You are the greatest project you will ever work on.
Reset your life with our round-up of the top six areas to consider, including tips from top experts. The New Year is here and as the work year kicks into gear it’s the perfect time to reflect and reset for the year ahead. Hopefully you are feeling refreshed and inspired after a holiday break (if you were lucky enough to have one) or experiencing optimism that sunshine days bring. Whether you’re in the sunshine camp, struggling to find your way or feel in need of a mind, body, spirit reset, we’ve got you covered. The experts – sports physiotherapist Vaughan Craddock of Sportslab, Mana Coaching founder Tania Rupapera, Blossom life coach Tracy Manu, wellness consultant Melissa Carroll, nutritionist and naturopath Bu y Ellen Gill, business entrepreneur Sara Corleison and personal stylist/style coach Caitlin Taylor – share their top tips for a total reset. 01 MINDSET Our mindset – self-perceptions or beliefs – determine our behaviour, outlook and mental attitude. Here are some ideas for fostering a mindset reset to put your best foot forward. • Reflect for a moment on what went well last year for you. What are you proud of? Often when we’ve achieved something, we’re onto the next thing without even really acknowledging the good we’ve done or how far we’ve come. TM • Ask yourself, what do you want to change? What do you want to let go of? TM • Are you living with above or below the line thinking? Tune into what you’re feeling. Examples of below the line thinking are denial, excuses and blame. We give our power away when we are in this space. TM • Ask yourself, what is this teaching me? What could I do di erently here? It’s not about taking ownership for other people’s stu , but it can be a way to move you through the challenging stu where you are doing something to change it instead of relying on other people to do that. Above the line thinking, where we take ownership, accountability and responsibility, leads to empowered action. TM • If you find yourself making excuses and feeling frustrated, tune into your feelings and figure out what they’re trying to tell you. If you’re not happy, what can you do to change that? TM • Practise gratitude – acknowledge blessings in your past, present and future. Gratitude promotes above the line thinking and is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. TM • Believe in your capabilities. Going to a job interview? Think of it like speed dating. You are not going there to see if they want you and like you, you’re actually going to see if the job suits you. Does it connect with your values and what you want in life? TM • Spend your social time with people who fill your cup. Be sure to fill their cup too. SC • Move your body or lose your mind, literally! Regular physical activity boosts dopamine levels. Increased dopamine is associated with enhanced attention. Especially when it comes to making creative decisions and problem solving. Schedule exercise, block out your diary, no excuses. SC • Eliminate time wasters and say ‘no’. Saying ‘no’ will clear space for you to say ‘yes’ to the things that fill your cup or significantly drive you or your business forward. SC • Do the hardest task first, so the rest of your day is cruisy in comparison. SC • Multi-tasking is overrated. Focus on one task at a time, complete it and then move on. Doing a million things at once might make you feel like you’re busy. But task-switching is detrimental to productivity. You’re actually achieving less and to a lower standard. Do less and achieve more. Switch o all distractions and do one thing at a time. When you’re done, mindfully dive into the next task. SC • Don’t rely on your mind to remember. Use a calendar and task management system like Asana. SC • Delegate and ask for help both at work and at home. SC • Laugh in the face of calamity, choose to see comedy in stressful situations. If you’re still frustrated, then write the email you want to write and never ever send it. Go exercise, have a quick meditation, sleep on it, then re-write with a level head in the morning. SC 02 PLANNING A vision board is a great way to create a visual representation of how you want your life to be. A daily reminder of your goals and dreams. Vision boards can be created on Pinterest (see Good’s Pinterest at @goodmag), pin boards on your wall at home or on your computer inserting images and words to a document and saved to your screensaver. TR 1. When designing your life vision, ask yourself these questions… What does it look like? What does it feel like? What words would you use to describe it? 2. What is most important to you? Reflecting on the above, think about what is most important to you in each area of your life, e.g., health, intimate relationships, family, work, travel, investment, sport… Your vision board can reflect short and long-term goals in each area of your life vision. 3. Look for visual representation of your goals and words of inspiration. Look through magazines and make a collage. Pin on a board or make a book of inspiration to carry with you. 4. Create your vision board online. If you prefer to go the digital route, there are plenty of free online programmes to help you make your vision board. For simplicity, you could create a board on Pinterest. But if you want your digital vision board to more closely resemble a physical one, use an app like Canva, which can be used on your phone, tablet or computer. You don’t need to be a graphic design expert – this programme is free. Simply import your inspiration photos and arrange them into a collage on your blank digital canvas. Alternatively, you can use your digital vision board as your laptop’s backdrop or your phone’s home screen. 