“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” -Oprah Winfrey

New year means new you, right? Working in the wellness industry, I love the New Year because it motivates people to take charge of their life. However, over time this dedicated energy can easily fade. Did you know 45% of people make New Years resolutions, but only 8% successful achieve their resolution? I don’t know about you, but that is actually higher than I anticipated. Three hundred and sixty five days is a long time to remain motivated to achieve any resolution.

In 2015 the top three New Years Resolutions were to:

  1. Lose weight (no surprise)
  2. Get organized (author Maria Kondo can help you if this is your resolution)
  3. Spend less, Save more

Yes, these are all good resolutions and important things to work towards; However, the five things I want you to do in 2017 in order to make it your best year yet do not involve losing weight, getting organized, or spending less.


Here are 5 things I want you to do in 2017 to make it your best year yet:


1. Invest in relationships and stay connected (outside of social media).


Instagram, facebook, and twitter, oh my!

Social media has changed the way we, as a society, communicate with one another. We can be whoever we want to be on social media. Its not uncommon to show only the positive aspects of our life, the things we want our friends and family to see. Most people are not quick to post about their bad days or recent arguments (although we all know the people that seem to share too much…)

I don’t encourage getting off social media. I believe social media is an excellent tool for staying connected with your friends and family. After all thats how we are communicating right now, isn’t it? However, I think it is important to meet the ones we love face to face or even pick up the phone and call them every once in a while to show that we care and are invested.

My challenge to you in 2017 is to choose to be relational. If you prefer small groups, meet with your friends and family one on one. If you prefer larger groups, start a book club or join a running group with a friend. Show the people that are important to you that they are indeed important to you. That requires communication and an interest in how they are truly doing, not just what social media portrays. And remember, this goes beyond extended family and friends. If you are married or have children, try to block off a time each day that you disconnect from technology and focus your full attention on your kids or spouse. You will be amazed how your relationships will grow!


2. Plan an active vacation (or “stay”cation).


This is my husband and I’s favorite way to travel. We love to explore new cities on foot and if I have it my way we are hiking, repelling, snorkling, snow mobiling, and more. I encourage you and your family or friends to plan an active vacation or “stay”cation. If you have never heard of the word “stay”cation, let me explain. This is where you take time off of work to stay home with no actual travel plans. Don’t let money hold you back from planning an awesome active vacation or “stay”cation. If you are from Atlanta, you can take a day off of work just to explore the city; Park at Piedmont park and walk or ride your bike to Krog Street Market or try indoor rock climbing at places like Atlanta Rocks. My husband and I are actually leaving tomorrow for an adventure trip in Costa Rica so follow STAT Wellness on instagram for updates (if I have wifi). Otherwise, next time you will hear from me is in 2017!!

I look forward to hearing about your active vacations or “stay”cation plans.


3. Give. Find an organization to volunteer your time and/or money.


When looking into statistics of how America is giving, I was shocked (and thrilled) to find that in 2015 the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals ($268.28 BILLION).  If you are not involved in a non-profit either financially or with your time, I strongly encourage you to give it a try in 2017. Giving both my time and money to a non-profit organization called HOI has changed my life in more ways than I ever anticipated. The first time I traveled to Honduras, I learned more than I ever could have imagined from the people in Honduras. They taught me how to love (without words since my Spanish is terrible), how to value community and the church, how to live simply, and how to choose happiness. It is important to always remember that you do not need to travel international to give. You are of course welcome to work locally with HOI (maybe even run our 5K in April) or you can find other local charities like Must Ministries or Open Hands to volunteer with. 

Giving your time and/or money in 2017 will bring you more joy than you could ever imagine.


4. Change how you set goals.


Annual goals are hard to obtain. I’ll be honest, I am one of the 45% that always sets new years resolutions, but definitely not one of the 8% that obtains it. I have found focusing on weekly or monthly goals makes it much more obtainable and it keeps me motivated since I am actually able to achieve my goals.

I know it is an older algorithm, but I believe setting S.M.A.R.T goals is essential to your success. S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-sensitive. This year, I had several short goals. For example, I completed Whole30 where I avoided alcohol, gluten, dairy, sugar, legumes, and more for 30 days (that took discipline, but it was a S.M.A.R.T goal). I completed another challenge where for a week I did not say anything negative (even if I thought it, I could not say it out loud). It was amazing after just one week, I started looking at everything with a silver lining. I started thinking more positively and seeing the world with a glass half full kind of a attitude. This was surprising because I would never have described myself as a negative person before the challenge.

My biggest goal for you is to simplify your goals and make them more attainable. Instead of doing annual resolutions, challenge yourself to do one thing each week or month that pushes you that much closer to being the best person you can be. As you may have seen on the website my favorite quote is from a Tanzanian Proverb, “little by little a little becomes a lot”. Don’t make your 2017 goals and ambitions so daunting.  Simple is (almost) always better [unless we are talking about the amount of flavor in my food].


5. Cook in more, eat out less.


Eating out is almost always higher in calories, carbs, sugar, and salt. Even if you are trying to eat well, “healthy” food is not always so healthy. If you are a foodie who loves going out to eat, trust me my husband and I understand. We absolutely love trying all the new restaurants in Atlanta; however we limit it to two to three times per week (depending on what we have socially going on that week). However our goal, and hopefully yours too, is to gradually work on limiting going out to eat to one time per week. I know this won’t be possible every week, but we are going to strive to eat in as much as possible.

If you are new to cooking or just don’t have time to dig for recipes or go to the grocery store, there are great meal delivery services that send you all the food and ingredients you need to make a healthy dinner. Some of our favorites are GreenChef, Blue Apron, or HelloFresh. Best idea ever!

Or… maybe thats not you and you enjoy meal planning and going to the grocery store. Well, one of my favorite cookbooks for paleo snacks is called Super Paleo Snacks Cookbook by Landria Voigt. This is an awesome book if you have kids (or if you don’t) and need to have healthy gluten-free and dairy-free snacks on the run.  Other great cookbooks include Danielle Walkers’ Against All Grain and the Whole 30 Cookbook

I look forward to partnering with you in 2017 to help you achieve your goals. I work with clients one on one or in a group setting through corporate health.

Happy [almost] New Years!


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