33 Tips to a Happier and Healthier Life

33? Why 33? Well.. because…

It’s my birthday!

I’m not really sure what that means anymore, to be totally honest. I’ve gone from someone who was always obsessed with my own birthday, to someone who feels kind of indifferent about it. Maybe it’s my age (eek! When did that happen?), or maybe it’s just life, but I guess I couldn’t go on being a birthday princess forever, right?

Well, maybe I can. I’ll reevaluate and let you guys know if at 33 years old, it’s still acceptable to be a birthday princess.

Anyway, since it’s my Larry Bird year, I’ve decided to give you guys a list of the 33 Tips to a Happier and Healthier Life.

Stay with me, this isn’t all about vegetables and grass fed meat (although those are pretty top-notch things to include in your healthy life, if you ask me).

1. Eat your veggies. WHAT? I said this isn’t ALL about veggies and grass fed meet. Sheesh.

2. Eat a VARIETY of veggies. Our bodies need many many different things to run well, and many of those things include several different vitamins and minerals. Yes, veggies have a lot of the nutrients that we need, but the kicker is that they all have different ones. So if you stick with just peas and carrots (who likes peas, anyway?), you’ll be missing out on a whole slew of vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to nutrition!

3. Invest in a Kettlebell. Yep, Kettlebells are expensive. They’re also one of the most versatile fitness tools you can own, so with just a couple of these in your home, you can get in a full body workout pretty much any time you want. Efficiency is king!

4. Train to do pull ups. Yes, even if you’re a female. Especially if you’re a female! Being able to do full, body-weight pull ups is one of the most bad-ass, empowering things you can do. And yes, you CAN do it, trust me. It just takes some work, dedication, and the right training plan!

5. Master your body weight first. When many people first start out on a new fitness regimen, they often want to jump in head first with the most exciting, sexy, challenging workouts they can find. The trouble with that is that it often leads to injury due to poor form, because the movement patterns are just not there. Master the major movements with your body weight first, then progress from there.

6. Smile at strangers. I live in one of the coldest places in the US, and I’m not talking about the weather. Bostonians are hard, cold, and generally unfriendly — many people that I meet are really put off by this when first moving here. One thing that makes a huge difference? Something that takes a fraction of a second, but can brighten someone else’s day — a smile. Please don’t be creepy about it, though.

7. Eat ice cream. Life is short.

8. Try a new workout. At least a couple of times per year, try something wildly new. Take a spin class, go zip lining, run on the beach, whatever. Move your body in a way that you don’t usually — it will thank you in the long run.

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9. Do mobility drills daily. Foam roll, dynamic stretching, whatever floats your boat. Move those hips, baby!

10. Stretch your adductors. The muscles of the inner thigh are highly ignored during workouts. They become tight and fibrous, affecting your movement patterns more than you can even imagine. Stretch those babies every day for happy, mobile hips!

11. Don’t cleanse. Ever. Cleanses are made by the devil, for the devil. Your body knows how to cleanse itself, if you just give it the right resources (and that doesn’t include living off of juice for 7 days straight).

12. Stand at work. If you can get a standing desk, great. If not, make a point to stand every 30 minutes, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Sitting for hours on end is actually killing you, scouts honor. Stand for life!

13. Give hugs. Don’t hug people that it’s inappropriate to hug, but overall, hug more. WAY more. Hugs = happiness.

14. Learn the difference between soreness and pain. There’s a big difference between the two, especially when it comes to training/not training. Training through an injury? Not smart. Training around an injury? Smart.

15. Swim. Let your hips, knees, ankles and feet be virtually weightless for a short time every once in a while. There really isn’t any other workout out there where you can get a full body killer workout in with little to no impact.

16. Learn to be ok with a little bit of hunger. I know this sounds a little weird, and it kind of needs it’s own blog post. I think many of us feel like we need to eat something the very second we feel an ounce of hunger, but that’s not always what you really need. Learning about your body and your own hunger cues can make a huge difference in weight loss and fat loss, if those are goals of yours.

17. Eat grass fed beef, organic poultry, free range eggs, wild caught fish etc. 

18. BUT DON’T STRESS about eating grass fed beef, organic poultry, free range eggs and wild caught fish if you can’t afford it. Unfortunately, these things are luxuries, and you can still lead a perfectly healthy life without them!

