If you’re like most Americans, your New Year’s resolution bit the dust about a month ago. But not to worry, it’s never too late to recommit yourself to healthy living. If you want 2017 to be the year you make healthy habits stick, here are some tips for making a permanent commitment to health.
1. Make Healthy Habits Fun
One of the reasons we don’t stick to healthy habits is we don’t think they’re fun. Of course, we’d rather eat cookies and cake, veg on the couch binge watching our favorite shows, and staying up late than going to bed at a reasonable hour. Getting up before the crack of dawn to work out and drink a protein shake doesn’t sound like fun to anyone, and if your resolution centers on activities that you don’t want to do, you won’t do them.
That’s why you should amend your resolution to include fun healthy habits. One way to make sure you stick to this amended resolution is to include your friends. Go hiking with your significant other, meet up with a good friend at a yoga class, or go to the new trampoline hot-spot with your kids.
If you’d rather have fun getting healthy with your dog, go for it. Find a class that gives both of you a workout and builds muscle. You can do cardio, strength training, and stability moves with your dog while working on obedience with him. If a class isn’t for you, you can do outdoor activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, trail running, and rollerblading with your furry friend. If you don’t have a dog of your own, consider volunteering to walk an elderly neighbor’s dog or starting a side gig as a pet sitter. That way you’ll have a four-legged pal to workout with, but won’t have to take on the other responsibilities of owning a pet.
2. Make More Manageable Goals
It’s easy to shoot for the stars when you make a New Year’s resolution, but you need to be more realistic now that the new year is well on its way. Re-evaluate your original resolution and be as specific as you can. Make sure that you include measurable goals. Some people find that writing them down and hanging them in conspicuous places in the house is a surefire way to stick to your resolution. Start small and build up when it comes to lifting weights, running a 5K, and planking for more than a minute. It may be helpful to choose an end date and work backward to set monthly goals that will get you to your overall goal.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable
Sometimes, people have trouble sticking to their fitness goals because they aren’t being held accountable. It’s easy to argue with yourself and give in to that devil on your shoulder; it’s harder to be accountable to others. One strategy is to find a friend or accountability partner that can keep you on track. Decide whether you will text each other once a day, send photos of healthy meals throughout the day to one another, or catch up with each other a couple of times a week.
Some people find that joining online groups is the best way to stay accountable because there are several people to connect with, share struggles and triumphs, and reach out to when you get frustrated or reach a plateau. Facebook groups especially are popular with people because they are easy to check into throughout the day and people are participating nearly around the clock.
If you’re more of an introvert or don’t want to share your fitness journey with others, you can purchase a fitness tracker that will help you stay on track each day regardless of how busy you get. Fitness trackers virtually eliminate excuses because they track your heart rate, the number of calories burned, and your steps taken each day. Depending on which you purchase, you can get your data online and track results for given periods of time.
A quick caveat: while holding yourself accountable will play an important role in meeting your goals, perfection isn’t possible. There will be days when you simply can’t squeeze in a workout. There will be days when you can’t resist the urge to eat that extra cookie or doughnut. And that’s ok. If you find that you’re stressing yourself out about meeting your goals or starting to slip into bad habits because you’ve put too much pressure on yourself, take a moment to reset. Healthy habits aren’t built in a day and they aren’t wiped out in a day, either. Slow and steady wins the race, so be kind to yourself, always.
Yes, 2017 is now well under way, but you don’t have to toss your New Year’s resolution for health to the wayside if you’ve fallen off course. Find ways to make getting healthy fun, re-evaluate your goals, and find a way to hold yourself accountable, and you’ll soon have a permanent commitment to health that you can carry to the end of the year and beyond.
Author: Paige Johnson
I recently spent a lot of time in the wonderful region of Puglia (Apulia), an area that is easily identifiable as the heel of the Italian boot and that I totally fell in love with.
I haven't found a lot of Yoga around, at least not in the way I would have liked to, e.g. yoga studios open for walk ins that focus on daily asana practice, meditation, kirtan, and inspiring workshops to raise spiritual awareness.
I noticed that often the difference between Yoga and Pilates is still not clear, and often Yoga is treated as a fitness practice and offered within gyms with the sound of dropped weights in the background or maybe in shared spaces like school gyms or public buildings but only a couple of times a week. No real Yoga Shalas there!
