do this and more as a way to protect ourselves from failure. Because who wants to feel the pain of failure. But what I have come to discover is, the pain of not trying is worse. 

Have you ever been there? Are you there? 

I’ve got news for you…you don’t need to be perfect, but you do need to be honest. And as underwhelming as this might be… starting small goals is a sure fire win to build a new habit, avenue and a finish line that you can feel proud and amazing with! 

So this year- 2020, I’m older, smarter, stronger, and wiser (I think)… And want to share with you what I have done for myself when it comes to reaching my goals.  

My 2020 Jump-start New Year’s Goal Plan: 

1. Revisited my TOP 10 GOALS I had set for myself. 
2. Looked at each and revisited my mini goals that create the road map to get to those goals…. (this is critical). 
3. Asked myself what I NEED to make these happen: scheduled time to workout, yoga, walk.
GET TO BED BY 10PM, Drink 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water EVERY SINGLE DAY! Finally, not scheduling clients in during my family time. 

I know these might seem simple, not that fancy. Or even obvious. But the thing is… For YEARS I never wrote down my goals. 

So I want you to know something today. If you don’t write it down… It’s not going to happen. If you don’t take the time to make a plan, don’t expect your life to have time to experience it. 

Notice what you resist. 
Notice what you tell yourself is dumb, or small. 
Notice what you avoid. 

These are probably, most-likely the VERY things you need to start doing RIGHT NOW!

It’s such a mind game it’s crazy! Don’t wait. 
Stop with the excuses and get to it. 

You don’t need yoga 7 days a week, if you can’t even get to the mat for one. 
You don’t need to stop eating every bad food for you on the planet, if you can’t even get yourself to eat one good food. 
You don’t need a new life, maybe all you need first is a new perspective on your life. 

I believe you can do this. 
I believe that 2020 can be a great year for you. 
I believe that anything truly is possible, but first you have to start telling yourself it is, and showing yourself with steps you can easily get to for a good WIN!

I believe in you… do you believe in you?

Do you have a goal in mind?

Do you want something?

Well what are you waiting for?

Pull Out Your acuBack and Relax

Pull Out Your acuBack and Relax

Stress. When you become stressed, your body instantly reacts by tensing up. We hold most of that tension in our face, jaw, and shoulders. It keeps us up at night and literally gives us a headache! Taking time to counteract stress is essential to your overall health and well-being. 

Most people live hectic, unbalanced lifestyles. It’s hard to make wellness and relaxation a priority when you are running around in a million different directions. I get it. I used to be that person. However, I realized that if I don’t take care of MY wellness, I’m useless to everyone that depends on me. 

Thanks to Dr. Cohen, I was able to find my absolute FAVORITE wellness tool ever–and the best part is that it goes where I go. Let me introduce you to the acuBack! It is 100% a game-changer.  This self-care foam roller is able to help release tension in your lower back, mid-back, shoulder blade, legs and/or head.acuBack

In less than six minutes, I’m walking you through how to use the acuBack to help release the tension in your jaw, temporal lobes, third eye point, and crown. 

Six Minutes. That’s it. Who doesn’t have six, short minutes?? I’m waiting….

I guarantee you will see why I LOVE the acuBack as much as I do. I encourage you to make this simple tool and these quick moves a part of your daily routine! After all, your wellness depends on it.

Stretch Your Neck For Instant Relaxation

Stretch Your Neck For Instant Relaxation

 

Have you ever suffered from a stiff neck? You know, the area above your shoulders that holds all of your stress, frustration and tension? Yeah, that’s the spot. 

For many people, the neck and shoulders are a chronic area of discomfort and nagging pain. Stretching your neck once or twice a day is one of the easiest prevention techniques to keep your neck tension manageable.

So, if you’re like me and are used to dealing with neck pain or stiffness, try these simple exercises and stretches to help to reduce and control that unwanted tension.

Occipital Release

Occipital Release with the acuBall is an effective way to relieve muscle pain naturally. I can’t and won’t live without it

The acuBall can be used to provide effective relief from neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, and more. Developed by Dr. Cohen, the acuBall stimulates blood flow helping to ‘flush out’ built-up toxins that accumulate in tight muscles causing pain. The acuBall works by utilizing your own bodyweight. 

  1. Lie down, on your back, on a hard surface and/or yoga mat.
  2. Place the acuBall at the bottom (lip) of your skull (Occipital Bone). Heating the acuBall in the microwave beforehand also feels great!
  3. Fully release body weight for 3 minutes or more taking deep, full breathes to relax. 
  4. Nod your head up and down for several rounds.
  5. Next, gently turn the head side to side for several rounds.
  6. Continue to breathe. Tight areas will initially feel tender, then resolve over 1-2 minutes. Areas of chronic discomfort will take time to release.