5. Display your vision board where you can see it daily. Look at it as often as possible. It is a living document, edit it and add to it as you feel inspired. manacoaching.co.nz 03 WELLNESS Looking after your holistic wellbeing – your body, mind, social life and spirit – is key to feeling your best. Here are some tips on achieving peak wellness. • Feeling good and well is a collection of lots of e orts that together influence how we’re able to show up in the world – physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s in the way we sleep, eat, move, breathe, set boundaries and commit to habits. These factors together help improve the quality of our lives and help us to feel healthy and happy. MC • Win the morning, win the day. Morning routines and rituals make such a difference to how we flow through the rest of our day. Mornings are an opportunity to give to ourselves first and fill our own cups – before we go out into the world and be of service to those around us. This can be as simple as a cup a tea and a few pages of a book before work, a big stretch session and a hot shower before the kids wake up, or even a 5-minute YouTube meditation in the car before we head into the o ice. Think of one special thing you can do for yourself each morning that comes before the rest of your commitments. MC • Move your body. This looks di erent for everyone, but there’s no denying that exercise supports our clarity and energy. It clears the mind, helps us feel stronger, and sets the tone for other healthy habits throughout the day. Some people enjoy a long walk, some like a high intensity session at the gym, and others prefer a yoga or Pilates class. However it is that you like to move, that’s okay. MC • Prioritise yourself. So often, we put others first, day in and day out. We give so much of ourselves to the people we love, and that’s a beautiful thing. But don’t forget to take care of you, too. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself. Be generous with your own needs – not just everyone else’s. It’s okay to get a massage, to turn your phone o for some quiet time, to have a long bath or say ‘no’ to plans so you can have a self-care day. MC • Time out. Take yourself on a wellness retreat, even if it’s just for one day. Retreats are all about igniting inspiration and carving out intentional time to slow down and feel refreshed. Being surrounded by like-minded people and supported by wellness experts is really special. They are full of laughs, connection, and memorable experiences. MC • Learn to better manage stress. Stress and fear are the mortal enemies of optimisation and positive change, so having some real-time tools to help deal with stress and developing some tools that help raise your stress tolerance can be integral for actioning sustainable change. Techniques like mindfulness, box breathing, Wim Hof techniques and physiological sighs have all been scientifically proven to improve autonomic function. Simply performing five minutes a day of any of these techniques is enough to shift your autonomic arousal, promoting parasympathetic activity, gaining the desired e ects so you can change your habits and take action. VC • Get better sleep. In our modern world, good sleep seems as elusive as that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, good sleep results in a high state of rest which naturally improves neuroplasticity, the ability for change or adaptation at nervous system level. Maximising your sleep will help rewire the nervous system in beneficial ways and change behaviours you are trying to implement. Ways to help yourself sleep better include: a. Maximising morning light exposure. Get outside (even if it’s cloudy) to get sunlight in your eyes and on your skin within the first hours of waking. This sends information to the hypothalamus which sets in motion a huge number of hormonal and neural events in the body. It creates a cortisol pulse that wakes you up, sets the basis for attention during the day and sets a timer (approximately 16 hours) on your first melatonin pulse that will occur in the evening and signal the start of getting ready for sleep. VC b. Limiting light exposure in the evening. Dim the lights and bring them low in the environment in the evening, as the cells that process the light we are exposed to are contained mostly in the lower half of the retina and view the upper visual field. Bright light inhibits melatonin very potently, so try to minimise screen usage, and reduce the light intensity of screens when using them. VC c. Cooling the room for sleeping, as this will improve sleep quality. Alternatively, have a warm shower before bed to stimulate a drop in temperature after getting out of the shower, signalling to your body that it’s time for sleep. VC d. Write it down. Keep a pen and paper beside your bed for those sleepless nights full of thoughts and insightful ideas. If something is keeping you awake, let the words flow like a river onto the page. Then tell yourself, it’s ok, I’ve written it down and will circle back tomorrow. Sleep time. SC d. Create a daily ritual. “A ritual I love to do every morning before I get out of bed is put one hand on my tummy and the other on my heart and I take three beautiful big, deep breaths,” says Tracy Manu of Blossom. “It’s a gift to me before I give out to anybody else. Then I think of a couple of things I’m grateful for just to start my day in a good way.” What’s your ritual that you’re going to take on to amp up your self-love? TM 04 DIET Five good reasons to add more plants into your diet for a healthier happier 2023. 