This month represents the year mark where I began to make huge changes to my overall lifestyle and I couldn’t be happier at the progress I’ve made. My life is full of so much more positivity and I feel better both physically and mentally each and every day. Because I’ve seen such a drastic difference in my quality of life, I wanted to observe what small and big changes I’ve made to make that happen. Some of these changes have been a struggle, others have been too rewarding to ever look back. Either way, I think they are well worth noting and will hopefully inspire some people out there to jump on their summer vibes and work even harder to achieve their goals.
- Made a good night’s sleep a priority
- Growing up I was definitely a night owl – staying up all hours of the night reading, writing or playing video games (because you can’t make a Sim successful in only two hours). I never made getting a good night’s rest a priority and it showed in my lack of focus and productivity during the day. It wouldn’t matter if I had slept a full eight hours or twelve hours – I was constantly exhausted, lethargic, moody and foggy brained. Naps were a necessity to get through the day – not a luxury. Over time I realized it’s not all about the number of hours you sleep – it’s keeping a set schedule so your body knows when to feel awake and when to feel tired.
- Drank more water
- I started drinking much more water in the morning then began to continue the habit throughout the day. Eventually my goal became three litres of water a day. Whether I reached it or not, working toward that number has definitely helped increase my overall water intake – boosting my energy levels and heightening my focus.
- Cut back on dairy
- Once I made the switch to almond milk in my smoothies, cereal, tea and coffee I slowly began to become much more sensitive to how dairy made me feel physically. Within five minutes of consuming any type of cheese, yogurt, milk or dairy product I felt tired and slightly nauseated. The feeling went away after a little while but my stomach was then bloated for the rest of the day – continuing the discomfort. Upon discovering this, I’ve switched to almond or cashew milk, become familiar with vegan cheese as well as completely cut back on consuming regular cheese or dishes that include it. I can definitely notice a difference in how I physically feel as well as in my skin’s overall quality.
- Made exercise a habit
- This one was a bit difficult as before I decided to change my lifestyle I was an extremely lazy person. After completing years of dance I became a couch potato – completely forgetting the true importance and benefits of daily exercise. Once I decided to make exercise a part of my routine I found a few body circuit workouts that I could do at home, combined them and put together a badass playlist. Once I began, I committed myself to working out 5-6 days a week with one day of rest. It was tough, but after about one month I started to really experience the benefits both physically and mentally. Soon my workouts became so habitual that on days I didn’t work out I felt off. They say it takes twenty-one days to form a habit – why not make today Day One?
- No junk food zone
- I’m the type of person who will consume chips, ice cream, chocolate or any other junk food the day it is purchased. I genuinely applaud all of you who can fold the top of the chip bag down and place it back in the cupboard to enjoy at a later date. When I buy bags of chips they usually don’t even see the cupboard. Knowing this about myself, unless I will be consuming the junk food that particular day (cheat day or movie night), I don’t allow it in the house. Now, if I’m craving ice cream at 11pm on a Tuesday I’m going to have to put on pants and get it. After realizing this, I lose motivation and make a sweet smoothie instead. Not only is this a good idea to help reach my fitness goals, it also means the next day won’t be a write off for me as my poor liver tries to process all the crap I put into it the night before.
- Cut back on gluten and added sugars
- Much like dairy – after consuming loads of gluten or added sugars I was left feeling bloated, lethargic and overall uncomfortable. I made the switch to pasta made from quinoa and brown rice and discovered crackers made from sweet potatoes and flax seeds. I dabble back and forth between gluten-free bread and rye bread with whole grains. Although there are many benefits to going gluten-free you shouldn’t ignore the fact that there can be a lot of fillers in gluten-free products. Make sure you aren’t missing out on the amazing benefits of whole grains and read the label before you buy!
- Starting reading again
- As a child and into my teen years I was a bookworm. I would pull all-nighters just to finish a good book. But of course school became busier and reading became a responsibility – not a luxury. Soon I didn’t have the time or energy to focus on a well-written novel. Once I graduated I made a promise to myself that I would read more. So far, I’ve read some extremely motivational books that inspired me to re-shape my life (Girl Boss, You Are a Badass) as well as I have dug out some of my favourites to enjoy again. Reading is both relaxing and challenging and makes sure you are continuously expanding your mind as well as forming new thoughts and opinions.
- Made a conscious effort to be more grateful
- I may sound like a cheeseball here – but this type of perspective change is needed if you want to drastically change your life. Upon receiving The Five Minute Journal as a gift during a period where I was experiencing feelings of failure and lack of focus – I have been making an effort to be more grateful for the things and life I have. Terrible things are happening all around us at all times during the day – whether on the news or around the corner from our home. It’s important to keep a positive mind and constantly take inventory of the number of amazing things you have to be thankful for. This makes the sweet sweeter and the bitter more tolerable.
And there you have it – the eight things I did to completely transform my life. Hopefully in the coming months I’ll have another list and more good news to share with you. It’s never too late to change your life and always keep in mind that progress is progress no matter how small. Continuously pat yourself on the back whenever you achieve something positive.