How to Improve your Lifestyle to Increase your Happiness
As we slide into the second month of the year many of us begin to lose sight of our resolutions and goals to settle right back into a routine. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a routine… I am actually a huge fan of that type of structure… but the real question comes when your routine is not getting you closer to your goals. Obtaining goals and plans you have for yourself increases your lifestyle, therefore increasing your happiness.
I recently moved from New York City to Hong Kong. My brief experience in Hong Kong has already increased my happiness because I was forced out of my New York City routine. I was forced to develop a day to day plan and reevaluate my goals. I am here to help you reevaluate your goals without having to move across the world, but rather improve your current situation. Below I’ve compiled three different steps to take in order to improve your lifestyle and happiness. There is heavy influence on fitness, nutrition, and mental wellness as I’ve learned these are key to my happiness and others around me. I suggest you create one realistic, obtainable goal from each step to apply to your everyday life. I’ve added suggested goals, but please feel free to create your own! I actually suggest you create your own goals in order to increase your chances of sticking to these lifestyle changes. My suggested goals are simply for reference.
The very first step I want you to take is to write down what you want out of life. What are your dreams? Aspirations? Goals? From there I’d like you to consider the following three steps. List one goal from each step and briefly explain how obtaining that goal will get you closer to your listed life aspirations.
Stay in Motion
Movement and exercise are proven to increase mood, productivity, health, and quality of life. Beginning a workout is the hardest part, but you must think of how you’ll feel at the end. I can truthfully tell you that I’ve never felt, nor heard of anyone else, that has said they regret working out. Can you say the same? Constant motion is essential to improved happiness. I do not only workout at a gym, but find other ways to stay in motion. I am constantly taking my six month old Chesapeake Bay Retriever for long walks as well as running, working out outside, swimming, yoga, biking, and hiking. Do what you enjoy, and what makes you feel the best. You are more likely to keep your exercise goals if you are truly enjoying it. Human bodies crave movement… You can absolutely find a type of exercise that works for you.
Examples of movement goals:
- Walk 10,000+ steps per day
- Exercise 5x a week
- Take the dog or kids for a walk 2-3x day
- Run outside instead of on the treadmill
- Swim once a week
It’s so easy to consume the easiest, fastest, most filling foods… especially when stuck in a routine that is not getting you to your listed goals. Since moving to Hong Kong I have a new appreciation of food. There are many foods here that are familiar, but many that are not. When trying a new food, we don't mindlessly consume, but rather taste. You sit down and look at the food, smell the food, take small bites of the food, and create this entire experience for yourself that makes it memorable… regardless if you dislike the food or love the food. These experiences help create a lifestyle change that causes you to pay more attention to your body and senses. Try to get back to this way of eating even when eating your favorites. Keep the diet rules simple. Eat when hungry and until you’re full. Eat primarily plant based, and stay away from processed sugar. Drink water, sparkling water, and herbal teas more than soda, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages.
Examples of consumption goals:
- Eat one completely plant based meal a day
- Have only one processed sugar treat a week
- Swap herbal tea for coffee (Teapigs is the best tea brand… Try their Licorice & Peppermint)
- Make your own dinner the majority of the week instead of ordering in
- Try a new food once a week to expand your palate
Calm your Mind
Living in New York City didn't necessarily teach me to be the most patient, calm, or relaxed human being. Moving to Repulse Bay in Hong Kong has shown me how high-strung I had become in the city. I’ve since taken some steps to help facilitate a calm mind which allows me to more readily feel a sense of peace, gratitude, and happiness. I take Sundays off. Sunday works best for me to not work, workout, or stress out. I find it allows me to prepare for the week and gives me the one day to practice spiritually without distraction. I also practice yoga more than I ever have. I greatly enjoy the peace and calmness it brings to the day, and I advise anyone to try yoga. Meditation is also an excellent way to silence your mind. You can find tutorials online for free! Obtaining a peaceful mind is most important to improving your overall lifestyle and happiness. With a calm and grateful mind you can accomplish anything. Ridding yourself of a racing mind and anxiety leaves you with a feeling of well-being and happiness that is addictive.
Examples of mind calming goals:
- Take one day to dedicate to resting your body and mind from work and working out
- Once a week set some time aside to create a list of what you want to accomplish that week
- Pick up a few positive energy books to read
- Make an effort to meet up or call a friend you haven’t seen in a while
- Take up meditation, yoga, or running
Remember that anything life-changing takes time. With these guidelines you can easily map out your happiness plan. Be realistic, and honest with yourself. And always remember that there is nothing you cannot accomplish.
If you need help with any of these steps, please contact me via my ‘Contact’ tab at nikkilynnefitness.com, and I will provide you with a free wellness consultation.