by Antonio Sini

If you have one goal in 2012, one resolution that you make to help you get in the best shape of your life, start with this: “I want to be happy.”  Forget everything else for a moment. Forget going to the gym five days a week; forget about the foods you plan to give up or your plan to quit drinking for six months. Simply tell yourself, “My resolution this year is to be happy.”

Being happy is the key to better health and wellbeing.  Don’t get me wrong–getting into great shape requires some sweat and sacrifice–but before we think about exercise routines or food plans, we have to ask, “Are all the aspects of my life in alignment with my happiness?”  Physical, emotional and mental health are all deeply connected.   For instance, how can someone achieve true physical health if they work in an extremely stressful environment?   The same is true of personal relationships. You simply can’t ignore these other aspects of life if you want to be truly fit.

I ask you to take a moment to reflect on the following areas, which can make a positive difference in your happiness and health:

  • Relationships. Be honest and sincere when you communicate with the people close to you–your spouse, friends, co-workers and family members.  You’ll be much happier if you address and overcome your fears, frustrations and anger rather than bottling those emotions up inside.  If you have trouble communicating with someone close to you, then maybe counseling or some professional help would have a positive influence.
  • Work. Your work environment can be a huge influence on your happiness.  If you spend a large part of the day at your job, examine whether there is satisfaction and balance in what you do.  It doesn’t have to be the perfect job, but if your work environment is so stressful that you dread going, it is going to adversely affect your health and how you treat those around you.
  • Friends. Are you surrounded by problems, or people that make you happy?  A happy emotional state can be infectious. Just being near happy people can put you in a better mood. Children, for example, can be especially carefree and happy.  Limit your time with needy friends and create more time with your kids, nieces or nephews.  Try and ensure the people around you share your goals of health and happiness.
  • Exercise! Besides the fact that exercise has been shown to release endorphins and other body chemicals that give you a feeling of happiness, exercise helps you to feel more satisfied with the way you look and will boost your morale.  This in turn will help you stay more present, and more determined in your pursuit for a happy and fulfilling life.

Take each day as it comes and start to make decisions that you know will benefit your happiness.  This new approach to achieving life-long health will positively change the way you become fit and allow you reach your fitness goals for 2012 and many more years to come.