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Good intentions? This way you make 'em meaningful!

Good intentions. How many times have you already had them? Countless times. Every year I thought about which things I should do better, like more exercise, eating healthier and losing a few pounds. But at the end of January everything was back to normal and little had changed.

Can it be different? Hell yes! Of course! By looking at intentions in a different way. This will make it much easier and believe me: you will succeed. Let me explain it to you....

The way you make good intentions

The beginning of the year is a good time to think about life and to make new plans. What are you satisfied with? What can be done better? And finally: How can I ensure that I can realize it?

The beginning of the year is a great time to start. You probably have more energy and motivation than any another time in the year. But in order to ensure that it actually works, you need the right approach.

What do I mean by that? Good intentions must be positive and constructive, instead of negative and vague.

Instead of 'losing 5 pounds', the approach to 'taking good care of your body' is much better. After all, your health is worth much more than being slim.

Therefore, consider yourself: why do you have a certain intention? What personal values do you have? (for example: health, self-love, a good balance between work and private life, intuition, family). Are those intentions still correct, or can you formulate them differently so that it fits?

What also helps is to make the plan as practical as possible. Instead of the vague intention to 'eat healthier' you can, for example plan to always cook without packages and sachets. The more concrete, the better!

And do not forget especially: be nice to yourself. Taking good care of yourself is so incredibly important. Not only with good food, but also with healthy food, sufficient exercise and sleep. That will make you feel much better and it is much easier to make good and healthy choices.

Healthy and good intentions

But what exactly are healthy and good intentions and how can you put them into practice? I have put a number of them in a row so that you can get started right away.

1. Nutrition
Of course, healthy food is important. Especially enough vegetables every day is essential to get all nutrients. But what I find even more important is that nutrition has to be something fun and positive.

I mean: Enjoy without guilt. Healthy eating because you feel good, not because it 'has to'. It is not a question of discipline or willpower, but of a relaxed way of dealing with food. In this way healthy eating feels like a way to feed yourself and it never feels like an obligation.

Would you like to start with Paleo or at least have more 'pure foods'? Here are a few useful tips:

Plan. Prepare a 'meal plan' for several days and do the shopping for all days. That way the odds are much smaller that you eat something else. Meal prepping is very useful, so you make a lot of meals for the whole week. You can put a part in the fridge (or freezer), so you do not have to cook for the rest of the week.

I have made handy 'Paleo Mealprep' plans, with 4 complete weekly menus and shopping lists. With this you can make all the meals for the whole week in 3 to 4 hours. How convenient is that!

Make it easy for yourself. You don't have to make very complicated dishes every day. A well-stocked soup, smoothie or wok dish is quickly made and very healthy. No stress. No worry. You don't have to eat perfectly healthy, your body is strong enough. The feeling of guilt is probably worse for your body than less vegetables one day!

Do you worry about nutrients? You can then take a supplement as a basis. I think that's a good idea, especially during busy periods.

You can opt for a multivitamin, but I prefer to supplement my diet with a few specific products:

Collagen - useful as a protein powder and contains many nutrients that support the intestines, joints and cartilage

Cod liver oil - rich in EPA, vitamin A and vitamin D3 (especially in the winter very necessary, if there is little sun)

Probiotics - for a good intestinal flora, which is essential for your health and a good working immune system

Seaweed extract - rich in iodine, vitamin C and antioxidants, recommended if you eat little bread (and also no seaweed or other iodine-rich products).

2. Movement
In addition to diet, exercise is of course indispensable within a healthy lifestyle. What works best is a sport or way of movement that you like. Walking, yoga, dancing, cycling, inline skating or CrossFit is: everything is good! Make it fun and have fun. That is much more important than reluctantly going to the gym.

A good way to start is half an hour every day. Choose more often the bike or go walking to the supermarket. Lifting weights is also very good for your body. Whether that is a heavy shopping bag or a kettlebell; for your body it does'nt matter.

I have been training with a personal trainer for a while now. I learned a lot from that, including learning to trust my body again.

3. Relaxation
Probably the best intention: giving relaxation more priority.

In our busy lives full of stimuli, it is indispensable to take enough rest.

This is where your body will revover. Your brain can process all the stimuli and your energy levels will rise again. It is the only way to be more creative, think more positively and take good care of yourself.

How to build in more relaxation:

Create an evening ritual. Stop watching TV on time or scrolling on your mobile (at least an hour before you go to sleep)..... and allow yourself time to relax. No bright lights (blue light type); just a cup of tea, a nice book or simply nothing at all. Delicious!

A dark bedroom without stimuli. Do not put your phone on your bedside table, make good curtains, cover all light sources and keep the bedroom cool. Especially in combination with a nice evening ritual you will sleep much better and feel much better equipped.

Give yourself nice things. Giving yourself things is pretty difficult (for some), but realy important to feel good. Great idea right? Buy more often a nice magazine, go gardening, take a nice walk through the woods, follow a painting course, cook a 3-course meal, just because it's possible!

Gratitude
Write down what you are grateful for. Life is not always easy, but I'm sure there are always things that you can be grateful for. The sun shining, a postcard, a cup of tea, you name it. A good exercise is to write down three things every evening that you are grateful for. If you do this every day, you will increasingly realize how much you have to be happy about.

Of course these are just a few examples of good intentions in the area of nutrition, exercise and mindset. I hope to give you a push in the right direction.

Let us make 2019 a positive and productive year! Work smarter instead of harder and make your 'limitations' your strength. Work with your body, listen to your intuition and be very good to yourself every day again!

This blog is a guest post by Marinka Bil. Source: https://www.eetpaleo.nl/