As part of the Christmas gifts I made this year, I sent a little bit of Cape Cod home to my family in Wisconsin. For that reason, I went to the beach a few times this past week and it got me thinking. I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t visited the beach for a few months. The weather cooled down, holidays were coming, I’m working hard to build my coaching business, and I just got busy. I actually kind of forgot that I live minutes from the big, beautiful ocean and it’s been sitting there, down the road, this whole time.

But you know what? Even when life gets busy, even on Thanksgiving, and Christmas and New Years, the beach is still there. Whether I think about it or not, it still exists, deserving my attention.

And that got me thinking about other things we ignore. When we get busy, we forget about our health, we forget to workout, we forget to stop and breathe and enjoy our surroundings, we forget to stretch, or take time for ourselves.

But that doesn’t mean those things aren’t still there, needing our attention.

During the holidays, during those busy times, our bodies are still there out of focus, deserving our attention. And we can turn that focus to our bodies and our health any time – but so often we wait until something happens. Until we come down with something, until we burn out, until we are stressed and sore and tired and just don’t feel well. Or worse.

This isn’t a doomsday post, it’s just a reminder. Your beautiful body is just like the nature around us – a gift. And it’s a gift we’re given every day of the week – even the busy ones.

With the New Year around the corner, it’s an amazing time to put focus back on our bodies and our health, but really it can start now. It can start today. It can start next week or yesterday. Just like the beach, there is no bad time to focus on it.

So how can we refocus on our health and our bodies? If you’re ashamed to admit how long it’s been since you’ve given it attention, how do you just up and start?

Here’s how:

1) Don’t be hard on yourself. Be proud you are doing something right now. Be proud that you have even read this far into this post (and thank you!). Be gentle on yourself for the past, and optimistic about ever moment ahead of you.

2) Let go of what’s holding you back. Got leftovers in the fridge? A bowl of candy on the counter? Doughnuts, or pie? Let it go. Got excuses? Got a reason why you can’t start today, or set your alarm for tomorrow morning? Let it go. Motivation is like a bonfire – it doesn’t just light itself. You need to light the fire and get things started. It’s slow at first, but it’ll catch on and take the lead soon enough. But you need to take the first steps.

3) Stock up on what will pull you forward. Fill your fridge with greens, lean meats and seasonal foods like squash. Pick out a slow cooker recipe you want to make and get all the ingredients. Grab fresh and frozen versions, so your freezer is stocked with backups. If you drink Shakeology, make sure you have the ingredients for your favorite shake so you’ve got a healthy treat to look forward to.

4) Get excited to suit up. Lay out fresh socks, your favorite gym shirt, your fastest sneaks. Heading outside to get moving? Check the weather. Know what to expect and plan ahead! Get your favorite hat and gloves ready.

5) Dine in. Chances are if you’ve been busy with holidays or work or life, you’ve been cutting corners with take-in or dining out. Bring your meals back home, cook for yourself, and sit at the table. Take back control over your meals.

6) Make a date with yourself. Sign up for a run on New Years day, try a new class, commit to moving 3 times a week, or pick out a home workout program to follow. Whatever it is, set the dates, put them in your calendar and stick to them like business meetings. Set your alarm and disable that snooze.

7) Tell someone what you’re doing. Putting your goals out into the universe by vocalizing them makes you so much more likely to stick with them. And be conscious of how you word it. “I’m starting a fitness plan tomorrow” is a lot more convincing than “I want to start getting healthier.” Commit to it. Ask for their support, or invite them along! Find yourself accountability through a coach, a neighbor, a friend or a significant other who will help you stay on track.

8) Imagine how good you will feel. Visualize it. Think about how nice it will be to have more energy. Feel your body rewarding you for feeding it “premium.” Imagine the satisfaction you’ll have when you check your workout off your to-do list for the day. Hear yourself telling your accountabilibuddies what you accomplished that day. Remember that each day you do something, you are a little better than the day before. That’s exciting stuff!!!

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