01/07/2013 12:20 EST | Updated 12/28/2017 15:45 EST

14 Steps to Wellness in the New Year

Well, here we are already, kicking off week two of 2013! Have you been keeping up with the promises you made yourself when the clock struck midnight on the first of the month?

The start of a new year has long been known as the time to resolute change; a chance to once again re-commit to improving health, reaching goals, and sometimes drastically altering our ways of living in order to achieve those things. Now, that said, I am not actually an advocate of the "New Year's Resolution." Alternatively, I think it wise to keep various purposeful projects going all year long, and to me the New Year merely represents yet another checkpoint. It is an opportunity to take a step back, take a deep breath, and then take stock of where you have been, where you are, and where you would like to eventually be. So today, I would like to offer up a few of my ideas about how anyone can start making 2013 a year full of love, happy life, and laughter, and also a time for making some small and manageable, yet very impact-full changes for better health.

1. Start from where you are. If there is one great lesson I have learned from my Yoga Teacher Training course this past year at 889 Yoga, it is this. Be honest with yourself, and even if it is one step forward, two steps back, you will eventually make the progress you desire. Don't try to change too much at once either; tackle challenges in realistic increments, and be OK with that.

2. Eat more green (plant) food.

3. Be in the moment. This is one that I still struggle with every day, but since consciously working to simply "be," my quality of life and over all happiness levels have shot through the roof! I have started reciting a mantra to remind me to be present -- sometimes something as simple as "I am here" can do the trick. Pay attention.

4. Show Up. For your life, your friends, your family, and yourself. And really listen.

5. Breathe. Deeply and often.

6. Cook at home -- learn three delicious and healthy recipes that can become your "go-to" meals when you want to give the gift of good food to your loved ones! I have some great options here.

7. Smile. At strangers. And to yourself. You will instantly feel better and will make others smile too.

8. Dress to feel your best; trends are fun, but wear what makes you feel most beautiful.

9. Move your body every day. For at least 30 minutes. Walk. Dance. Run. Skip!

10. Offer yourself to others. Volunteer. Read to your children more. Play a board game with your elderly relative. Hold the door.

11. Eat more plant protein, less animal. Try hemp hearts, tempeh, chia seeds, and test out some yummy nut and seed butters!

12. Take risks. Step outside your comfort zone and take a leap of faith.

13. Stop counting calories if you can. Please. Eat lots of plants, whole foods, and limit of eliminate processed and fried foods. You will feel better physically and emotionally. Nutrition in equals energy out!

14. Love. Your life, your friends, your family, YOU.

One more thing! You can also sign up for a MAP Wellness Culinary Workshop, where you'll learn a ton of great functional food information, as well as some sublime raw food recipes!

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