Want to know how to make 2018 great?

Happy New Year! No doubt your inbox is already overflowing with advice on how to make 2018 great. Full disclosure: this is NOT one of those emails.

I learned years ago that any resolution made through the effervescent lens of a bottle of bubbly is fairly unlikely to come to fruition

Plus, when you consider that 92% of resolution-makers quit long before they reach their goals, it begs the question — should we make them at all?

In my opinion, we should not.

Rather than planning out the next 12 months, what if we just focused on the next 12 hours instead? After all, 365 pretty good days will turn into a damn good year before you know it.

That’s my plan for this year. Instead of spending time thinking about how I can improve myself and my life, I’m choosing to take it day-by-day and week-by-week, with the intention of being rather than becoming.

I have to admit, the idea of taking each day as it comes makes me feel a little untethered. The little Negative Nellie voice inside my head is already berating me for not doing more and being more. But I’m going to practice what I preach…and tell her to zip it!

Being rather becoming doesn’t mean you won’t make progress. In fact, I have a hunch that in doing rather than deliberating you will move ahead in leaps and bounds.

When we take life one day at a time we will quickly realize that we’re actually good at it.

It’s easy to forget how simple it is to be healthy, how easy it is to “choose happy”, and how valuable we already are, sans resolutions to lose weight, be better people, make more money or improve our relationships.

Instead of worrying about the rest of the year, start living for today. Today you can make a change for better health. Today you can choose to laugh instead of cry. Today you can be great!

In the words of our old mate, Albert Einstein:

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

 

 

Until next week,

Why it’s essential to make your own decisions (or how not to be a fickle wife)

Remember a while back that I told you that I struggled with healthy decision making? Well, I’ve been working on it and wanted to report back.

To quickly recap, I used to outsource certain lifestyle decisions (usually those that may be seen as “less healthy”), so that I could have the experience without being responsible for the outcome.

Whether the question was to get takeout for dinner, skip a workout, watch a movie instead of doing housework, or have a glass of wine on Tuesday night, while I may have wanted to do the activity, I didn’t want to be the one who suggested it.

So instead of using my voice, as an independent thinker and 21st century woman, I relied on my sneaky wifely ways to make my husband choose — this was basically an insurance policy that said it was his fault if I felt crappy later on.

I mean, how crummy is that? I shouldn’t even be admitting it publicly, but I decided to fess up incase you’re doing it too.

Every week I speak with women who blame their situation on circumstances outside their control:

  • “My co-worker brought donuts to the office…”
  • “My husband wanted to get popcorn at the movies…”
  • “The weather wasn’t nice enough to go for a walk…”

Sure, these external challenges may impact your decision making, but at the end of the day it is still your choice to eat the donut, share the popcorn or skip the walk.

And you know what? Making that decision is fine as long as it’s YOU who makes it.

Since I wrote about this concept earlier in the year I’ve been very intentional about making decisions that will benefit my long term health goals while also nourishing my short term lifestyle desires.

What I’ve found is that I feel more in control of my actions and outcomes by simply being the one to choose.

I feel confident saying NO to certain things without feeling deprived, and I can experience great satisfaction from saying YES, without the situation then spiraling out of control and leaving me worse-for-wear.

Because by making the first decision, to say yes or no, I then give myself permission to make all the following decisions. For example: how much I eat, how long I participate in an activity, and when I want to do something different…that’s all up to me.

As it turns out, decision making is liberating!

This new habit is definitely one that I’m sticking with, so now I want to throw the gauntlet to you.

  • Have you been “going with the flow” a little too regularly in your own life?
  • Are you outsourcing your decisions (and then feeling regretful and perhaps even resentful)?
  • Are you willing to do something about it?

This week I challenge you to pay attention to both the decisions that you’re making AND those that you’re avoiding.

What choices do you shy away from, and why?

Finally, commit to making a new decision, just one to start, and put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your own health and happiness.

Of course, as always, let me know how you go by leaving a comment below.

 

 

With love,

healthy lifestyle | jennifer dene wellness

Struggling To Start Your Next Healthy Habit? Try This…

I’ve just gotten back from a wonderful 15 day holiday in Tuscany and London. It was such a good time that we actually extended our original 11 day trip by another three nights, delaying the inevitable return to reality.

But now that we’re home, I find myself sitting here, in the dark hours of Monday morning, feeling a little unsettled — how do I get back into the swings of things?

“Starting” can be an overwhelming thing. Whether that’s starting back at work after a holiday, starting a new healthy lifestyle, or really starting any new healthy habit. Thinking about how to get from A to B (post-holiday blues to normal life; couch potato to healthy, fit and flexible) seems to require a lot of personal motivation…a lot of digging deep.