Practicing Occipital Release with the acuBall is a staple in my daily routine. 

 

Side Neck Stretch

  1. While sitting in a comfortable position, lengthen the spine and relax your chin level with the floor.
  2. Exhale and tip the right ear to the right shoulder; work to feel space between your ear and shoulder.
  3. Continue to draw the left shoulder down from the left ear and flex the left palm, reaching through the heel of the hand toward the floor.
  4. With long, calm deep breaths, feel and visualize space in the tightness of the neck. Being gentle, experiment moving the left arm forward or back to help change the sensation to meet your needs.
  5. To heighten the sensation, take the right hand and gently draw the left side of the head away from the shoulder even more.
  6. Continue to breathe and explore moving the jaw and mindfully moving the chin, up or down, to change the sensation of the stretch from the side of the neck to the front or back of the neck.

The suggested time to hold these stretches is 10 breaths. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side, and repeat both several times a day.

Focused Muscle Groups

  • Scalene Muscles (These muscles are on the sides of the neck)
  • Trapezius (This muscle is located in the upper back, feeding into the base of the skull)
  • Levator Scapulae (This muscle runs from cervical vertebrae 1-4 to the inner scapulae, one on each side)

Back of the Neck and Spine Stretch

  1. Sitting comfortably, interlace the fingers behind the base of the skull.
  2. Keeping the shoulders relaxed, exhale and drop the chin to the chest.
  3. Breathing calmly, resist the head into the clasped hands, working to broaden the upper back and draw the shoulder blades away from the spine.
  4. Continue to resist the head, keeping the chin to the chest; feel the shoulders drop away from the ears.
  5. Experiment rounding the upper back or moving the elbows up or down to shift the sensation from the neck to the mid-upper back.

The suggested time to hold this stretch is 10 breaths.

Focused Muscle Group

  • Trapezius and Rhomboids (The muscles attach at thoracic vertebrae 2-5, run to each inner shoulder blade.)

 

Life is stressful. Taking time each day to stretch and relax will help you keep that 10-pound head of yours upright with a little less tension and pain.

This is Your Last Chance to Join Me in Something NEW This Year!

This is Your Last Chance to Join Me in Something NEW This Year!

As you may or may not know, I’ve spent most of my life struggling. Struggling to survive. I survived an eating disorder, a laundry list of addictions, and the loss of a child. My journey to reach the place where I am at today hasn’t been easy. It took a lot of hard work and I met some amazing people that helped me to find a purpose in my everyday life. Thanks to the people who helped me, I am blessed to now be able to help others by offering a coaching program, Practices for a Positive and Productive Life.

Drumroll, please…

I am SO excited to OFFICIALLY launch my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass. It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, this virtual coaching opportunity and online course will help you get crystal clear on your life priorities, health needs, and how to achieve your goals.

The beta launch starts on JANUARY 15, 2020.

SIGN UP RIGHT NOW

 

The best part? Sign up before January 10, 2020 and receive $1,000 off to participate in the Beta Launch of this program!

You will get access to the entire Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass for only $497 (a $1,497 value)!! I know how VALUABLE this class is. Which is why I want as many people as possible to have access to it. The Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass will without a doubt help you jumpstart the new shift in your life!

This Beta Launch is offered to you at a SIGNIFICANT DISCOUNT in exchange for your participation and feedback. 

By signing up for this course and coaching program, you will get:

  • Group coaching calls every week to ask questions, deepen your understanding, and connect with others.
  • Email support from me, whenever you need it!
  • Weekly videos including meditations, affirmations, and journaling
  • Private Facebook Group Access 
  • Free $10 Starbucks Giftcard and Leather-bound journal, sent directly to you!
SIGN UP TODAY

 

If I can go from a walking corpse, stricken with a deadly eating disorder, to a healthy mom of four, I can only imagine what is in store for you.

Hope Zvara Signature

Happy New Year! Do You Have the Tools to Start the Year Off Right?

Happy New Year! Do You Have the Tools to Start the Year Off Right?

Happy New Year! It’s an opportunity we get every 365 days. What a great feeling! A new year, a new perspective, and a fresh start.

As a new year begins, many people make resolutions in an effort to better themselves. However, I don’t necessarily like resolutions. Resolutions tend to set people up for disappointment. So, instead of making resolutions again this year, set goals. 

