2017 was a year of adventure and education for me. I love to travel, which is the adventure part. I also learned quite a bit last year that will help empower me to live a better and more intentional life in 2018. The way the year ended really helped set me up to take on 2018 like a bull, and thought I should share some tips on how to improve life now that we have a fresh start! I found this list referenced from Thought Catalogue.
Save some money. If I learned anything from my frugal mom it's that you need to save money not only for a rainy day but for old age. I've learned a lot about investing in real estate but also in mutual funds. Make money while you don't even know it's happening! My mom also taught me as a 5 time cancer survivor that it's ok to have fun with your money responsibly because life is too short. My take away on this is moderation.
This list says to turn your social media notifications off or put your phone on airplane mode. That's not a bad idea. My tendency in my life is to respond pretty quickly to a text or email, personal or business. Over Christmas break I read the book The Year Of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (producer of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal), where she admits to having a love for her work, which is writing. However, having two children made her change some of her intense work ways, including having an email signature that stated she doesn't respond to email weekdays after 7pm or on the weekends. Setting boundaries is key and I will certainly keep this in mind myself in 2018.
Make exercise a priority. This is important and I have never been more motivated to stay in shape than I am now. I've mentioned my experience with the HCG diet on G105 since November and it's truly made me more confident in myself with the knowledge and motivation of HOW to eat better. I am by no means a saint when it comes to eating but I've learned to cut out the unnecessary stuff like mashed potatoes, rice, bread and pasta to allow for my true food love being chocolate. That is my biggest guilty pleasure food wise and now that the holidays are over should be easier to avoid. I also drink and crave alcohol less than I did before the diet. Even though this HCG diet started as an endorsement opportunity with the radio station to promote the A Brand New You MD clinic in Raleigh (which intrigued me since I wanted to get lean) it really turned into the thing I needed, which was a permanent education in eating cleaner. After taking 30 days to follow a specified meal plan I wasn't about to throw that away. I wouldn't advise anyone to start this sort of diet towards the end of the year, which makes sharing this information timely now. I don't want to go into the specifics of the HCG diet but would be happy to with anyone that is interested. You could also check out A Brand New You MD's website. Exercising is only a small part of losing weight and getting lean but it's still important to get the blood flowing with some movement and even weight training if you want to put on some muscle. However, it's really WHAT YOU EAT and portion size that dictates your size. That was key for me and after 30 days of this HCG diet it definitely changed my eating habits without even me realizing it.
Did I mention drinking less is important? When people say everything in moderation this includes alcohol and maybe even less than "moderation". I freaked when I found out I couldn't drink booze for 30 days as part of the HCG diet and it turned out to be the easiest thing to not miss! In the long run it made me realize I didn't miss it that much to begin with.
Sleep. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. I used to do this pretty well but with the work schedule for the Showgram and getting up at 3am it's the hardest habit I've ever had to break. I've always been a night owl, and even though I've gotten used to waking up at 3am I'm always sleepy during the week. I even notice not having as much energy on the weekends. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to get used to this schedule. They say you should get 6-8 hours of sleep per night. I'd kill for 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night!
I've read and heard about meditation quite bit in 2017 but haven't mastered it. If daydreaming counts as meditation then maybe I do have it down better than I thought.
Taking breaks at work is another tip included on the list. I learned this as a Program Director in Florida because I was on the cusp of burn out many times. You have to have at least 15 minutes minimum (my opinion) to take a break for yourself during a work day. I finally did that by leaving the building to get lunch.
Make sure you are seeing your doctor regularly. My parents were afraid to get themselves checked out as they got older because they were afraid of what they would find. They both had colon cancer, which would have probably been detected years before if they just would have gotten checked out. Prevention is key and the only way to do that is being proactive. I learn from my parents and so should you. This list I've referenced even suggests seeing a therapist, which I think would be helpful to anyone no matter how great your life may be. It's always helpful to talk to someone. Luckily, iHeartMEDIA gives us 9 free shrink sessions a year per our benefits, which is about the only good thing that comes from our health insurance!
Expressing yourself on paper or in a journal is something that many say is helpful for anyone. I don't really practice that but perhaps I should. Posting in my blog and recording podcasts occasionally is probably the closest I get to having a journal.
One of most powerful things on this list to improve your life in 2018 is the most powerful word in the English language. TV producer Shonda Rhimes, who I mentioned earlier in this blog said that in her year of yes she also learned WHEN it was ok to say "no". Perhaps some of us are all too eager to please others. Maybe it's the difficulty of saying no when someone asks us for something. One of the biggest things I've learned in the past year along with diet is to say no more often. Nobody will value your time more than you. Time is valuable and you can lose track of it so easy working, binge watching Netflix, etc. When you don't set boundaries then people can take advantage of you. Learn to say "no" without being afraid of being pegged in a negative light. What's important to remember is also know HOW to communicate a NO without coming off as anything but respectful of your time.
I hope that helped at least one person because it certainly has and will continue to help me live a better live in 2018!