Once I got over the fact that I was basically alone practicing my Yoga around and people would look at me with curious faces, I realized that there was a great opportunity there and that I could be the one creating the Yoga Studio I would have liked to be part of!
So I spent the summer offering yoga classes on the main pier in Otranto and in local resorts, collaborating with local associations and like minded people, while I kept nurturing this vision, and now it seems it may become reality in Otranto pretty soon!
In the meantime I want to share few of the yoga offerings I found.
- Il Sole, Scuola Arti Orientali, Lecce. They offer Iyengar Yoga but need a monthly commitment and a medical certificate.
- YIS, Zollino (LE). They offer Yoga retreats and classes open to public, mainly Ashtanga, but schedule is not very clear and it varies all the time. I don't personally like the way the center is managed and their attitude, but the yoga classes I attended were good.
- Ratna Yoga, Maglie (LE), I've been told about this but no info on their site, you have to call them, which by the way it's pretty common.
- Namaste Yoga, Ostuni (BR) I've been told good things about it but didn't try.
While in NY and waiting for spring to start the Yoga in Central Park, I love to go around town and experience the amazing variety and quality of Yoga that New York City has to offer. I often use groupon or classpass to find special offers.
Here are some of my recent favorite studios:
- Envision Festival, Uvita: every year at the beginning of March this great music festival combines enviromental awareness, spirituality, Yoga, and amazing performances to dance all night!
- Dominical: Bamboo Yoga is active during high season but don't count on them or their schedule otherwise.
- Finca Mia: located above San Isidro by the Chirripo' mountains, this beautiful finca offers Yoga retreats, workshops and massage sessions. Delicious organic farm to table food, natural buildings, pristine river on site, very interesting owners and guests! Must see! I was there for a Yoga retreat with Life Force Project and it was a great experience.
- Finca Bella Vista: Tree house community founded on an unbelievable piece of land in the middle of the rain forest with a beautiful river winding around the property. The owners are committed to environmental preservation, they offer farm to table delicious food, and they offer yoga on a spectacular terrace surrounded by all kind of bird and plants.
- Yoga Farm: a rustic yoga center and sustainable living project located on Costa Rica's southernmost Pacific coast. Set amidst beautiful tropical rainforest, and overlooking open ocean, great to reconnect with mind, body, and nature.
Amsterdam offers great Yoga opportunities, both as a teacher and as a student. Yoga mats are usually included in the class price in Amsterdam, and all the classes I took were in English.
Check some of these great studios!
- Parc Studio is a young Yoga community in the South part of the city, with a cozy studio located across from Sarphati Park, which makes you feel surrounded by Nature. I've taken few classes with the owner, Regina: both her Vinyasa and Yin&Yang classes were led with special care for correct alignment, with a nice balance between challenge and relaxation, and accompanied with inspiring Yoga philosophy. Tea and chats will comfort you after class. Price are competitive: 5 euro first timer, 12 euro walk-in. I offered some Vinyasa here in Oct & Nov.
- Svaha Yoga Shala is one of the oldest studios in town, founded in the tradition of Jivamukti. I joined their free community class on Friday, which was led by Mark, an excellent teacher who led a vibrant, fun, challenging, and inspiring 1hr Vinyasa Class. They also offer Kirtan every Friday eve. Recommended!
15 euro walk-in.
= De Nieuwe Yoga School is located in a stylish large studio in the center of Amsterdam and it's a pretty popular spot. Personally I didn't feel a sense of community, and actually I felt rushed in and out of a class with maybe 50 people. The Vinyasa class I took didn't have a good flow, more of a fitness than a holistic approach, but maybe it wasn't my lucky day! 15 euro walk in
= Delight Yoga has three beautiful locations in different parts of the city, and they offer a lot of consistently high quality classes; Ashtanga, Mysore, Vinyasa, and Yin Yang for instance. Their walk in is 15 euro, they don't accept cash, only cards. I ended up joining their Intro Offer: 50 euro for 10 classes. Recommended!
- Yogisha: the first store in Amsterdam completely dedicated to Yoga, nice merchandise and friendly staff!
This summer I've been exploring Eco Communities and Ashrams in Central Italy, and I'm actually surprised of all the offer I found.