1. Add zest to your life. Adding the zest of oranges and lemons into recipes provides an antioxidant boost to your dishes. It captures the polyphenols from the outside of the fruit and can help protect our body’s tissues from oxidative stress. BG 2. Say yes to fibre. Always try and use the whole flesh of fruits, including lemons. If we just take the juice out we miss out on all that fibre which is really beneficial for gut health. Why? Because fibre is the food for our gut bacteria. Fibre is a prebiotic, which then converts to probiotics. So you can either consume probiotics in capsule form, foods that have been fermented or eat the fibre itself and let your body do the work. BG 3. Mix it up. Every fruit, vegetable and seed has a slightly di erent type of fibre – we still don’t know all the di erent types – and each feeds a di erent strain of bacteria in our gut. If you only eat broccoli, kūmara and chicken breast, you’re starving your gut bacteria as you’re only getting two types of fibre (broccoli and kūmara, animal and dairy products contain zero fibre). There are thought to be over 10,000 di erent types of gut bacteria. That’s why it’s important to have a really diverse diet instead of always eating the same foods. BG 4. Pass the salt. Natural sea salt is an incredible source of minerals, especially natural New Zealand rock salt. It doesn’t need to be the fancy pink Himalayan stu . You want to avoid table salt that has been bleached, and has had all the minerals extracted, leaving just the sodium. BG 5. Spice of life. Spices definitely add flavour and variety to dishes but they do so much more than that. Did you know that spices are the highest source of antioxidants, even more than blueberries! So go heavy-handed – you’ll need to add less extracted oils and sugars as a result too. BE 05 FITNESS The last few years have been incredibly interrupted. It’s no surprise that many of us have allowed our wellness routines to fall by the wayside. A fresh new year is a great place to start in implementing better wellness habits. Here are some ideas! • Start small. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, pick just one thing you could do to improve your overall wellbeing. Even if some days it’s a simple lunchtime walk or 15 minutes on your yoga mat. It’s the small things you do each day that add up over time. It’s important to be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to ease back into things. MC • Do less. We often tend to make it hard on ourselves by trying to make too many changes at once, or action too great a change, and then get disappointed when it ultimately fails. But the emerging science of habit change has something meaningful to teach us here. Our brain is ultimately wired for routine, so how can we break a bad routine and replace it with a more desirable one? Pick ONE thing, and break it down into small and realistic changes (or goals) and stick at it until it becomes second nature for you (i.e., it’s now a habit). VC • Develop tools to increase your stress threshold. Skills and positive coping strategies to manage better under stress and conditions of high adrenaline include ice baths, cold immersion and cold showers. Research indicates aiming for 11 minutes of cold exposure total per week, broken up into smaller doses as it suits your weekly schedule, will increase brown adipose tissue stores (healthy fat) which helps kickstart your metabolism and increase stress tolerance. It’s fine to give in to the temptation to end a cold session with the comfort of heat, but if your goal is to kickstart your metabolism in addition to learning to tolerate stress better, end with cold, as muscle shivering releases more succinate which triggers more brown fat accumulation. VC • Work with your schedule, not against it. Recognising we live in such a busy world is important for achieving the goals you’ve set yourself. It could be as simple as walking to work on weather-suitable days, getting o the bus at an earlier stop or parking the car further from work to get some gentle exercise in without having to rework your schedule. Giving yourself the permission to do as much as you can and leave the rest for another day can also be a positive way to introduce routines into your lifestyle without inducing guilt or anxiety. VC • Enjoy exercise. Exercise is supposed to be fun! Exercise and healthy living are all about making positive changes, but it can be easy to let unhappiness fuel your fitness. So, embrace the process, celebrate your achievements, challenge yourself and most of all, be kind to yourself. VC • Pick something you are excited about. If we are excited about something, it’s easier to focus on it. Focus is known to be related to dopamine, so enjoying the process of what you are doing will become a positive self-perpetuating loop. VC • Make it an adventure. It can be highly beneficial to treat your budding fitness habit like an adventure. Variety is the spice of life, so explore as many di erent styles and flavours of exercise as is available to you. By trialling varied styles of training, you may discover your body is capable of things you never imagined! VC • Sign up for an event. Another way to invoke the spirit of adventure is to sign up to an event, and have something to aim for. Embracing nature can also be a way of answering the call to