At a time of year when the majority of resolutions have gone by the wayside, I'd like to offer a new one—one that doesn't look at numbers on a scale or in your bank account.
Let's look at following in Aphrodite's footsteps. The goddess of love and beauty probably never spent a minute thinking of her curves. Instead, she focused on giving love and making the world fall at her feet.
Here are some secrets from sirens of the Mediterranean on how to live more like a goddess:
1. Adopt a healthier palate.
Naturally, as a Mediterranean lifestyle coach, I teach Mediterranean cooking.
My family is big on olives, olive oil, tomatoes, yogurt, feta cheese, and pretty much all things Mediterranean. It's pretty easy for us to adopt a healthier diet when our palate is already accustomed to these tastes.
But if you prefer the taste of butter, meat, and takeout, then it may be more difficult to make that change. Below are a couple of quick ways to help you adjust your palate.
Eat at least seven servings of fruit and/or vegetables per day. Pack tangerines in your bag, chomp on dried figs for dessert, eat a salad every single day. I promise if you do this, you won't have room in your stomach for a full cheeseburger and fries.
Eat beans/legumes at least twice a week. Packed full of fiber, protein, and folate, legumes are a great, inexpensive food that is extremely versatile (black-eyed peas are awesome on top of brown rice; edamame are wonderful on a salad; cranberry beans are great as a stew with coarsely chopped root vegetables—think carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips).
Still unsure where to begin? Take a cooking class! Cooking classes are a great gift to yourself—it's the ultimate gift that keeps giving. Look them up at your local university, community college, local food cooperative, or local restaurants.
2. Gather your personal army.
Goddesses recognize that life can be tough, and to combat the stresses of simply existing, we need an army of supporters. In this new year, consider building your support village.
Join a success circle that will keep you on target with your professional and personal goals (think of a writers' group). Reach out to new (and old) friends on social media. Then follow it up with a much-needed but often overlooked girls' weekend or trip.
Plan a trip that has you swinging from vines, pushing your adrenaline by day, but relaxing in the evening and creating those precious moments that last a lifetime.
And call your mom weekly! She was the founder of your first personal army.
3. Get "om" with your spiritual side.
This is always the hardest one for me. I was born Orthodox Christian and raised Roman Catholic (I grew up in small towns in Virginia). I love the church and its ancient traditions. I love the fact that my five senses are tantalized once I enter a cathedral. It's an overall experience that leaves me feeling relaxed, happy, and even chatty with my fellow churchgoers.
But then I don't go for weeks, months, and at one point, even years. I get completely busy with life—workout classes, my children's sports, traveling over the weekend, work, etc. Life takes over.
This does not happen in the Old World, where religion is still revered and it's still considered family time to go to temple, church, or mosque. And I have to admit it: The families seem so contented and connected once they spend a couple of hours together on a given Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
So this year, I'll make religion a priority again. And I'm not talking about the in-your-face, fire-and-brimstone religion.
I think most of us seek peace, love, and serenity on a daily, weekly basis. Give yourself the gift of peace this year. Give yourself the time to meditate, pray, and postulate before a higher being. Make a commitment to chant. Do it in the car or in the shower. Explore Buddhism and Hinduism if the monotheistic ones that you may have grown up with no longer fit.
Find the right religion for you; find one that resonates deep within you and say yes to peace.
4. Become an asset to your company.
One of the things I learned quickly in business school was how to build a balance sheet or snapshot of a company's financial health. Once I graduated and moved to the corporate world, I began to think of myself and my peers as line items in a spreadsheet. I know, it's totally unsexy and demoralizing to think of humans in this fashion. But it's true: We are either a cost to the company or a source of revenue. We are either an asset or a liability.
Take a good look at yourself in the business setting. Are you actually adding value in your role? Could you learn a new skill set that would benefit your company and you? And as always, be certain to promote yourself loudly so others take notice of this new you.
5. Get your glam on.
Women in the Mediterranean know how to be flirty, fun, and sexy—in short, they ooze confidence. In the new year, take a dance class (tango or salsa, perhaps?), become regimented about skin care, eat healthfully, and choose sequins every now and then for a little sparkle in your life.