- Citta' Della Luce, Senigallia: it's an eco community based Reiki principles. located aroind a traditional Italian country house on top of a hill, and surrounded by olive trees and sun flower fields. Gorgeous and very inspiring. They offer regular workshops such as Usui Reiki, family constellations, and permaculture. They also offer Yoga classes every week, for guests only. Communal meals, delicious abundant food.
- Tribe Wanted Monestevole, Perugia: it's a 40 hectare farm working to become completely self-sufficient, they offer excellent hospitality options in terms of dining, lodging,and atmosphere. They invite all their guests to get involved in the activities of the farm and in the kitchen. They offer regular Yoga classes and workshops as part of their program, but for guests only. Communal meals, delicious abundant food. Very inspiring.
-Ananda Ashram, Assisi. On top of a hill behind the town of Assisi, this Ashram follows the teachings of Yogananda, who was the first great master of yoga to make his home in the West, coming to the U.S. They offer a regular program of yoga, meditation, kirtan, and satsang for guests staying few days. The Yoga classes are very gentle and meditative. Communal meals, delicious abundant food. Very inspiring.
As a newcomer to Shanghai, and one whose Chinese vocabulary does not span much further than “Ni hao,” I was in a bit over my head trying to navigate the huge city when I first arrived. Within the first week, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is a very friendly, welcoming English-speaking expat community, many of whom are eager and active yogis. I would quickly find out that there are tons of yoga studios scattered all around Shanghai, the vast majority of which offer classes in Chinese, English, and mixed languages. As a result, I decided that a great way to explore the city and meet more of these English-speaking yogis would be to embark on a free trial tour of Shanghai’s numerous studios.
During my tour, I have come across a number of fascinating people and classes. Of the studios I have tried out, my favorite have been Red Door, Y+, and Yoga Space.
- Red Door yoga is a tiny studio that offers only Ashtanga classes, all of which are taught by the studio’s owner, Rob. While Red Door might be a bit pricey, the classes are tons of fun and Rob is a great guy.
- Y+ has three separate locations across Shanghai, and each one is very nice. The Y+ studios are probably the biggest in Shanghai, fully equipped with spacious locker rooms and multiple studio spaces. While Y+ has arguably the best facilities in Shanghai, it is also among the most expensive.
- Yoga Space: this is my favorite studio in Shanghai, maybe because I have spent the most time there, so my opinion might be a bit biased in that regard. Taking advantage of a new promotion aimed toward increasing the number of male members, I was able to prolong my free yoga tour of Shanghai with a free month at Yoga Space, and it was fantastic. Although the facilities are not as big as Y+, which causes classes to feel a bit cramped at times, the quality of the classes is always high due to their wonderful staff. But beyond the classes and the teachers, Yoga Space also offers a beautiful little lounge area outside the classes where it is common to find everyone sitting, or laying, as they sip tea and chat with their fellow yogis. And if you are not lucky enough to have a free month offer at your disposal, membership prices are very reasonable.
But while Yoga Space might have been my favorite studio, there could very well be another one out there for you. What is important to know is that Shanghai, with its vast array of yoga studios and enthusiasts, has all your yoga needs covered. And if you play your cards right, you might not even have to pay for it.
Thanks to Jon Saft for this great contribution to The Yoga Trail!
Tenerife is an island with a lot of different landscapes, microclimates, and vibes.
The south of Tenerife is the mildest during the winter and the most developed. Los Cristianos and Las Americas are the main towns and are very popular among seniors, especially during winter: warm weather, walking friendly, no cars, a lot of stores, safe and quiet. I haven't found much yoga for the general public around here, it's mainly offered within hotels, but the wide open sandy beach offers the perfect setting for your own practice... and for The Yoga Trail classes!
- There is one nice studio in town, Alma Zen Yoga. It's a nonprofit association offering all kind of spiritual and conscious practices, from Yoga (Hatha, Jiva Mukti, Vinyasa) to martial arts (Aikidoand, Chi Gong), Reiki and Shiatsu massages. We'll offer here several Reiki Yoga workshops in Jan 15.
- 15 minutes by car from Los Cristianos you can also relax at Hacienda Cristoforo: an ecological and spiritual center that provides a place of peace and retreat, honoring Mother Earth, and offering the opportunity to meet like minded people and receive new inspiration. We'll offer Reiki Yoga here as well.