Healthy Chicks in the Community: An Ice-Cream Loving, Yogi Entrepreneur

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Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend! For those of you who are new to the blog, once a week (well, at least that’s the goal!) I feature a woman in the community who truly embodies what it means to be a ‘healthy chick.’ There’s nothing that inspires me more than connecting with + learning from other fabulous women.

This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Ashley, a rockstar entrepreneur who recently moved to Boston to continue pursuing her dreams with her company Grip The Mat. It’s a super cool startup that takes your everyday yoga class and jazzes it up, creating a memorable, social experience…in a pop-up location!

I’ll let Ashley take it away from here!

NAME/AGE: Ashley Braun / 25

BLOG/TWITTER: @gripthemat

CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA

PHOTO TAKEN: Boston / 2016

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: Co Founder of Grip The Mat (www.gripthemat.com)

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Do what you love!

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: in Savasana after a sweaty, hot yoga class

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: eat ice cream every single night – no joke.

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: rolled oats, apples, greek yogurt (whole milk!)

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: dessert! duh!

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU:

1. Hm… I was in a college A Cappella group called Sweet Signatures, and was actually the Music Director !

2. In high school I danced on a hip-hop team that went to World’s.

3. I started a company with my best friend :) (@christynoelle)

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Yoga!

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Baked Potato

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Create your own reality! Clear your head and think about the lifestyle you actually want to live, and then live it! I never thought I could run my own company, practice yoga everyday, and work with the people I love. But seriously, you can create your reality!

Prioritize your Life: what are your deepest desires + how can you make more time for them?

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Let me set the scene for you. It’s 9:00pm, I’m finishing up my emails and tell my husband “just 5 more minutes” until I can log off for the day and watch the latest episode of Blacklist. 9:30pm rolls around, and I say “just one minute,” this time not so convincingly. He knows one minute really means another 30, so he goes back to reading or catches up on Mad Money.

Suddenly, I get a text from a coworker, a brainstorm session strikes my mind and I’m at it again. Work. Work. Work. I wish I could say this little scene is fantasy, but in complete transparency this has been the typical evening of late at our humble abode.

I recently spoke with my dad about my work-hard, go-go-go mentality & the challenges I face maintaining a work life balance and he said “It’s partly my fault, you have my genes. You’re an over achiever”

“But, how did YOU do it then?” I asked with anticipation. After all, if anyone knows my dad he’s pretty much definition of “Father of the Year” award, so if he could work, and play, and be there for our family 24/7, then so could I.

My dad responded, without hesitation “I began to prioritize my life.” Yes, work was a commitment, but he filled up his schedule with other priorities like family dinner nights, coaching our sports teams, evening hoops with the boys, and vacations. Those were non-negotiables. He explained to me that he got to a point where he realized life — you know, really living — was what it’s all about. Everything else can wait.

The conversation we had inspired me to take a long, hard look at my life. I realized I’ve been making work a top priority, and in turn deprioritizing the things that are most important to me. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being driven, but it becomes an issue when your work things are taking complete control of your “me things.”

With that in mind, I decided to make a list of my desires…the things I wanted to be doing more of in life. The list included things like camping, pedicures + facials, grocery shopping with my husband, home-cooked meals, journaling, meditation + yoga, non-work related events, blogging, date nights and having a tidy apartment.

I thought, these are the things I needed to start re-prioritizing. These are the things that most fill me up + bring me the most joy.

I realized that by putting so much pressure on myself to be a superstar at work, I was subconsciously putting my passions on the back burner. And seeing as though my wellbeing and happiness are by far the most important things to me, this was not jiving with me.

So, what now? I know this is going to be a work in progress, but for starters I’m making a conscious effort to not check emails after 7:00pm. I’m also taking my husband up on his advice to “airplane mode my life” by turning my phone on airplane mode after a certain time. While I’m not quite ready to try that for a week straight, I am testing it out tonight — hence the time I now have to write a blog post!

With the time I gain back with this new mentality, I am going to fill it up with the things that bring me the most joy. I won’t lie, I’m pretty darn excited. Who’s with me?

I’d love to hear from you, are you working too much or spending too much time on something that doesn’t completely fill you up? What are your deepest desires you’d like to bring into your life?

xoxo,

Rachel

The Power of Shutting Down + Looking Within {Plus My Experience at Raffa Yoga}

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Something I really struggle with, which I’ve talked about on the blog before, is unplugging. I have a tendency to want to go-go-go all the time, and often put pressure on myself to get it all done. In a world of technology overload, I find it incredibly challenging to just pause and be (without checking my iPhone two minutes later).