To be honest, I’ve never used to spend time to sit down and set goals for myself. Of course, I always had an “idea” of what I wanted to do each year but that’s pretty much it. So, when I sat down to write out my personal and professional goals for next year, I realized that I had NO idea how to do it. What was I supposed to do? What was the point?  None. However, it’s something that I needed to figure it out and figure out quick. 

Enter, John Maxwell. 

How Successful People Think

John Maxwell is the New York Times bestselling author of How Successful People Think. In his book, Maxwell’s advice really hit home. He encourages people to be “big-picture thinkers.” Big picture thinkers keep broader, bottom-line goals in mind no matter what the task is and no matter how big or small it is. He states that “the purpose of a goal is to focus your attention and give direction, not to identify a final destination.” Finally, something that makes sense! Set smaller goals to reach your bigger goal–GENIUS! 

So, as I sit down to set my goals for the new year, I now have a plan. My smaller goals will allow me to reach my bigger goals.  I have my goals written down and for the first time in forever– I know what I need to do and I know what I must do in order to get there. There is a lot less “I wonder” and “I hope” thoughts filling my head and to be honest, it feels good. I am approaching the new year with the confidence and tools that I need to be successful. What a great feeling. 

Whether you are beginning a fitness routine, creating a better plan of attack for meal planning, or yes, tackling the task of running your own business–set goals, stay the path and remain mentally clear. You can do it!

Check out these 5 Tips on Setting REALISTIC Resolutions!

Here’s to an amazing New Year! Cheers!

5 Tips to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions

5 Tips to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions

It’s a yearly tradition to deal with broken promises to take better care of ourselves. Whether we planned to lose weight, adopt a new exercise routine, eat healthier, or eliminate a bad habit, we seem to repeatedly let ourselves down. The fact is, only about 20% of us keep our New Years Resolutions, most of which are in some way fitness-related.

Over the years, I have been notorious for bogus New Year’s goals.

Having spent most of my life as an addict, though, I’ve accumulated some stepping stones that have helped me keep on my path. I consider this realistic goal-setting for a healthy life. I urge you to see your resolutions in a new light.

Here are 5 Ways to Set Realistic New Years Resolutions:

1. Be realistic.

Be honest about what you are capable of achieving. As I tell my yoga students often, “It’s not about how many classes you should come to a week, but how many classes you think you can continue to come to without dropping off.” Your goal could be to stop eating after 9 p.m., and then in a month, it bumps up to 8 p.m. and so on. Changes should never be all or nothing. Give yourself grace by setting realistic expectations for yourself.

2. Don’t use the same resolution again.

Set a new goal. This is a new opportunity to do something great for yourself. If you struggled to achieve that goal last year, maybe it needs to be rethought.

I’m sure the same tape plays in all of our heads during the holidays: “I’m just going to eat and enjoy myself. After the New Year, my diet starts.” This line is used by countless people, but it means nothing. If you are going to eat chocolate throughout December, then own it! In the New Year, if you say you aren’t going to eat chocolate, then good luck. But if you have said this before, odds are the same cycle is going to repeat itself.

3. Let everyone know about your goals.

As an addict, I know that the more you keep things secret, the harder it is to attain your goals. Even things like weight loss, new food choices or exercise plans should be shared with an accountability partner, family, or friend. Working through recovery has taught me that the more people you have on your side and the fewer secrets you have, the more successful you become.

Are you too embarrassed? Own up and be proud that you have recognized a change you need to make. Don’t go at it alone. Ask people to hold you accountable. Odds are that they will be proud to be an inspiration and support system for you.

4. Just Drink (More Water, that is).

When the body and brain are dehydrated, we feel sluggish. We confuse hunger for thirst, and we don’t function as we should.

If you are partaking in a fitness-related resolution, I urge you to drink up. Try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces a day, as a starting point. I begin each morning with an eight-ounce glass of warm water with lemon essential oil.

5. Watch for Self-Sabotage.

We all claim that we don’t have time, are too tired or stressed, or don’t have the money. Well, walking outside is free, screen time can be exchanged for exercise time, and it’s possible that your eyes and mind are drowsy from constant staring at the computer screen. You may just need an exercise boost, or to get to bed a little bit earlier!

Call yourself out about all these excuses! Be honest, because from honesty, new things begin.

 

If you are considering working with a coach to help you achieve your goals, consider joining me in my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass, starting in January 2020! We are offering a Beta Course, four months of coaching, for just $497 ($1,000 off original price).

Happy New Year!

 

Here are more New Year’s Resolution and Goal Setting Resources:

[FREE WORKSHEET] Stepping into the New Year with New Insights

Goal Getter: The #Last90Days of the Year

How to Get Out of a Rut

 

This article was originally published in Nature’s Pathways in January 2014.

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