A lot of people like New Year Resolutions or extremely dislike them. I think it is a great idea to set goals for yourself and get on the right track. I am not all about the “New year, new me!” marketing sabotage, which includes extreme diets or breakable lifestyles. However, I do think you should set life-improving goals throughout the year and the new year just makes it easy to. In this article, I will be sharing some of my favorite healthy meals, workout routines, meditating tips, goal creating advice, and balancing lifestyle I have made that have improved my life for the better.
Favorite healthy meals
I wanted to share some of my favorite dinner meals that are easy and keep my life balanced. I like making new dinners every week too, so I don’t often have repeats but these are recipes I have saved in my recipe box and enjoyed a lot. As well as some “healthy” eating cookbooks I love and cook from very often.
(minus bacon vinaigrette but with a simple Dijon vinaigrette and goat cheese)
Kitchen Matters: More than 100 Recipes and Tips to Transform the Way You Cook and Eat — Wholesome, Nourishing, Unforgettable By Pamela Salzman
Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit By Candice Kumai
The Laura Lea Balanced Cookbook: 120+ Everyday Recipes for the Healthy Home Cook By Laura Lea Goldberg
The Healthy Mind Cookbook: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity By Rebecca Katz
Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body: A Cookbook By Kathryne Taylor
A big new year resolution I always hear or see is, “to work out more”. Working out does not need to be an intense non enjoyable 3-hour commitment every day. I am confident everyone has a workout they can enjoy, like weight lifting, CrossFit, cycling, walking, running, swimming, etc. The important thing with working out is that you enjoy it, or you won’t stick with it and you’re miserable doing it. I work out 6 days a week for about an hour to an hour and a half. When I tell people that they think I am insane, but my schedule allows it and I absolutely love doing it. I’ll talk about it in the next section, but weight lifting and cardio help me enter a meditative state, and for that hour to an hour and a half is my time and no one or nothing can bother me. If you love what you are doing you will keep doing it. I have worked out for almost 4 years like this, it comes easy to me. If you don’t like doing it, you will quickly lose motivation. I don’t think, “I have to work out” or “I don’t want to work out but I will”, instead I think “I get to work out and move my body in the way that I enjoy.” Like I said everyone has an activity they love while moving their body, it takes trial and error to find it, but don’t give up on it. Workout for you too and the ability you have to move your body, don’t let your soul reason for working out be an egotistical reason, again you quickly lose motivation.
Meditating is not always sitting down and channeling into your body. Meditating actually means to be present. I always encourage people to find something or multiple things that help them get to the meditative state of mind. You could do these meditative things every day to a couple of times a week. You’ll be surprised how much happier and calmer you are. For me it’s a few things like; baking, cooking, working out, running, or journaling. Everyone has something that helps them get into the meditative state, without the outside world getting into their head. I encourage you to find it this year.
Goal creating tips
Ever since I started dating my boyfriend I have been making new years goals. I find this an easy way to outline somethings I want to do in the upcoming year. My biggest rule when I make goals is to not get bummed out or stress if I do not complete them. I just see if they could get pushed to the next year or figure out why I couldn’t complete them. A motto I have in life is; life is too short to get worked up. Sometimes it’s hard to follow, but always remember that!
Let me show you how I create my goals, everyone’s looks different. When I create my goals I put them in categories like physical, career, financial, personal, social, spiritual, boyfriend. Then from there, I create at least one goal in each category using the goal-setting technique “SMART”. I’ll link an article here explaining SMART goals. Here is a short concept image below.
I learned this goal-setting technique in college and I think it is great. Here is one of my goals for example: “Invest at least $## by the end of 2021 (Roth IRA, personal, 401K)”. My goal is specific in my investment accounts, measurable with the amount I put (not displayed for personal reasons), attainable since it is not out of my limits in money, relevant I am currently in that stage of my life, time-bound by the end of 2021.
Using this goal format, makes making goals easier and less broad or vague.