While that can be a tough thing to do, it’s certainly not impossible. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do tackle any new task or goal? By breaking it down into more manageable pieces.

Take weight loss for example. Losing 50 pounds is, for most people, an intensely overwhelming weight loss goal, perhaps one that feels impossible. What do you have to do to lose 50 pounds? What changes will you have to make? How do you even begin? These questions feel so big, and the effort required feels so huge, that many people will stop before they even start. But what if the weight loss goal was only five pounds, not 50? Five pounds seems quite manageable, accessible with just a few small tweaks here and there. Losing five pounds is the first bite — you realize that yes, you can lose weight, and actually it wasn’t all that hard to do. So you move on to the next 5 pounds, and then the next, until eventually that 50 pound weight loss goal isn’t out of reach after all.

The same concept works for starting pretty much anything new. Here’s how it plays out in fitness, nutrition and self love:

Starting A New Exercise Routine

Doing an exercise class that calls for 10 full pushups on your first day at the gym is a terrible idea, one that will no doubt crush your fitness spirit. The better play would be to start with simple stretches, some full body movement, and try modified upper body exercises. After a while you will progress to planks, and then to kneeling pushups, until one day a few months down the road you’ll be doing pushups without a care in the world.

Eating More Vegetables

Buying 10 varieties of vegetables and attempting to cook an Ottolenghi dish as one of your first forays into healthy home cooking is a recipe for disaster. Instead, start simply with a head of broccoli and a couple of zucchini, a pot of boiling water, and some butter to toss through at the end. Heck, microwave them if that makes it easier to get more greens onto your plate.

Loving & Accepting Your Self

Expecting to love your body and your life after reading one self-help book is not realistic. Emotional change probably takes the longest of all, but starting gently with daily self-love and self-acceptance practices will over time change your perception of yourself, your life and your personal value. This is why I keep banging on about this self-care stuff and reminding you that we’re all works-in-progress!

This slow and steady approach may not be particularly thrilling but it is the most effective, and should be remembered when the overwhelming feeling of “starting” starts to sink in.

So I’m glad that I wrote this post this morning. Talking to you has helped me rethink my initial waking instinct (to take the world by storm) and quelled my initial waking panic (how on earth was I supposed to do that). It has allowed me to sit here and watch first light break across Los Angeles, my metaphorical elephant by my side, writing this post, and returning to reality one step at a time.

See you next week!

Cheers,

The Key Weight Loss & Self Love

Hello again! I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for the last few weeks, as I spent a month frolicking in the beautiful Australian countryside. Taking that time away from my normal routine (and not feeling like I had to come up with all the answers to life’s questions) allowed me to have a good think about who I want to be in 2017, how I want to live my life, and how I can help you do the same.

During my month-long musings I noticed something about myself that, truth be told, surprised me a little. I realized that I’ve become a “when this will happen, that will happen” kind of person.

Let me explain…

Over the past few years I’ve taken to thinking that I need external circumstances to change before I can really accomplish the goals that I’ve set myself. I’ve assumed that it will be easier to achieve what I want to achieve once XYZ happens.

For example, I thought that:

  • When I got that job at the new Pilates studio… I would automatically become fitter.
  • When I reorganized my kitchen… I would happily cook more at home.
  • When I went on that holiday… I would return happier and more motivated than when I left.
  • When I relocated…I would naturally be more confident and make more friends.
  • When I reached my goal weight…I would love myself.

But it rarely turned out that way.

Saying that something will be different, doesn’t make it so. Nothing comes from words or thoughts that aren’t followed by actions.

I’ve known this, I’ve experienced this, but until now I haven’t truly internalized it.

The truth is, that for something in our life to change, we need to make a change first. You can’t think your way into a better body, a happier marriage, or a more fulfilling career, if all you do is think about it. Thinking, writing or speaking goals, aren’t worth a dime if they aren’t followed by action.

So, as we start the new year I want to ask you this: Are you ready to take action? Are you ready to take action to create a body and a life that you love, even if all the pieces of the puzzle haven’t yet fallen into place?

I’m ready to take that challenge, and I invite you to do the same.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You:

  1. Have you ever relied on external circumstances changing before you can become the person you want to be?
  2. Or, perhaps you’ve never experienced the “when this happens, that will happen” thought process. If that’s the case, what’s your secret to taking purposeful action?

I’d love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

It’s great to be back with you.

With love,

JDW Signature

*PS Remember that massive blue planner that I lugged across the world? Other important items that made their way into my suitcase included: curry paste (a lot of curry paste), Kraft peanut butter, tins of tuna, leaf tea, and, somewhat awkwardly, three crushable boxes of salt and vinegar chips. I packed those in my carry on, of course. Now if I can just figure out how to transport a couple of legs of lamb…