19. Go on a walk. In fact, go on lots of walks. This goes along with #12, and is really just part of the bigger picture. We could ALL stand to move a little bit more, so taking a quick walk instead of 30 minutes of TV following dinner could mean the difference between healthy and not healthy at some point down the road. (No pun intended, seriously).

20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. It is so, so important to be able to laugh at yourself. We all make mistakes, we all do silly things, so being able to find the humor in these things is sometimes the only way to keep your head above water.

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Sometimes you have to just let you freak flag fly. Fly it high, baby! 

21. Repeat names. When you meet someone new, make it a habit to repeat their name so that you can commit it to memory. This is something that I have been working on, and something that I have slowly been improving. Remembering someone’s name and using it often makes people feel better, and also saves you from those awkward “Hey.. You!” encounters that we’ve all had before.

22. Forget what the internet has to say about health and fitness. I know, I know, I am the internet. Well, I’m a tiny tiny sliver of the internet. But the truth is, there’s no cut and dry plan that works for every single person, so you’ve got to pick and choose until you find what works right for you and your special snowflake DNA.

23. Wear a hat. Ladies, listen up. Wear a hat on the beach. Protect your face — it’s the only one you’ve got. I’m pretty sure none of us want to look like old Leatherface in the next 10-20 years, so we’ve got to get on that now. I’m pretty sure my face is consistently at least 3 shades paler than the rest of my body, but that just means my face will look 3 shades younger than the rest of me when I’m older, right?

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[Photo by Rachel Darley Photography] There was just so much sun shinin’ on that dance floor 

24. Say goodbye. There are some things and some people that don’t belong in your life anymore, even if they used to. Let them go and move on, it’s ok to not hang on forever, just for the sake of hanging on.

25. Do hill sprints. They’re good for the booty. And the soul.

26. Stop worrying about getting bulky. Lean muscle mass will do more than just make you look good, it will also protect your bones. Want a much lower chance of developing osteoporosis in the next 30 years? Lift weights.

27. Stop comparing. As much as I love Facebook and Instagram, they tend to let us do what is probably the worst thing for our psyche: compare. Stop comparing yourself to the fitness models on Instagram, and stop comparing your life to your “friends” on Facebook. They are not you, they are not perfect, they have real life problems too, just like you. And sometimes they are photoshopped.

28. Get excited about 30. I dreaded turning 30. But you know what? I really, truly, love my 30s. If you’re not quite there yet, stop mourning the loss of your 20s and accept the fact that you too will grow older. And probably wiser.

29. Stop doing mountain climbers. I seriously, seriously hate them. They are one of the least effective exercises in my opinion. With so many better options out there, don’t waste your time on an exercise that provides little to no benefit, and that most people have horrible form with in just a few reps.

30. Don’t flake on yourself. We’ve all heard to “schedule your workouts like appointments”, but it’s true. Value your health and your body, and make the time for your workouts. Again, your body is the only one you have, and YOU, my dear, are worth it.

31. Don’t always “Go Hard or Go Home”. There is a lot of value in light to moderate workouts that are timed well. Recovery is essential for you to make any sort of progress in your training, so if you don’t allow yourself that recovery, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. Rested muscles = happy muscles.

32. Work out and eat well because you love your body, not because you hate it. 

33. Eat your veggies. I mean seriously. It’s really important.

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9 thoughts on “33 Tips to a Happier and Healthier Life

  1. Mobility training: Have you seen any of GMB Fitness blogs, they make that a lot of fun!
    Happy birthday gorgeous, I know I haven’t popped on to say much lately but I read your posts and enjoy your point of view. Off to look for a KB! (What’s some tips to start using them?)

  2. Happy belated birthday Steph!

    I love this list. I totally agree with all of these (well, I don’t know much about the points on exercise, but I trust what you say!). I’m glad you included some tips about other aspects of health, like mental and social health. #24 is so true!

    PS. Do you have any posts where you talk about stretching your adductors?

  3. Steph – love every one of these tips aligning with everyone of your amazing years! Thank you!!! And yes, the veggies – in every color! 🙂 Just think about what a world it would be if parents could tune into some of your guidance!

  4. Pingback: Monday Morning Coffee Break

  5. love these tips!! and thank you for telling me to stop doing mountain climbers. I have to correct people all the time with them and I think they are unnecessarily hard! and happy birthday 🙂

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