adventure. There is so much to explore just outside your doorstep, and research has demonstrated that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise (walking counts) in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature, will significantly lower your stress hormone levels. VC • Create a tribe. Just like the content we consume, we are hugely influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Solo training may have been your preference, or the only option that you’ve had up to this point, but you’d be well served to seek out a workout partner or connect with the community of the activity you have chosen in order to achieve the goals you’ve set yourself. A training partner or a group of people can provide accountability in your journey and create more fun and connection along the way. Research has demonstrated that those who exercised with a more capable partner will continue with exercise 24 per cent longer than those who go it alone. So, reach out and connect to maximise those goals. VC • Treat your body to some TLC. Regular exercise has many beneficial benefits, but it’s also likely that you will strike some obstacles along the way in the form of aches, pains or perhaps injury or illness. Being as proactive as possible in giving your body a bit of TLC can go a long way to warding o unwanted by-products. That could take the form of a self-care routine with self-myofascial release or foam rolling or doing some low impact movement like yoga or Pilates to complement the other exercise you are performing. Maximising recovery by getting enough sleep and good nutrition or seeking out an experienced clinician for some regular body maintenance can be a positive investment in your exercise journey. Getting some movement or biomechanical screening early on by an experienced clinician can also help prevent issues arising or help you get on top of anything that does arise faster. Everyone loves a bit of TLC, so don’t forget to prioritise this! VC 06 WARDROBE Struggling with body confidence or ready to elevate your style but don’t know where to start? • Identify your style personality. Choose three descriptive words that you would use to describe your ideal style. Then use those words to filter what you have in your wardrobe. For example, it could be feminine, edgy and elevated. You like dresses and wearing your hair out, but you want a bit of grit as well. Edgy could be wearing a boot or trainer with a feminine dress. CT • Wear your favourite colours. Notice I say favourite colours, not your best colour palette. Generally you’re going to like the colours that look good on you. If a colour doesn’t suit you, you’re probably not going to like it as a piece of clothing anyway. CT • Flip the switch. The way we think and talk about bodies and our style can have a lasting impact on us. Think about what your body can do as opposed to what your body looks like. If you have negative thoughts about a body part or something that you don’t like about your body, shift that perspective – e.g., I like the shape of my legs because they’re strong. CT • Understand your best bits. Body shapes are out, best bits are in. If we can identify the parts of our bodies that we are the most confident about and dress to highlight those, by default we’re distracting from the bits that we don’t like. Dressing to highlight is always going to feel better than dressing to hide. CT • Give your wardrobe a good old clean out. A wardrobe audit using these filters is a really good way to touch base with everything you own. Create a ‘keep’ pile, a ‘go’ pile and a ‘maybe’ pile. Take everything out and assess every piece. Ask yourself, why haven’t I worn this dress in four years? Does it match my style personality? Does it highlight my best bits? Does it work as part of my colour palette? If the answer is no, it goes. CT • Dealing with the maybe pile. Ask yourself, what am I missing? What do I need to work with this? Do I need a certain colour top or shoe? Put everything in the maybe pile into a tub and write the date on it. In six months’ time, anything that you want to wear, cool, go in, get it out, wear it. If it floats your boat it goes back in your wardrobe. Whatever’s left in the tub on that date just goes. Don’t reassess it, don’t look at it again, it’s gone to the naughty corner and now it’s out. CT • Does it fit? If you’re hanging onto clothing you can no longer fit and haven’t worn for years, it’s time for clean out, because each time you open your wardrobe, you feel like sh*t when faced with a whole bunch of clothes and nothing to wear. Instead, use the timeframe, not the size, as the guide. Ask yourself, when was the last time I wore this? If it’s more than two years, get rid of it. CT • Don’t buy it just because it’s on sale. The sale price should not be the motivation to purchase. It should be the cherry on top. If you wouldn’t pay full price for it, don’t buy it. CT • Changing room truths. There are no standards for sizing in Australia and New Zealand. The last standardised sizing was done in the fifties. So if you’re di erent sizes in di erent stores, that’s okay. If you have to size up, that’s not a reflection on you. There’s also no such thing as a skinny mirror so own it. It’s the opposite to blaming yourself when something doesn’t fit you. CT 𝙜 Our experts Tania Rupapera manacoaching.co.nz Tracy Manu blossom.net.nz Vaughan Craddock sportslab.net.nz Sara Corleison Instagram @sara_lhani_que Buffy Ellen Gill begoodorganics.com Caitlin Taylor chasingcait.com Melissa Carroll wellnessretreatsnz.co.nz