Some of you may be surprised, but I do not eat sweets every day. I actually keep a pretty well-balanced diet. In high school, I ate pure junk and my body did not feel great. I was lucky to have a fast metabolism, in those days, but my body would constantly ache and I did not feel fit. It wasn’t until my freshmen year of college I decided to eat healthier. I was lucky to grow up with my mother as a dietitian, so I had a strong knowledge of healthy food living, but I did do tons of research myself, and I mean tons and tons! Over the years I have developed a really healthy relationship with food. That is not to say there weren’t extreme dips along the way but this is what I have learned.
If your body is craving something have it: You and I have seen all those ads about “cut out carbs”, “fats are bad for you”, “You should be getting 3 times as much protein in”, etc. The bottom line is your body is different than everyone. What works for you may not work for someone else. Do not put yourself on an extremely limited food or bad diet (unless medically advised, by a dietitian or a doctor). Your body knows what it does and does not need. If you don’t listen to it, it’s out of balance and does not operate its best. I have been there and done that. Life is too short to constantly worry about a bread roll or a piece of cake you ate. Enjoy it and move on. Food is fun, it should not be a part of a mental prison. So if you are craving pasta, eat as much pasta as you want, until you feel full and satisfied. I am not saying I am against vegans, pescatarians, or any other diet. I actually used to be a pescatarian for 3 years and then stopped because I want to feel freer with my food choices. I am completely fine and encouraging them if they make you happy and feel good. That is what it’s about at the end of the day.
If you want that food have it: What I mean by this is not “I am craving a whole pint of ice cream” (I mean if you want it do it, I won’t judge or know) but instead I mean; don’t be afraid of having that piece of chocolate or that pop. If you want it, have it. Don’t push yourself to eat when you are not hungry just because you want sweets. Instead think about if you are really eating out of boredom and feeling sick, or are you enjoying it. This could take practice, but you should not eat past a point of fullness only to feel sick. Once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature to eat only to be healthy, full, or satisfied. The food will still be there the next day and you’ll enjoy it more when you aren’t so full.
This might sound weird since I have a baking blog, but do not keep “junk food” around. If you are someone struggling with getting on a healthier way of living do not keep things that you know you will eat and slow down your progress. I know I just talked about giving in to the food you want, but if you are truly struggling with a balanced diet, do not buy “junk food” that you will eat in one sitting etc. Just get rid of the foods. The timeline is up to you on how long it takes to slowly bring back those foods into your life or not. When I got healthier my freshman year of college I got rid of my “junk food”, like ramen packets, chips, etc. Anything that I mindlessly ate and did not make me feel physically good after consuming. Believe me, I have “junk food” in my apartment right now, like chips, candy, etc., but I am not tempted like I used to be to consume all of it and don’t even think twice when I look at it. I save it when I want it. The important point is, “junk food” should not make up most of your diet, but you should not think of it as something off limits. This is the “balanced” diet I am talking about; “junk food” is something that is fun and enjoyable. Treat it as that. Not something that is sworn off forever, it’s up to you to find your healthy balance. It’s like desserts, I love them, but I don’t eat them everyday, they are a treat and should be acted like it. It is not by any means something you earn, but something to consume, enjoy, and move on from.
Life is all about balance. I am not telling you I am perfect by any means, but I have learned to balance my food and mental habits over the years and wanted to share. I am a normal 23-year-old, I have a full-time job outside of my blog, friends, family, etc. I lead a life that works for me. I was tired of seeing marketing or influencers that show a perfect lifestyle. If you really want a balanced life you have to get in touch with yourself and think about what makes you live in the moment, move your body, have balanced eating and healthy habits. Don’t get down on yourself if you slip up, that’s a part of life. Trust me we all have had those times! Just get back up and try again because the only one stopping you is YOU.
Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian or medical professional. This article is about how I keep a healthy and balanced life but still enjoy my baking, treats and anything else life has to offer! I own no rights to the images of the cookbooks or recipes featured.