Photo Credit: Courtesy The Bar MethodThe countdown to the new year has begun! Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Will you vow to exercise more? Drink less? Quit being a nag? Be more philanthropic? Or are you among those who are reluctant to make promises you think you’ll soon break? Although the majority of people don’t keep their New Year resolutions, that doesn’t stop Burr Leonard, fitness expert and founder of The Bar Method and Bar Online, from making them—and it shouldn’t deter you either. Below she suggests nine doable new year’s resolutions: three for your body, three for your mind and three for your heart.
“I don’t care what the skeptics say,” Leonard says, “I love making New Year’s resolutions. Coming up with a yearly list of life-enhancing projects gives me a fresh look at what I want out of my life going forward. Plus it reminds me that opportunity is always lying on my doorstep waiting if only I would walk over and take it.”
In 2001, Leonard launched The Bar Method, whose classes are built on the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the pace of interval training, making it the most targeted and effective body-sculpting workout. Today, there are more than 80 studios nationwide and several in San Francisco, including its flagship studio on Fillmore Street in Marina/Cow Hollow. This year she added Bar Online, a membership-based online class series which offers an extensive library of quality Bar Method hour-long and 20-minute long classes taught by top Bar Method teachers.
These days, she lives in Sonoma but still teaches classes in San Francisco. Without further adieu, here are Leonard’s nine suggested new year’s resolutions you may want to consider as you make your list.
THREE FOR YOUR BODY:
1. For one day eat only foods with no added sugar. Whether you weigh more or less than you want or are just right, a day free of sugar will get you of the roller coaster of sugar rushes and crashes. You’ll gain extra mental stamina, energy and concentration, plus you’ll sleep more deeply.
2. Ask friends, members of your family and your exercise teacher to give you feedback on your posture. The way we stand gets deeply ingrained in all of us from early childhood. For this reason our perception of our stance may not reflect the way you truly look. Get a reality check in 2015, and if your posture is found wanting, consider making serious effort to improve it.
3. On one occasion when you’re walking, sitting or standing for some time, try to keep your abs pulled in for 20 consecutive minutes. You already have strong abs from your workouts. Now train them to perform for you all day. This effort will challenge your concentration.
THREE FOR YOUR MIND:
1. Banish one bad habit for 24 hours. Whether it’s biting your nails, swearing to yourself at other drivers when you’re driving, watching too much TV–anything–try to do without it for a day.
2. Set your cellphone stopwatch to 20 minutes; sit in a chair, close your eyes and meditate until you hear the ringtone. Meditating, at least in my experience, is like Bar Method thigh-work for your brain. One session of meditating can clear out the debris in your mind and begin to firm up your cerebral muscles.
3. Decide on one activity or skill you’d like to do better or learn to do. Mull over the idea of pursuing it. This is a purely mental resolution, so you can choose anything that excites your imagination. File it away in your mind where you can call it up later.
THREE FOR YOUR HEART:
1. Let someone you have a relationship with win an argument even if you believe you’re right. Your generosity of heart will probably be repaid to you with dividends.
2. Learn the names of all the café baristas who make your drinks. If you don’t go to cafés, take it upon yourself to learn the names either of the clerks at your bank, the cashiers at your supermarket or the servers at restaurants you attend. Research has found that people have an amazing capacity to learn names if they work at it.
We Bar Method teachers know this is true since we’ve all developed the ability to learn as many as 30 students’ names during the 15 minutes before and after a class begins. If you make a project of collecting names, you’ll find as I did that people are always pleased to know that you remembered them.
And last but not least…
3. One resolution carried out is definitely worth 10 that have fallen by the wayside. To that end, my last suggestion is to pick out one of the nine above – or one you’ve created – and repeat.