So when I was given the opportunity to join one of my Boston bestie’s — Cara Gilam’s — “Revive, Refresh, Retreat” day-long yoga getaway last weekend, I knew it my heart I had to sign up. I needed to do this for myself, for my soul. And so I did…I cleared my weekend plans and make a big decision to make myself a priority for the day. After all, I so deserved it.

We met early in the morning at lululemon chestnut hill, where we immediately went into a 60-minute vinyasa flow to get our blood flowing. After breakfast + much-needed coffee (no shame!), we were given gift bags with little goodies and all the deets on our secret destination. Our gift bags were adorable + personalized with our names on them! They included:

  • a japa mala bag for holding our meditation beads
  • mala meditation beads
  • a sweetgreen moleskin journal, gift voucher, seeds to plant + tote bag
  • a dosha bar
  • a giant bottle of Essentia water

After doting over all our swag (seriously, it was the best!), we hopped on the bus to venture off to our secret destination — Raffa Yoga! I was ecstatic as I’ve heard about the center before, and had been looking for a good time to go. What better time than now, right? On the bus ride over, I took some time to clear my thoughts, rest my eyes, and also did a round of meditation per Cara’s suggestion — it was super relaxing and really helped set the tone for the day.

When we arrived at Raffa, I was so ready to see what they had in store for us! We were taken into the Urban Sweat Room, and given a tour of the six different healing rooms we had access to ALL DAY. After getting changed (they gave us these funky shorts and bright orange shirt to wear over our swimsuit…fashion forward!) I was ready to began my pampering.

I decided to go by their recommended order, making sure I took breaks to chug water, relax + journal between transitions:

  • Urban Hamman: designed to release toxins + comfort tired, achy bones
  • Eucalyptus Steam Room: Stimulating, rejuvenating + healing, this was 140 degrees of pure bliss!
  • Yellow Turmeric Room: Aids in metabolism + liver detoxification, and also happens to be a natural antiseptic for any skin issues — win, win, win!
  • Himalayan Salt Grotto: Cleansing, helps with respiratory function, and also helps ground the mind, body + soul — it’s no wonder later that afternoon I fell asleep in here!
  • Black Charcoal Sauna: Aids in the release of heavy metals + toxins, reduces inflammation, + relaxes muscles — set at 180 degrees, making it the hottest room
  • Oceanic Relaxation Room: Fully equipped with sand, lounge chairs + a sound machine, this room was 100% dreamy and perfect to close out the circuit!

Did I mention that between transitions, they had these giant hot water beds and bean bags you could plop on? Seriously, I was in heaven. After a complete round of pure bliss, I journaled a bit and then it was lunch time!

We were served a lovely homemade vegan meal including a variety of wraps, a big kale salad, raw zucchini “lasagna” with cashew cheese, and hummus + chips. I also loaded up on the water, since I knew I was ridding my body of lots of toxins, and sweating more than normal today.

After lunch, I took it easy for a bit to let my body digest, and spent some solid alone time just reflecting and journaling. I had some major a-ha moments, and I couldn’t have been more grateful for a day with no real agenda or need to “check in” on my email/texts all day. In fact, I didn’t look once!

One of my favorite journal questions from the day was “What are your three most frequent thoughts? What do you wish they would be?” I also enjoyed writing about something that is currently troubling me, without having to solve or dig into it. Just pen to paper. 

After another round of the Urban Sweat (a.k.a my favorite thing ever!), I treated myself to some homemade raw chocolate treats (holy yum!) and it was then time for our anti-gravity yoga class (think: yoga on hammock like silks hanging from the ceiling!). Since there were a few people who didn’t make it into the original class earlier that afternoon, our instructor actually did a private class for just 4 of us. While at first I was a little bit nervous since I’d never done anything like it before, it started to grow on me the more comfortable I got with the silk hammock. Our instructor kept encouraging us to “Trust the hammock,” and so eventually I started to.

I was not a huge fan of going upside down since it made me a bit dizzy, but I was proud of myself for giving it a try a couple times throughout the class! It was hands down one of the most energizing, exhilarating and crazy experiences — I don’t know if it was the endorphins going to my brain or what, but I couldn’t stop giggling the entire time.

