It’s January? Seriously? I feel like the second half of 2013 blew away like a fart in the wind. That goes for some of my key areas of focus too. Well, there’s no looking back now and there’s no better time than to get my butt back in gear. Including some blogalicious writing eh?

I know one thing about the latter part of 2013…that winter blues came creeping in on me. I got into a slight rut and had some serious struggles with motivation in staying in shape and being healthy. I got pretty lazy in my decisions….”I was gonna hit the gym but a nice cold glass of Guinness with friends sure sounds nice.” I really am not sure what woke me up other than realizing I was just idling in life for a few months. I had lost some of my identity with what I wanted to be doing. So for the past month I have been heavily focused on getting “me” back and let me say…it sure it is nice.

Today I’m writing about the two elements I started with in getting “me” back….I needed to get back to eating better and back to a good fitness regimen. Both of these elements of my life are key foundation blocks to the rest of my wellbeing. My stress level, my sleep habits, my energy level at work, my relaxed mood with my daughter (just to name a few)….are all affected by these two elements. It seems as if I make good choices with food and fitness the good decisions in other areas of my life just come easier. It’s a ripple effect. My approach is as follows:

Step Away from the Candy Dish! Who doesn’t love a good snack right? Especially right around 3pm when you’re hitting the afternoon drag. If your workplace is like mine, then there is no shortage of available candy dishes and Girl Scout Cookie order forms. And if you’re anything like me, this can be one of the toughest areas of the crave attack to manage. Here are a few tips I follow to myself in check (most days):

  1. Out of sight, out of mind – whenever possible avoid the pathways that take you by the candy dish cubicles…you know where they are.
  2. Pick an alternative – chewing sugarless gum, a cup of tea, an apple.
  3. Keep count – not just the candy wrappers but the calories too. Those bite size Reese’s Peanut Butter cups add up pretty quick.
  4. Manage your hunger – It’s no joke when they say “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
  5. Be realistic – Lets face it, depriving ourselves may make the issue worse, so if you must allow yourself one piece per day and make sure you savor it because that’s all you’re gettin!

Get your workouts in…I repeat get your workouts in. But it’s snowing AGAIN! So what…get out there. Don’t let the cold weather get you down and certainly don’t let it be your excuse for not exercising. You can still exercise outside if the indoor routines are not your thing and I’m talking more than shoveling your driveway. Yes, it’s exercise but it’s not a full blown routine. Put your big girl shoes on (preferably water proof snow boots) and drive SUPER slow and carefully to the gym if you’re NOT an outdoorsy type. You’d be surprised how many folks get their butts to the gym on those snowy days. Once you are there, you’ll be glad you are. However, IF you happen to have a Polar Vortex come your way like we just did here in Indiana, then you might have to improvise with some indoor routines. Personally, I like to get on FitnessRX’s website or Women’s Health. Sometimes I just like to bust out the good ole Winsor Pilates DVD I still have from 2003.

Grab a buddy: Sometimes it’s hard to get the motivation to be active. Grab a buddy and team up. Partner workouts are some of the most effective when it comes to accountability and sustainability. I LOVE this partner routine. Give it a try! If working out with someone isn’t your thing (some days its definitely not for me) then at least find someone you can discuss your goals with. Keep inspiring each other and emailing each other how your week is going. Encourage each other to keep on track. Naturally, my partner in all of this is my SisterWoman, Cindy. You can read about why here. If working out is not your thing this totally goes for crafty projects and cooking healthy meals too. Cindy and I recently had post-workout dinner together at my house and it was SO easy to keep the portions in check and the cooking healthy. I did the cooking in this case so I wasn’t about to try and feed her some oversized unhealthy dinner. It’s easy when you’re both focused on the same goals. I’m also going to be working on a crafty DIY project with a friend here soon too which I know will be incredibly rewarding and full of some necessary girl time.

Pick a new challenge: You’re thinking, “but Mel…I’ve got enough S%#T on my plate the last thing I need to do is add something else to it.” Well, I’m not saying to necessarily add something I’m just saying maybe switch things up a bit. If you’ve been running like a mouse on a squeaky wheel to stay in shape for the past 6 months maybe switch it up and hit the weights instead, maybe try some Yoga, sign up for an event. I spent a good part of 2013 getting into some of the best shape of my life and then I spent at least 2 or 3 months being really sick of it all and kind of abandoned ship. SO…I signed up for a half marathon. It’s required me to read up on running and study a whole new world and style of fitness. That is what motivates me so I needed something NEW to learn.

If you’re in a rut or feeling stuck in life do some reflecting. Think back to when you felt good and happy. If your life has changed that is expected. What you have control over is how you will react to those changes. Be resilient my dear friends. Be strong, confident, and beautiful through the choices you make to live a life you deserve. I hope 2014 is your year whether it be your year of continued happiness or your year of renewed happiness. Let’s do this!