City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Create Healthy Habits NOW!

(That’s Right, BEFORE January)

December can be a destructive month for our bodies. The stress, time demands, and overindulgences can set us up for some January overcompensation — usually, with little success. To get you going on a better path, we asked Tara-Lyn Nunziata, owner of Tara-Lyn Pilates (in Wayne and Montville) for advice on finding a better way to revitalize yourself when the holidays wind down.

With these simple steps you can jump start your health and happiness NOW! Reprogram your mind, change your habits and enjoy your New Year Confidence, not just for January, for the WHOLE YEAR!!!  

The holidays hit hard and fast. Shopping is accelerated, your time is depleted, and we barely have the energy to enjoy it all.  Afterwards, we struggle to catch up on our daily lives while trying to come down from the insanity, feeling like we always come up short.  

It’s not a good feeling.  

It’s also not a great time to make big changes. It's not realistic. We’re programmed to avoid cues from our minds and bodies, assuming it’s normal to feel wiped out and stressed. We sometimes even wear stress like a badge of honor. It doesn’t have to be this way.  

You can change it. Now. 

What if we learned to adopt permanent, positive mindful habits? We’d thrive. We need to dive in and embrace it until this way of thinking permeates every inch of our cells and lives. It takes practice. 

Become aware of the programming you have to change, including the need for instant gratification and results. Chronic stress is poison and can cause terrible health consequences. I’ve been where you are, still making changes to limit and cope with excessive stress. I own three businesses, have two teenagers and used to thrive on stress. 

Until I didn’t. I knew I had to make changes or there could be irreversible health consequences.  

A revelation: 

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

WHAAAT? There, I said it. 

I know! I am a leader in the fitness industry, how can this be?  

I don’t believe it works. It sets up feelings of inadequacy and failure. We don’t make any real, sustainable changes. It’s temporary.  

They’re foreshadowed feelings of failure wrapped up in a pretty little box with a bow and delusions of hope for a new start. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love the fresh start of the New Year, but not on someone’s peer-pressured, culturally dominated watch. Resolutions are so high achieving that we fail. Miserably. We get discouraged and lose motivation. 

Intentional changes work best because they are intentional. They have a tone of self care, not obligation. That doesn’t mean they’re easy, but they are authentic to us. Getting started and changing your mindset is the hard part.  

Pilates breathing. Lying in bed, slowly and intentionally breathe in for 5 counts, then out for 5 counts, fully. Do this 10 times.  

Practice gratitude. After your breathing, think of three things that you are truly grateful for today. Write them in a journal with the date. 

Have one goal for today. That’s right, just one. Whatever it is, make sure it’s motivated by you alone wanting to complete it. Write it in a goals journal with the date. Check it off at night if you complete it. 

Set one reach goal. One goal that is a reach for you, but you want to be on your radar even if you can’t do it today. That’s why it is a reach goal!  

Exercise. Trust me! Committing to just 20 minutes can result in doing more because it feels so good, without the pressure and obligatory feeling. If it doesn’t result in longer, you worked out for 20 minutes — which is better than 0 minutes.  

Reasonable food choices.  Food is not good or bad. It’s fuel. Sometimes fuel is more nutritious than other times. Feeling positive about your choices will set your mind to make better, intentional choices. You’ll see that donut as something delicious and indulgent instead of feeling guilty about it and a failure.  

Do one thing you enjoy after breakfast. Self care equals setting up the day right, including those extra minutes sipping coffee or reading that extra chapter. Even if you rush out to drive kids to school or avoid rush hour traffic on your way to work, put on your favorite music or an inspiring podcast, or call a friend or family member to catch up (hands free, of course). 

Make your schedule for the week with room for adjustments. Leave some room for spontaneity. Feel in control of it and not at its mercy.  

Reflect. Make space for some quiet time. Be with just you.  

Learn to meditate. There are dozens of apps to help with this.

Get 7-8 hours of sleep when possible.  Before bed, review your journal. Check off what you accomplished. Feel good about the day and go to bed with all the feels. Know that tomorrow is a new day. We’re given a fresh start every time the sun rises, as long as we have our health.  

  • Tara-Lyn Nunziata