After class, it was sadly time to pack up our bags and head back to the city. I dozed off on the bus-ride back, reflecting on what a special day I experienced. I realized that while I may not have the luxury of going on weekly yoga retreats, I can incorporate little bits of this day into my life (and so can you!) like putting my phone on airplane mode more often, journaling my thoughts and spending time during the weekend away from technology altogether. I also made a vow to myself to take these mini “me-cations” more often, monthly or every other month. The aftermath is so worth it.

When you are forced to shut down and step away, you’re able to tap into your inner self and the creativity that comes from that is limitless! How can you take time for yourself to just reflect + be? What do you do to shut down & look within?

xoxo,

Rachel

why ‘doing all the things’ may not be moving you forward after all

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I love doing things.

As an ENFP, self-starter, creative, workaholic type, I have a reputation for wanting to get sh*t done. I like to do things. I like to cross things off. I want to “be productive” and successful and all the great things in life. After all, we live in a society that celebrates this sort of behavior.

However, recently I’ve had a sort of epiphany; I’m beginning to realize that maybe this go-go-go mentality isn’t the best for productivity, and that “doing all the things” may not be moving me forward after all. In fact, perhaps it’s quite the opposite.

I recently saw a quote on instagram, which immediately become the background of my phone:

“Do less with more focus.”

Let that soak in for a moment.

Powerful stuff, huh? What if the notion that we need to do more, be more, get more done is actually working against us? What if less really is more? That you can actually do less things with more focus (that’s the key word!) and still be winning?

Those five words were an huge wakeup call. I realized in my efforts to be the best me and get it all done, I was actually losing the number one thing that keeps me going — my focus. All the assignments, last-minute deadlines, late-nights checking off the to-do lists, and “yes, sure I can’s!” were actually moving me backward, and in turn eating away at my focus. You see, the more I took on, the less focus and productive I became.

So what does “Do less with more focus” really mean, anyway?

First of all, it sure doesn’t make you lazy. It makes you smart. It means saying the no to the things that aren’t serving you, strategically prioritizing your time (that includes time for you!), being realistic about what can get done, and thinking about the bigger picture. It’s not checking 50 things off your to-do list, over-scheduling yourself (guilty as charged!) and hustling for the sake of hustling. It’s being bull’s eye focused vs. burning out. Because really, who wants to burn out?

As spring approaches (and one of the busiest years of my life I’ve had yet!) I’m going to work on taking less in, while letting my focus drive me forward. After all, I can’t get sh*t done, if I don’t have the time + focus to let my creative juices flow. That’s my secret sauce, baby! I encourage you all to think about where in your life you lose focus by trying to do all the things. What does “do less with more focus” look like to you?

xoxo,

Rachel

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Smiley, Sweets-loving, SoulCycling Sweetie

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Ladies, happy friday! It’s been a while since I’ve featured an HC in the Community, but I’m bringing one of my favorite traditions back with someone I adore oh so much. I met Mary through my sister a few years ago, and was instantly drawn to her sweet, genuine nature. I could tell she cares so deeply for everyone in her life.

Over the years, I’ve seen her blossom into an even more amazing, confident and strong women — she has guts, strength and a positive outlook like no other! Mary, I am honored to feature you on my blog and know others will feel inspired by your beautiful self too <3

NAME/AGE: Mary, 26

CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA

PHOTO TAKEN (WHERE/WHEN): At my friend’s baby shower a few weeks ago :)

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist! Currently, I work with preschool-3rd graders with communication disabilities.

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Working with people with disabilities. My mom is a social worker and the kindest person I know, and always instilled in me that helping others should be an important part of my life.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Fresh out of an intense work out! No matter how tired I was before, I always feel energized after finishing a run, Zumba, or a spin class.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: Easter candy is my favorite and around this time of year I eat a few more (ok, wayyy more) Cadbury eggs than I should.

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Olive oil, sea salt, and coffee!

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: The Whole Foods salad bar and sushi. I can get a little lazy with cooking dinner after work and it’s so easy!

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU:
1. I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and can sing you most of his songs from memory.
2. I took tap dance as a kid and I’m still pretty good at it all these years later.
3. I’m not a quitter. Even during the toughest meetings at work or in the hardest workouts, I keep going and find some good in it, even when I hate it. I feel like you learn the most from persevering through your hardest experiences.

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: I LOVE Soul Cycle. If you told me a few years ago I would be addicted to a $30 spin class I would say you were crazy, but I always feel mentally and physically stronger after I make it through an intense class. And the music is always great!

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: My mom’s fudge brownies. She makes the best fudge frosting for them too!

