Getting healthy and staying healthy is a full time job and can be a daunting task. There are so many different aspects to being healthy; physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are many tools, that each take a few minutes of your day. So how does one balance this? Where do you begin and how do you stick with it once you've started the process? I've created a 12 Step Program, based on my own experience. A few tips before I share the program; don't despair. How many times do you set a weight loss goal or decide to cut out coffee, and then on day five you break down, have a drink or binge on processed food? Most people say screw it, and go wild after that. Take a moment to access what happened, forgive yourself, and reset your intention. Everyone breaks, I don't care who you are, or how many years you've been on the strictest regiment known to man, we are all human. Don't beat yourself up because you just can't stand the idea of exercising today, just make sure to fit it in tomorrow. Learning to love yourself and accept yourself is an important tool to achieving a healthier you.
12 Steps to a Healthier You
1. Meditate. Ok, so this may sounds strange to some of you, and others may wonder why I didn't start with cutting coffee or daily exercise, but trust me, this is the first step if you want to implement a successful health program into your life. Start with 5 minutes, every day to meditate on your desires, the things you want to improve, and what areas in your life you feel you may not be as healthy as you like. Meditation has several purposes a) you can figure out what your healthy goals are b) it helps center and focus you on achieving those goals c) it creates balance. Try meditating for a week on creating a healthier you. Visualize yourself with an abundance of energy, an easy smile, a body type that allows you to wear anything you wish, freedom from disease and pain, etc. Feel it, know it will be yours, focus your energy, and you'll be ready to take the next step.
2. Establish Your Health Goals. Now that you've meditated and focused, what areas did you find need improvement. Are you tired a lot? Not getting enough sleep? Do you get colds frequently? Constipated? Do you feel depressed? Are you a mess Spiritually? Write down what you discovered about yourself in meditation, and create some achievable goals, start small. For instance, if weight loss is a goal, instead of saying you will loose 50 lbs in three months, start small, 2-5 lbs a week. Personally, I think you should throw out that scale, and focus instead on how loose your pants are getting and how much better you feel physically, but each person must make that decision for themselves. Starting with weekly, or even daily goals, will definitely make it more likely you will succeed. If for some reason you don't hit your goal that week, you can always start fresh with the next week!
3. Daily Affirmation. Ok, you've meditated, you've set your goals, now you need to affirm everyday to yourself that you are a superwoman/man and can easily achieve what it is that you desire. Post your goals on the mirror so you can see them each morning. When you get up, look yourself in the mirror and say "I love you. I believe in you. You're a rockstar!" Then, create an affirmation regarding your goals. For example, "I am on the path to a healthier me. I deserve to be fit, happy, and connected to the Universe/God. I love my body, I believe I am worth it, and today I am empowered to be the best me I can be." This is going to be extremely difficult for most of you at first. "I love myself...whaaat!!" It's an important step to successfully transforming your life, and I guarantee you it will get easier over time. You can also Empower Your Affirmations With EFT, a wonderful tool that will release some of the emotional blocks you may have.
4. Green Smoothies. Most of the time, the mindset initially is "what can I eliminate from my diet". While eliminating things is important, and a lot of health advocates do say it can be more important than what you add to your diet, I feel that part of where people fail is they feel denied. So personally, I think adding something fun and delicious, that will immediately make you feel better, will make it easier to start eliminating when the time comes. You can read more about adding green smoothies to your diet in my blog entry Healthy Eating Monday's: Green Smoothies.
5. Shake That Thing! Exercise is extremely important. It moves the lymph, which clears toxins from your body, it boosts your endorphins, giving you a happy vibe, and gives you energy! It's so important to find something you like. If you hate your routine, you will not do it. Don't like the gym, don't get a gym membership! There are so many things you can do from the comfort of your own home. Take a walk, ride your bike (can you walk/bike to work?), bounce on a rebounder, do yoga, pop in an aerobics video, just MOVE!! You can mix it up, see what feels like fun each day, and it NEEDS to be fun. Dancing is also a great way to exercise, simply pop in a CD, and shake your thang!
6. Eliminate Coffee/Add Tea. Coffee is a stimulant, and gives you a false sense of energy, followed by a big crash. Learn to say no to coffee, and yes to tea instead. Personally, I feel black tea is virtually worthless, so make the switch to green, red, yerba mate, white or an herbal blend. Allegro teas are inexpensive and have fun names such as "Engage Your Brain" and "Feel Flawless". With the exception of red tea, most teas do have some caffeine as well, but also contain many herbs and anti-oxidants that will improve your health and clean your liver.
7. Forgiveness. Things are starting to get sticky, we've added some new things to our life, and now eliminated something precious to us as well. It's time to break out the emotional tools and keep ourselves feeling good. Chances are, there has been a day (or two) that you've fallen off the wagon a bit by now. You are also probably remembering all those past experiences, where you tried to make the change and "failed". It's time to forgive yourself and release that toxic energy. Read more about Forgiveness tools in my previous blog on the subject.
8. Elimination Time! It's time to cut some more "no no's" from the diet. In my blog post So You Want to Eat Healthier and Feel Better, I discussed cutting back on carbs, eliminating processed foods and soda pop, and participating in Meatless Monday's. Check it out here: http://existingstricky.blogspot.com/2010/08/so-you-want-to-eat-healthy-and-feel.html
9. Detox Your World. At this point you should feel a real shift in how you are feeling. Chances are you are having more bowel movements, your skin may be breaking out or clearing up, you have more energy and feel balanced. It's important to detox during this period. There are many important tools, such as Skin Brushing, colonics/enema's, Epsom salt baths, neti pot, infra-red sauna, deep breathing exercises, parasite cleanse, etc. If you don't move the toxins out of your body, they will recirculate into your blood stream and can cause fatigue and illness. Pick one or two tools, and incorporate into your daily practice. Most take only a few minutes, but for some you may have to schedule yourself a bit.
10. Laughter. Laughter increases oxygen to the brain, stimulates your cells, strengthens your stomach muscles, is great exercise and makes you happy! The more you laugh, the better you will feel. Start off by setting aside one full minute to laugh each day. Set a timer, and just start cackling. You will likely feel ridiculous at first, but over time it will get easier. Ideally, you want to spend 30 minutes a day laughing. Find a great comedy, giggle with your girlfriends, subscribe to humorous quotes or blogs, enroll in Laughter Yoga, and start belly rumbling! Hint: if you are having trouble laughing, start by smiling, smile at yourself in the mirror, it will crack you up!
11. Balance Your Energy. We are all energy, and regardless of how healthy our diets are, how much we exercise, and all the emotional releases we have, sometimes our energy meridians can get thrown out of wack. If you are following all the steps, and still feeling some fatigue or imbalance, I would suggest that this has happened to you. I blogged a bit about this a few months ago in my Energy Medicine entry. I highly recommend implementing Donna Eden's 5 Minute Daily Energy Routine into your schedule. I do it first thing when I get up. It removes any energy blockages, and I've noticed an immediate energy increase since I've implemented this tool. Check it out here: http://www.squidoo.com/energy-routine
12. Prayer. It's important to have a sense of grace in your life. Regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, at some point, you need to get out of your own way, and let go/let god. Prayer is simply a way to release your fears, your desires, anything to the Universe. Let it go, take a step back, and watch the Law of Attraction at work. This is a great tool to manifest the life you want, and develop a healthier you on all levels.
What tools have you used to transform your life? Let me know how these 12 Steps work for you, I'd love to hear about your progress!
Love and Gratitude,