People often say to me “wow you must work so hard to stay fit and keep your life balanced!” My answer is always the same; “actually I don’t really work hard but I AM consistent.”
There is a VERY big difference between working hard and being consistent.
When we work hard at anything, there will always come a time soon afterwards when we crash. Either we have reached our established goal, or we have finished the intended project and now it’s time to relax. After all, working hard for extended periods of time is exhausting! Nobody can keep up strenuous efforts forever.
When we work consistently however, it means that we put in regular, steady efforts over a long period of time. When it comes to our health, wellness, emotions, and overall lifestyle, consistency wins over hard work every time!
This is a great example of why diets don’t work. People go in with a specific goal; i.e. to lose 15 pounds. Once the weight is lost, the dieter eventually goes back to their old ways and the weight comes back quickly. This is because following a strict eating regimen is hard work and counting our calories or writing in a food journal is unnatural.
When my clients want to put on muscle mass, I let them know that it’s better to choose moderate workouts for the long term rather than big bursts of heavy weights for a couple of months. For one thing, the body appreciates a nice, consistent effort where it gets accustomed to regularity. Having short-term goals of putting on muscle is fine, but unless you can make exercise habitual, usually you will reach your goal and begin slacking afterwards.
Perhaps it’s time for all of us to re-think our health and wellness strategy. With the New Year approaching, why not choose a different path? Why not make consistency your number one priority? Try taking the word “work” out of your vocabulary altogether because it has negative connotations and denotes stress. Make 2016 about the commitment to small, yet consistent steps towards a total life makeover.
Instead of making gigantic and unreachable New Year’s resolutions, why not take baby steps? When it comes to your body, mind and spirit, here are some simple actions to follow for the upcoming year. I call it The Lucky 11.
1) Exercise – Get your body to a gym at least 3 days per week. Even if you are comatose and have no energy, commit. If all you do is some simple stretching, you will feel a sense of pride that at least you arrived. Just like brushing your teeth, you have made it a part of your day and for that, bravo. Getting yourself there is more than most people ever do. To take it further, make this year the one where you find a workout partner or hire a trainer so that you have somebody to be accountable to.
2) Drink more water – Buy yourself a 24 oz. stainless steel or non-BPA plastic water bottle and make it a plan to fill it with filtered water three times per day. DO NOT go to bed until you have consumed 3 bottles of fresh water. Do your best to drink it earlier in the day to avoid late night trips to the bathroom. By drinking more water, you’ll look and feel better from the inside out.
3) Take a Multivitamin – Go to your health food store and ask for a quality, potent antioxidant multivitamin with minerals. Commit and get into the habit of taking it daily NO MATTER WHAT. They will change your life! You may not always feel a major difference but the long-term benefits are countless. Choose a vitamin that is derived from whole foods and without fillers or additives. My favorite is Dr. Mercola multivitamin with minerals.
4) Take quiet time each day – Carve out at least 20 minutes per day where you take quiet time to reflect, journal, meditate, and pray. Putting yourself first inspires others to do the same and you will see dramatic changes in the way your day unfolds. Focus on your breathing and spend time reflecting on the life you dream of. Experience it in your mind and emotions as if it has already manifested and get ready for a miraculous year!
5) Conquer bad habits – Make this year the one where you finally lessen or even eliminate bad habits. We all have them. Addictions, depression, anger, and the list goes on. Do something about it. Join a self-help group. Go to therapy, hypnosis or an energy healer. Hire a coach or fitness trainer and trust that with the right intentions, you can and will get over anything that holds you back. Don’t let the past fool you into thinking that change is impossible.
6) Sleep – Sleep is the most important aspect of your life. Without it, we age faster and are less healthy, efficient, and productive. Look into changing your environment to create a peaceful sanctuary. Clear your bedroom of electronic devices and disturbances. Read about hormones, in particular melatonin, and good sleep habits. Let go of the guilt around taking a brief afternoon siesta. Feeling rested not only adds years to your life but also life to your years.
7) Forgive - Make the upcoming year ALL about letting go and forgiving. If you hold any resentment or animosity towards another, let it go. Work on doing a forgiveness meditation. Investigate EFT (emotional freedom technique) or try writing a letter to the person you need to forgive and then burn it as a symbol of letting go. Holding onto unresolved, toxic emotions will only cause dis-ease within our body. Release it.
8) Laugh – Most of us take our life WAY too seriously. I for one have forgotten how to play. As adults, we have so many responsibilities and commitments that having fun takes less priority than paying our bills. Make plans each month to do something playful with a friend. Discover new activities or dust off an old one. Laughter literally raises our energetic vibration and transforms our body, mind, and spirit.
9) Change it up – While consistency is vital, it can be easy to fall into a boring, habitual routine. Make 2016 ALL about changing it up when things become monotonous. Stick with consistent actions but do something different within those tasks. Redecorate your favorite room, paint your wall bright orange, try a new workout routine, get a cool haircut or buy yourself some hip, fashionable clothes. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone a bit and do something out of the ordinary. Shaking things up energizes us and helps to spark new life within us.
10) Raw superfood powder – Most of us do our best to eat well but getting enough vitamins and nutrient-rich foods can be challenging. The best choice that you can make is to take one scoop of raw, superfood powder every single day. This is your insurance policy. It ensures that you are receiving live energy which will ignite your cells and super-charge your entire body. My favorite is called Perfect Food Raw by Garden of Life.
11) Put yourself first – Focus on loving yourself. Nothing is more vital than that we put ourselves first and work on nurturing, accepting, and forgiving ourselves. Many of us have done a pretty good job of beating ourselves up. Turn it around. Being your own best support system isn’t selfish; it’s just the opposite. By taking care of yourself and putting your needs first, you set a great example to those around you. When you begin doing this, you’ll see amazing shifts in ALL areas of your life!
The beginning of each New Year is always exciting. It is filled with infinite possibilities. Make 2016 your best year ever! Commit to making consistent efforts to shift and balance your body, mind, and spirit. Decide to put yourself first and eliminate the word “work” from your vocabulary. Not only will you look and feel better but you will also experience a sense of self-empowerment that nobody can take away!
Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles.
He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!