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: My favorite spin instructor always says “Progress over perfection.” It really resonates with me, both in my personal life in my journey to be a healthier, happier person and in my work. And be kinder to yourself. There will always be times and places in your life where something could have gone better, but remember that nothing is perfect and progress toward learning about yourself and what serves you best is what’s most important!

If you’d like to be featured as the next HC in the community or nominate a friend, just shoot me a note. Have a lovely weekend!

you do you: 7 Little Ways to Work on Yourself as We Prepare for Spring

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Is it just me, or did winter absolutely kick your butt? There’s something about the cold weather that makes ya want to stay in bed a little longer, work out a little less, find comfort in comfort food, oh and those darn sniffles! While the first snow fall + holiday season is one of my favorite times of year, clearly you can see I’ve had enough.

It’s time to show winter what’s up and take care of yourself again! And while spring is still 23 days away, there are little things you can do right now to make you feel your best self again. (Trust me, the birds will be chirping in no time!)

1. Get your beauty sleep: I mean it. If you’re like me, winter has probably taken a toll on your body. In fact, I’m pretty certain I have mild adrenal fatigue due to stress, late nights and my go-go-go mentality. To combat this, I’m working on getting to bed at a decent hour (by 10 p.m. or earlier would be ideal to start!) and resting when my body is asking for it. Naps are totally underrated and can be everything. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, try reading in bed, using an eye pillow or breathing in some lavender essential oils.

2. Make me-time a priority: Are you making time for the things that light you up? One of my colleagues had a great idea of scheduling in personal time to do the things that you love. Just as you would block off time for meetings, work outings, and assignments, this helps you hold yourself accountable when it comes to Y-O-U.

3. Put Your Cooking Shoes On: If takeout has taken over this winter in your household (um, pad thai anyone?), get back to the basics and make more time for cooking at home! When it comes to cooking, preparation is everything so make sure you’re well stocked with seasonal produce, proteins, snacks, spices + your favorite staples. And yes, if it means you have to schedule grocery shopping into your calendar, by all means do it!

4. Have Fun! That’s all we really waaant, after all right? If you’ve been cooped up this winter, try to find ways to get social and sprinkle some joy into your life. It could mean hosting a dinner party at your apartment with your best gal pals, taking your hubby out to dinner at a new local hot-spot, or going to a comedy show. Get out of the house, or try to shake up your normal routine when staying in.

5. Try Meditating: Even if you don’t “have time” to fully practice daily, you do have time to work on yourself. For starters, something I’ve implemented is starting each day with a positive mantra. It’s something I set for myself before I get out of bed, look at my phone, or eat breakfast. Sometimes it’s a word like “clarity,” or I’ll set an intention like “You’re going to rock these meetings today, you’ve got this!” I’ve found it really helpful to start my day on a positive note, instead of a stressful one. How do you want to start your day?

6. Move More: Exercise doesn’t only have to be for the marathoning, sprinting, muscle-bound! And while I totally respect those who have a daily rigorous routine, something you enjoy is better than nothing at all. Right now, my body has been craving gentle exercise, so I’ve been making more time for yoga, sun-shiny walks around my neighborhood, and soulful, non-competitive spin classes like SoulCycle or Flywheel’s new FlyBeats.

7. Zone Out Negativity: Let’s all take a giant deep breath in and out together now, shall we? This past month, I’ve had to deal with a lot of negative vibes, in nearly all aspects of my life. It’s easy to let this bring you down, but the best thing you can do is brush it off and do you. Don’t let other’s negativity or opinions of you turn off your light. Shine on, baby!

What are you doing to work on you as we transition into the new season? Share below!

On Making Time for the things that light you up

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“Babe, I haven’t blogged in a couple weeks,” I whispered softly to my husband as we were falling asleep the other night.

“Well then, you should take that as a sign that you’re working too much,” he responded bluntly.

Don’t you just love how matter-of-fact men can be?

Here’s the thing though: he was right. I had stopped writing — my “me thing” — because I didn’t have time (or so I thought).

You see, when you suddenly realize you no longer “have time” for the little things that make you happy i.e. your true passions, its time to take a step back & take a good, long hard look at your life.

Where is that time going? Whether you’re working too hard or focusing your priorities elsewhere, there should never be “no time” to do you. In fact, I argue that these are the things we need to be actually making time for — our priorities.

For me, writing is that little joy, the thing in my life that helps me escape, sort my thoughts, and unleash my creativity. It’s not work. It’s not stressful. It’s not because I have to. It’s something I do for myself. And by not making time for my writing, I was actually doing myself a disservice in all aspects of my life: work, play, relationships.

