A new year is upon us and with it comes the opportunity to check in with yourself and set intentional wellness goals—the kind you can actually stick with for the long haul. And nobody knows about mindful, healthful living better than the diverse pool of wellness experts we work with here at mbg.
Here are the top tweaks they recommend for anyone who wants to live a little brighter. Their advice relates to everything from the food we eat to the products we put on our skin, but it all emphasizes the importance of tuning in to our bodies' specific needs. May their words serve as a jumping-off point for your best year yet.
1. Move every single day.
The healthy habit I would recommend to everyone is to move every day. This can mean going on a walk in the evening or heading to an intense HIIT class. Find the type of exercise that works best for you, and incorporate it into your life on the daily. When my body is tired or my day is too packed to get in a full, solid workout, I stretch on my yoga mat for 20 minutes or go for a 20-minute "mini-run" outside. There is always time for something, and our bodies respond very well to consistency! —Jordan Younger, wellness author
2. Journal in the mornings.
The simplest daily habit that I recommend to everyone is a few minutes with a journal or notebook in the morning over tea, lemon water, or your coffee. Free-writing a few pages of free-flowing thoughts is Julia Cameron's method from The Artist's Way, and it's the most powerful way to start every day with a higher and more focused level of energy. —Dana Claudat, feng shui expert
3. Eat real food.
Let's get back to the basics: Just eat real food. Instead of boxed foods and foods with tons of ingredients you can't pronounce, go for vegetables, fruits, organic meats, and healthy fats. You don't have to eat like a rabbit to be healthy. You can enjoy yummy, filling foods and nourish your body with food medicine. —Dr. Will Cole, functional medicine practitioner
4. Do more of what feels good.
Do more of what feels really, really good. It can be simple or passionately deep: It may be sleep, deep breathing, travel with friends, drinking matcha tea, baking, surfing, skating, running, yoga, meditating, more hot sex with your partner, more Epsom salt baths, playtime with your cat, cooking for the fam, lavender essential oils, playing with flowers, gardening, beach time, watching the sunset... Do more of that. Be your own best friend. —Candice Kumai, plant-based chef
5. Follow your nose.
Adding aromatherapy to your day-to-day can transform any mood or situation. Add a drop of fragrant oil onto your pillow or eye mask before bed or to the collar of your clothes. My personal favorite thing to do is add them to cotton buds and place these in the car, home, or workplace. —Emma Mildon, spiritual guru
6. Be authentic.
The key to ultimate wellness is to be authentically true to who you really are. Devote yourself to the quest of your own life journey via meditation, yoga, and living a compassionate plant-based lifestyle. There is no greater healing or charity performed, for you as a living example of the divine blueprint from which you were created blesses all life in innumerable ways. —Julie Piatt, plant-based chef & spiritual guide
7. Get into a morning flow.
Daily habits change everything. Starting with a 20-minute meditative flow always gets me centered and focused. Roll out a mat and keep it by your bed or in the living room, wherever you are going to see it and get on it. —Tara Stiles, yogi
8. Consider eliminating dairy.
As Loren Cordain, Ph.D., wrote in The Paleo Diet: "Saturated fats are mostly bad. They're found in processed meats, whole dairy products and many bakery items." My recommendation is to replace all dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter with plant-based choices, which are widely available, delicious, and far superior in terms of the environment and animal welfare. —Dr. Joel Kahn, cardiologist
9. Enjoy every little positive thing.
Moving into a new year brings into focus our most precious resources: our time and the people we spend it with. The healthiest routine is to deeply appreciate and enjoy every little thing you do to learn, play, grow, move, and renew yourself on a daily basis. Be open to every opportunity to achieve fulfillment, de-stress, and connect with others. Take the time to have face-to-face conversations with the people around you, and you will feel more connected and less stressed. —Jonathan Galland, author and integrated health expert
10. Go au naturel.
Say farewell to processed foods, refined sugars, and anything you can't pronounce. This goes for foods and beauty products. Weight gain, hormone imbalances, weak digestion, and poor immunity are all tied to environmental toxins and the chemical load from our products. This is precisely why I love making my own essential-oil-based beauty and self-care products. Your body is your temple. Treat it with respect, and it will respect you. —Fern Olivia, thyroid expert
11. Embrace little changes.
The three healthy habits I recommend to everyone are: Make sleep your No. 1 priority (and for most people, that means going to bed earlier), cook your own food, and get a squatty potty! These three changes alone can transform your health and well-being. —Dr. Ellen Vora, holistic psychiatrist
12. Use technology mindfully.
Allow yourself an hour to ease into the day and ground yourself before offering all of your energy to your phone. Give your life space away from technology so that you have more of yourself to offer and, in turn, more to offer to the world. I find it's helpful to shut down several hours before bed and take full days or weekends away when possible, too. —Kristin Dahl, holistic nutritionist
13. Start small.
The key to achieving a healthier routine is to start small. Baby steps. When I went vegan, I gave myself two years to phase out meat. Sounds like a long time, but I would cut out one type of meat every six months. Baby steps. It also helps to go into it with the understanding that nothing needs to last forever, and slip-ups will happen. The less rigidity you have, the more successful you will be in the long run! —Light Watkins, meditation teacher