It’s a new year and that means it is time for a fresh start!
Now, now, I know what you are thinking and probably half of you already stopped reading to head to Google to hunt for some fun memes to share with me. Let me stop you right there. I’m not talking about making resolutions that I/we will undoubtedly break or setting goals that are unattainable for even the most magnificent of families.
That being said, since it is a new year, I do find it important to set some form of goal so we’ve done just that with a more realistic approach. Our family word for 2017 is EFFORT! That’s right my friends, all that we are going to do this year is make an effort to be the best us that we can be and see where the journey takes us.
Some things will be easy, others more difficult but that’s what makes it fun, right? At least, that is what I told my husband. Admittedly, he gave me the side-eye when I approached him with my bright idea but he’s giving me some leeway, at least for the time being, so I figure it’s time to get started.
5 Ways to Make an Effort in 2017
1) FIND A SPACE THAT YOU LOVE!
Do you love where you live? Perfect, you’ll easily be able to cross number one off of your list. If not, this is still completely achievable with little effort. The idea is to find or create a space that you love, a space that allows you to be you, to feel happy; a place where you are comfortable. For some this is a quiet room in their home where they can curl up with a warm drink, blanket, and a good book. For others it’s the kitchen where they create magical meals or desserts. Or maybe it’s the gym, a local coffee shop, a particular park bench.
Have a place in mind? Great! Now, make an effort to start or end your day there. The idea is to have a place that you love, a place that makes you happy as happiness leads to great things!
EFFORT LEVEL: Low
2) TAKE TIME OUT FOR YOU!
Yep, I said it. I know we are all really busy and this is easier said than done but it is doable. This is really important and something that we should all do daily. The great part, there aren’t any etched in stone rules that go along with this one. It can be 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes … whatever the day calls for or allows. Again, the important part is actually taking the time out and doing so daily.
Let’s face it we all have busy, hectic lives; that is just part of life. There is work to be done, the kids have after school activities or sports, there are meals to be cooked, the house needs to be cleaned, the dog needs to go to the vet, groceries to be bought, a birthday present is needed for Saturday’s party … the list is endless.
It’s time to make an effort to reconnect with you.
Ask yourself, when is the last time you took a time out for you? Mine was about a month ago. I took a hot bath and enjoyed an adult beverage after a really, really bad day. Did I mention that my daughter sat in the bathroom with me and told me all about her day at school and I helped her with her homework, too? Hmm, not really “me time” I guess. Even though I had a little company during my “timeout”, I have to admit that I felt refreshed after taking a little time. I got out of the bath, told the hubby to make dinner, and even read a little longer with my daughter that night at bedtime.
My point is that by taking time out for ourselves, we allow ourselves to rejuvenate; to power up if you will. By taking time out for ourselves we could easily turn a bad day into a good day, we could go through the day smiling instead of feeling overstressed, we could relay to our little ones that it is important to love ourselves and take care of ourselves, and maybe, just maybe by taking a time out we could have a better day, smile more, and affect someone else in a positive way. See? It’s a win, win!
EFFORT LEVEL: Low to Medium
3) INCREASE YOUR OVERALL HEALTH!
It’s been a few years since we’ve made the switch from eating more red meat to eating more chicken. We’ve found the meal planning has allowed us to have a better handle on not only what we eat but also our grocery budget and it saves us from eating takeout or meals on the run. It also has pushed us to make an effort to add more leafy vegetables to our diet. We’re also trying to snack a little better. Things like vivaNutrition’s Blueberry Carrot or Raspberry Beets Chia Bars are healthy snacks that don’t taste like they’re “healthy food”. My favorite is the Raspberry Beets and my daughter likes the Blueberry Carrot. This is great as it means we don’t fight over who gets what. The bars are soft, tasty, and portable which makes them perfect for a grab-and-go snack, couch friend, or a packed lunch.
Since we are on the subject, do you take vitamins? Do your little ones? This is a morning ritual at our house and something that we instilled in our daughter early on. Every morning when she takes her muscle and brain builders a.k.a. vitamins, I take mine as well. My regimen is simple and consists of a one a day vitamin for my overall health, DHA for my brain health, and fish oil for my heart health. Introducing kids to vitamins early is not only healthy but sensible and a great way to help them create a routine.
See, with baby step effort, we can change the way our body feels and we can even do so on a budget!
EFFORT LEVEL: Medium
Okay, okay, I know what you are thinking. I am telling you to run out and join a gym. STOP RIGHT THERE! That is definitely not me. I’ve had really good experiences with gyms and really bad. Personally, I like to sweat and wear tight clothes in the privacy of my neighborhood with over 200 houses. I’m a huge advocate of taking walks with my family and as often as possible embarrassing my daughter by adding a few lunges or dance moves to our outing. I like to turn up the music really loud on cleaning day (Saturdays if you are in the neighborhood and bored) and dance around like a maniac while my daughter laughs in sheer joy and my husband makes suggestive eyebrow motions at me. Or totally cool, my mom got us this really strange, funky exercise board thing and I’ve tried it a few times without breaking my neck (SCORE!)! The idea is to find something that works for you but to get up off the couch and do it.
THIS, my friends, is why I don’t work at a club selling gym memberships. I would definitely be fired before Valentine’s Day. If you like going to the gym, OORAH! Join up, work out, and kick butt. If you are like me, find something that works for you and make an effort to move. It will help your heart, health, and mind!
EFFORT LEVEL: Medium to High
5) DRINK MORE WATER!
Some of you are laughing right now as you’ve downed a quart of water as you read this. For others, you were geared to join up until I added this deal breaker. Hmmm, I wonder how many people just clicked the X at the top right. Drinking water is a really sensitive, private issue. Don’t believe me? Take a moment and scan through your Facebook feed. I’ll wait …
See anyone mention water yet? Keep going … I’ll be here.
How many people complained about drinking water? The taste of water? How much they are supposed to drink to maintain a healthy diet?
I admit that I’m not a huge fan of water. It’s okay for a few glasses here and there when I am looking for something cold to drink but overall, I’m not a huge fan of the flavor. I dress mine up with lemon juice or lime juice. I have a fancy infuser bottle that allows me to add strawberry, orange, cucumber, and other various flavors. I’ve tried adding powdered mixes with 10 or less calories to up the stakes and still, I struggle.
The goal is to make an effort to drink more water today then you did yesterday. If you had one glass yesterday, try two today. If you had two, try three today. You get the idea. Just make an effort! I also try to set a good example for my daughter with this. So we have introduced her to the concept of drinking a magic potion to make her healthier. The “potion” is really just a probiotic supplement that doesn’t make the water taste any different but makes her think she is drinking something exotic. Seriously parents, this is a winner. Add a little powder, mixy mix, and the water changes into a potion. Try it!
EFFORT LEVEL: High (maybe)
So what do you think? These are five areas where our family is going to work on making an effort this year and we invite you to do the same. Maybe all five don’t fit your plan but one or two do, awesome! Find your five and then make an effort to be the best you that you can be in 2017.
Leave a comment below letting us know what you and/or your family will be doing this year to make an EFFORT. We can’t wait to hear what you have going on.
Let’s make it a great year!
Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with vivaNutrition. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own.