Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017!
Greetings and Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and also had the opportunity for some rest, relaxation, and time with family and friends. I hope you feel refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle the spring semester. As I look forward at the spring semester there are so many positive things on the horizon. One of which, is continuing to see our strategic planning mission progress. A multitude of work by so many dedicated staff, faculty, and students went into the first part of the process of crafting core values and strategic initiatives, refining SMART goals and communicating key aspects of our planning process to state legislators. As we embark on this next semester and continue the important work regarding the strategic planning process, I want to invite and encourage you to attend one of the upcoming Campus Conversations. These are scheduled for January 19th from 3:00-4:30PM and January 24th from 10:30AM-12:00PM both take place in the Memorial Union River Valley Room. These will be opportunities for you to hear from President Kennedy and to share your insight and feedback on the tactics for each SMART goal. More information on the Strategic Plan can be found here. I look forward to seeing you at one of these sessions. Your input is critical in this process!
A new year brings occasion for reflection on the previous year but more importantly, an opportunity to make plans and develop aspirations for the upcoming year. For some that may be to eat more healthfully, spend less time on social media, or spend more time with family. I know traditionally the goal for a new year is to start exercising or eat more kale:). Well, there’s someone I know pretty well that makes fitness and healthy eating a part of her everyday life and so I’ve asked Rachel from my office to share some tips and advice that have worked for her to help make her health a priority.
- Get up earlier.
- Start setting your alarm to get up just 20-30 minutes earlier each morning and use that time to do some push-ups, jumping jacks, ab crunches, stretching or yoga—just do something to get your heart pumping and to wake up your mind first thing in the morning. It sets the tone for your whole day and you’ll feel more energized and focused.
- Get prepared.
- Prepare a space in your apartment or house to exercise or practice yoga daily. Things to consider adding to your space: yoga mat (or a towel), dumbbells (soup cans work, too), bottle of water and an iPod to play inspirational/motivational music.
- Prepare your kitchen. Eliminate unhealthy “trouble” foods from your fridge and pantry. Consider donating them to a local food shelf.
- Prepare your mind for success and be healthy-minded. Commit to your 20-30 daily minutes and stay focused and present while you practice. This is dedicated “you” time so try to eliminate distractions of phone, email and interruptions.
- Get organized.
- Plan your workouts for the week. Try to incorporate a little bit of cardio, strength training and stretching into each 20-30-minute slice of time. For example, the following is a 15-minute total body work out that does not require any special equipment: 5 push-ups, 15 squats, 10 ab crunches, 5 lunges on each leg, hold a 15 second plank (do this 5 times through) and finish with 5 minutes of stretching. Another tip is to type up your workout plan for the week and print it out and hang it in your workout space—check each day off as you complete the workout!
- Use Sunday afternoons to meal prep. Plan your meals for the week and make what you can in advance—cut up veggies and fruits and put in individual bags, portion out trail mix, make a large pot of chili—have some that night and freeze the rest in individual containers to have later in the week; bake or grill chicken breasts to warm up later in the week along with a bag of steamed veggies for a quick week night meal.
- Layout your workout clothes or pack your gym bag the night before. If you’re prepared and not rushed you’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of that morning sweat session or hitting the gym after work.
- Make a playlist—make it motivational and inspiring. There are lots of stations on Pandora and Spotify, too!
- Get it on your calendar. Put your workouts on your calendar like any other appointment. Set the appointment to send you a reminder. Don’t cancel on yourself!
- Get inspired.
- Use Pinterest to look for different workouts or healthy meals. Make a board that is dedicated to health and fitness and refer back to the board when you need ideas or inspiration. (I used Pinterest for the workout noted above by entering key words “20-minute total body workout without weights”.)
- Consider creating an accountability account on Instagram. I created a separate account for my health and fitness goals so I don’t feel like I’m pushing them on anyone else. Follow others who inspire you or healthy chefs who post yummy, nutritious meals. This is also your place to unabashedly post sweaty selfies and other motivational photos or quotes that you can always go back and refer to when you need a little inspiration. It’s like a photo journal of your fitness journey!
- Get in the habit.
- Keep going, keep practicing, keep setting small goals. Remember that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so consistency is key. Keep setting your alarm to get in your workout first thing in the morning, and before you know it—you’ll look forward to it and your body will learn to expect it.
- Don’t be tempted to take weekends off. They account for almost half of the month so don’t be tempted to skip your sweat sessions on Saturday and Sunday. These are great days to try a new class at the local gym or to do a follow-along workout on YouTube!
- Get hydrated.
- Keep a water bottle at your desk, in your car, and right by you when you work out. It increases your metabolism and helps fight fatigue.
- Try to drink half your body weight in ounces each day (your weight X 67% = ounces of water to consume daily). Try adding lemon or cucumbers to keep it interesting!
- Get your food from the perimeter of the grocery store.
- Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and snacks. If you stick to the perimeter of the grocery store for your proteins and produce you are more likely to avoid processed cereals, snacks and junk food. Aim to make the majority of your meals consist of lean meats, lots of greens, fruits and veggies.
- Keep your meals simple and quick. Pinterest is a great resource for this and you’ll find lots of blogs that post healthy meals that cater to all sorts of diets and restrictions you may have. My favorite meal is grilled salmon drizzled with olive oil, black pepper and dill and then I steam some asparagus on the side. Experiment with new recipes on the weekend when you have more time.
- Get your friends and family on board.
- Let your spouse, significant other, family and friends in on your goals to be healthier. You can’t force them to do it with you but you can encourage them and set an example!
- Make going to the gym a family affair. Play a game of flag football or go sledding together.
- Find an accountability partner. Working out with someone else is often all the motivation you need to get up for your morning workout or to make it to that spin class after work. Having someone else there sweating with you and cheering each other on is a great way to keep each other accountable.
- Try new healthy meals your friends and family will enjoy. Again, Pinterest is a great resource—you can even take your favorite comfort food and make it healthy with some easy tweaks on ingredients.
- Get moving and get results.
- Try to make sure you’re moving at least a little every hour. I have a sit/stand station at work but find that I prefer standing. I feel more alert and conscious of my body and muscles. I find myself standing up straighter and even sucking in my stomach while I’m standing.
- Set a SMART goal to obtain results—make sure it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example: I will lose 15 pounds in 10 weeks.
- Be hard on yourself to achieve goals and push harder but go easy on yourself if you slip up—the most important thing is to stand up and get back on track. Don’t let one slip derail your goal-learn from it and do better tomorrow.
- Get some sleep!
- Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Our bodies need this time to heal, restore and recharge and you will be more likely to get up for that early morning workout if you have had adequate rest.
*Disclaimer—I am in no way an expert. I am not a dietitian or personal trainer. The tips I’ve listed above are what work well for me and have been instrumental in incorporating health and fitness into my daily life (several of the ideas are from books, blogs, and actual personal trainers or fitness enthusiasts). My only hope is that you will find one or two tips above that resonate with you and inspire you to be an even better, healthier version of yourself! I find that when we take time to take care of ourselves, we are better poised to be patient, present, and purposeful for our students. Whatever your goals and resolutions, I wish you success, health, and happiness in the coming year and always. –Rachel
Let’s go Fighting Hawks!