Next time you’re feeling bogged down or finding it near impossible to squeeze in the things you love, it’s time to dig in to see what’s up.

What things you love are you finding you’re not having enough time for anymore? And more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

When the Scale gets you down, do what makes you feel good in your body!

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One month ago, I posted this on instagram:

“I weighed myself for the first time in over a year today. (I broke up with the scale years ago as I used to be the one who weighed myself 5 times a day + obsessed over calories.) Anyway, the number on the scale showed that I gained about 8 to 10 pounds since our last encounter.

Old me would have cried, gone on a new diet + then binged on peanut butter at midnight. New me took a deep breath + felt a sense of relief. Maybe I weigh a bit more, but I’m happy in my body. I’m healthy. I’m in a loving relationship. I have my kale and my cheese…my wine and my green juice. I’m me. I’m a woman. And guess what, in a few months from now I may weigh 10 pounds less…or 5 pounds more. And that’s OK. Because really, who the hell cares? All that truly matters in the end is how you FEEL. ❤”

I left the gym that cold, wintery night feeling proud of all I have overcome, and shook off the whole weight thing.

Yet lo and behold, about a week later I received a little visit from my old friend: self-doubt. I started to question how I let myself get there. I began noticing that my jeans indeed were pretty tight (maybe a little too tight for comfort). I wondered if maybe I got a little to comfy with the ease of take-out pad thai, ignoring my little ol’ stove.

It didn’t feel so good anymore.

So, I decided to move forward and do something about it. No, not about my weight or my body but shifting the way I felt about it. Instead of jumping on the latest Weight Watchers bandwagon or cleansing on a green-juice-only detox, I wanted to get back to the basics of feeling good in my body. My body.

Because, after all, no one else can dictate how you feel in your body.

Flash-forward a month, and I am enjoying the journey. I’ve been making an effort to forge through the bitter cold weather here in Boston to sweat it out at the gym or catch a heart-pumping, soul-rejuvenating spin class…even when I’m “too busy.” I’ve been saving my money (most nights) by cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients vs. taking the easy way out. Don’t get me wrong, takeout has its time and place but not when it’s taking over!

I’ve been eating clean (for the most part), drinking a ton of water with lemon, and avoiding gluten as much as I can because I know the grogginess and tummy ache I get afterward simply isn’t worth it. And I’ve been prioritizing sleep, self-care and cozy, unplugged time with my hubby.

I’m a work in progress, but I am started to feel better in my body, one step at a time. After all, it really is about the little things you do for yourself every day.

It’s funny how old ghosts you thought were gone can come back to haunt you when you least expect it. But it’s how you deal with it that truly matters.

What about you? Have you ever struggled with the number on the scale? What makes you feel best in your body?

Healthy Chicks in the Community: A Happy, Make-up loving Dancing Queen

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Good afternoon, and welcome to this week’s feature on Healthy Chicks in the Community. If you’re new to the blog, on Fridays I feature someone who embodies what it means to live well — mind, body + soul!

This week, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Gemma! Two of my favorite qualities about a person is positivity and passion, and Gemma embodies both of these in spades. You can clearly see she loves what she does, and wants to share it with the world! When you’ve got something you’re that passionate about, it’s a sin not to get your story out there. I’ll let her tell you for herself! ;)

NAME/AGE: Gemma Santamaria / 22 yrs old

BLOG/TWITTER: Website / FB Page

CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA

PHOTO TAKEN: Paulette’s Ballet Studio, Summer 2015

WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I run a dance program, Fun&Fit, which is based around finding the joy, and happiness in movement for teens and adults…as I like to call it, Happy Exercise!  Both my classes (BalletBarre and DanceCardio) strengthen, lengthen, energize, and tone the body and mind– but we have fun doing so!

NUMBER ONE PASSION: Inspiring, and being inspired by people, in all aspects of life.

I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I: Leave the studio after teaching or taking a class, because not only do I know I did a good thing for my body, but for my mind as well.

BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I reward my hard-work, by doing some not so hard-work…I look forward to earning my ‘couch potato’ time for sure.

TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: Extra Large Mugs, A Blender, and Anything that Makes Coffee!

NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: Makeup; As a self proclaimed beauty enthusiast, I love doing peoples’ makeup, learning the newest beauty trends, and trying new products. I even co-write a blog about my obsession!

THREE FAB THINGS ABOUT YOU: I’m an optimist, I believe in following your dreams, I know success is made out of hard work.

EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Dancing.

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Cheese pizza.

MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: To my fellow Healthy Chicks, keep doing what makes you smile, and keep being exactly who you are; there will only ever be one YOU.

Big thank you to Gemma for taking part in this week’s Healthy Chicks in the Community. If you’d like to nominate yourself or a friend in the future, just email me at rachelAThealthy-chicksDOTcom :)

Non BS Advice for Ringing in the New Year + Getting Sh*t done in 2016

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Eff the weight loss, green juice miracle cleanses + “bikini body by spring break” diet plans. Forget about the dream job/relationship/house/life. Say goodbye to cringe-worthy resolutions, doing things you don’t want to do and burning yourself out. This New Year, it’s going to be different. It’s time to do you (rather than what the self help book said you should do).

As you mosey your way through the whole new-year-resolution-setting thing this year, take a step back and pause. Breathe. Before you go through the motions of what you’ve done in years past or what your bffs are doing, think about what it is that lights you up + makes you feel most connected to yourself.

Here are some (BS-free!) tips to get you started on living your most authentic, productive, happiest self in 2016.

1. Let go of the stuff that no longer serves you: This is a biggie. Are you someone who says yes to everyone and everything? If so, you’ve got some major detoxing to do, and I’m not talking about your diet. It’s time to take a good, long hard look at your life.

Are the people, things and events in which you fill your life up with the things that make you feel good?

Are you surrounding yourself with positive people, those that lift you up and challenge you in a good way?

If not, it may be time to let go of the things that are no longer serving you. You know, the things that suck your energy, make you feel crappy or you find yourself complaining about. It’s time to say goodbye, for good. After all, when you say no to the things that suck from you, you’re actually saying yes to yourself!

2. Prioritize your self care: You could be doing all the right things and accomplishing so much, but none of that matters if you’re not taking care of yourself. It’s time to put your wellness back on the front burner where it belongs.

Fill up with nourishing foods that make your body feel fabulous. (Learn more about how to discover your humming foods here!). Treat your body like a goddess. Take time to rest, and don’t be afraid to take naps like a little kid — they’re divine. Practice yoga + deep breathing + meditation. Book a spa day just because.

When you put you first, you’re better able to get things done + serve others. Trust.

3. Focus on what you want to bring in to your life: Now that you’ve made some progress with #1 (i.e. cleansing yourself from things that are no longer serving you) it’s time to shower yourself with the good stuff. Forget mundane resolutions, and instead focus on what it is that you want to bring more of into your life.

Confidence? Strength? Success? Passion? Clarity? Love + comfort? What do you want to attract in 2016? Hold your focus on that. I’m a firm believer that what you put out into the universe has a beautiful way of coming back to you. If goals are your thing, feel free to create an intention around this; just keep it positive + feel-good i.e. no “lose 10 pounds” BS.

4. Take baby steps: Remember, it’s not a marathon. True progress takes time, patience and a whole lot o’ passion. Instead of shooting for the stars or coming up with ludicrous goals that you know can only hold up for a week or two, start small.  Why set yourself up for failure? If fitness is a big priority for you this year, start by finding a yoga studio you love, setting workout dates with your friends or coming up with a fun challenge to get the whole family involved. It’s great to think big, but also be realistic about it!

5. But don’t lose sight of the big picture (or be afraid to think big): With that said, try not to lose sight of the big picture. As you forge your way through 2016, many things are going to get thrown your way. It’s important to constantly ask yourself, “Is this in the direction of where I want to go?” “Am I truly happy?” Check in with yourself, and if you fall off track slightly, simply hop right back on and keep going!

Also note that no dream is too big. Don’t lose sight of those big ideas that get your heart pumping be it that trip to Italy or dream to open up your own business. It’s important to keep these things as constant reminders as to where you want to go; use them to drive you in the right direction and keep you motivated.

6. Stop apologizing. Seriously, I mean it. It’s time to stop apologizing for our actions now, unless of course an apology is truly due…which 99% of the time it’s not. Own you you are and be proud of that. There is no reason you need to apologize for who you are! Ever. Remember that.

7. Reflect one how far you’ve come: As you navigate your way through the new year, you’re likely going to re-set your intentions and critique yourself for the things in which you did and did not accomplish. As the months go by, be sure to also reflect on how far you’ve come thus far. You’ve accomplished a heck of a lot more than you give yourself credit! Celebrate that.

Do you enjoy new year traditions? What are the things you want to bring into your life in 2016?

 
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