Like clockwork, every year around this time I end up racking my brain for ways I can improve upon myself for the following year. It’s not that I’m unable to conjure up any weaknesses that need to be refined, on the contrary, there are so many that I have a hard time narrowing things down. I realize I tend to over-think things, but sometimes I wish someone would just lay out a few categories so I could find precisely the area(s) of my life I want to focus on in the coming year. Now, I’m aware that these things are normally an individual undertaking, as everyone has their own goals and objectives, but I just thought I’d throw out a few mainstays to think about this year when continuing to develop into the very best version of you. This first article will be for your body, and the second, appearing late on New Year’s Eve, will be for your soul. So, here’s to pruning, growing and soaking in this blessed new year. (Clink!)

1. Mix up your active routine. Always workout in a gym? Take a hike (literally). Try a new class or join a local sports league, go skydiving this year, or bungee jump during your vacation in the tropics. Just get out of your comfort zone in some way. You’ll thank yourself afterward. Even better; get a friend to do it with you, accountability is priceless and it’s way more fun to do activities with someone.

2. Commit to getting outside more. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. Just lather up sunscreen on your beautiful face and let that Vitamin D seep in.

3. Drink more water and/or green tea. You don’t need to over-think this…keep a water bottle with you when you can (in your car or purse, preferably). Make sure you’re drinking throughout the day and even more so if you work out at all. Your body and face will glow if you’re getting enough. The only down side is more trips to the loo. Enjoy hot green tea with some honey or brew a big pot of water and add about 5-6 green tea bags, let it steep and pour into a large pitcher. It’s iced tea at your fingertips for the next few days.

4. Be good to your skin before bed. Don’t go to bed without cleansing and moisturizing. If you don’t know what products are best-suited for your skin type, talk to your dermatologist, or even easier… the skincare expert at Sephora. So easy.

5. Eat more fruits and veggies. Throw some spinach and kale in those winter soups and summer salads, snack on apples with almond butter and carrots with hummus between meals if you get hungry. Just grab something fresh! Shop along the edges of the grocery store and avoid the dreaded “middle aisles.” Eat foods that don’t have irrationally long shelf-lives.

6. Strive to get eight hours of sleep. Set a regular bedtime, avoid electronics an hour before you go to bed, and limit your caffeine intake during the day.

7. Quit diet soda. I must say, this is something that is so incredibly hard for me to do. I know that aspartame is terrible, yet every time I find myself at a restaurant I’m ordering my diet coke with lime. Why oh why can’t I quit you, DC? My refuge tends to be sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea or even a splurge from time to time with Izze.

8. Quit smoking. There are more resources than ever to help you. You have to remember it’s so incredibly harmful to your one body you’ve been given. And I’m not just talking about the chain smokers; if you’re a social smoker, it’s time to kick the habit. It ages you prematurely and is a lot of extra work to cover up the smell of your breath, on your clothes, and in your house and car.

9. Stretch! Try and limber up every morning or evening. Stretching can help improve flexibility. And better flexibility will improve your performance in physical activities and decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move more efficiently.

10. Floss. The common reason people do not floss is because “it hurts,” but the reason for this is unhealthy gums. After one week, the pain or bleeding will go away. Dentists say that flossing is even more important than brushing. Try and do this every night, or at least three times a week! As you get older, your teeth and gums will thank you for preventing the dangerous gum disease Gingivitis.


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