Happy New Year.

I’m so happy and blessed that I’m able to continue in sharing my healthy recipes with you. We survived and a few of us even thrived in 2020. So, cheers to new beginnings.

As we begin to reflect upon the past year of all the goals and aspirations we achieved, we also need to think about the ones that sadly missed the mark.

Every January, people tend to create vision boards or write down plans and goals they want to accomplish by the end of the year. I’m sure you have too. I know I did in 2020, but 2020 said, “Ha! I’ve got my own plans for you.”

Maybe you want to become healthier by losing weight, working out more or eating a little cleaner by cooking more at home. Some people might be looking for a career change, to move up in their company or practice more self-care. After all, resolutions are created with the intent of becoming a better you. Right?

It’s one thing to have realistic goals with a reasonable time frame, but it’s another thing to create these radical resolutions with unrealistic expectations. Oftentimes, we think we can put on a superhero cape and conquer the world when, in actuality, we can barely get through the day. That’s how disappointment and the feeling of failure begin to set in -- by establishing unrealistic resolutions in an ever-changing world where time, situations and seasons of life are sometimes beyond our control. Can we all say in unison ummm, “2020” perhaps?

We as people are constantly evolving, therefore we’re all works in progress. In other words, don’t put a period at the end of a goal when you can use a comma. This year, be intentional in developing healthy habits that you can actively work towards in becoming a better you. Ditch the radical resolutions that seem to get lost in the shuffle of life by mid-March of any given year because they were unrealistic to begin with. Only you know your family and work dynamic where you’re able to set aside time and achieve small wins.

As with making radical resolutions for the new year, we also prepare superstitious meals such as greens for money, black-eyed peas and some form of pork for good luck.

In keeping with tradition, I’m sharing my black-eyed pea salad recipe along with my top 10 healthy habits in creating an intentional and well-balanced life in 2021.

1. Practice mindfulness. Wake up. Are you living or merely existing? Live your life in the present moment by being fully aware of who you are, where you are and what is going on around you without fear or criticism. Live on purpose and with purpose. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own.

2. Find gratefulness and joy in each day. Begin each day with a grateful heart and a spirit filled with joy. You can find many things to be grateful for in each day by celebrating the small victories and the progress you’ve made. Self reflection cleanses and reinvigorates the soul.

3. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise. Start off small by incorporating at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. Find an activity, exercise class or sport that you enjoy. Having an accountability partner will help keep you on track of your goals. Getting in some fresh air, a healthy dose of Vitamin D from the sun, and a great workout does a body good.

4. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day. Not only does water help flush out toxins, it also improves your complexion, boosts your immune system and energy levels and promotes healthy weight management and weight loss. Don’t like the taste of water? Add some fresh slices of lemon or lime or a sprig of mint for taste and flavor.

5. Practice mindful eating by creating weekly meal plans. Always carry healthy snacks with you while on the go, at the office and at home. Never go to the grocery store hungry or mindlessly eat in front of the TV or at the desk while you’re working. Make healthy snack bags and go by the serving size on the label. Schedule a separate grocery shopping day from your meal prepping day(s) so you won’t become overwhelmed. Learn how to balance your plate and adhere to portion control.

6. Value your relationships. Who you share your time and space with is important whether it be personally or professionally. We all get busy in the hustle and bustle of life. Don’t forget to reach out to your friends every now and then. Pick up the phone and call them or schedule a video call instead of shooting them a text or liking their post on social media. People need people. 2020 taught us never take people or our health for granted. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

7. Establish healthy boundaries. Be intentional in who you surround yourself with and give your energy to both personally and professionally. Your inner and working circle should be filled with people who encourage you, promote positivity and won’t tank your mental health, weight loss or other life goals. Learn how to set healthy boundaries where people have to respect you, your time and personal space. Protect your peace. Protect your spirit. Learning how to say no is saying yes to you.

8. Practice time management. Time is one of those intangibles we’ll never be able to get back. Deadlines, appointments, scheduled workouts or mandatory meetings aren’t going anywhere, therefore don’t allow obstacles or distractions to prevent you from accomplishing your tasks and goals at hand. Remain focused and see your goals through.

9. Be a risk taker. Be willing to take more risks in business, relationships and in life. Go back to school. Start a new business. Find a new hobby. Sign up for your first 5k. Be intentional in doing the things that will bring you greater joy and happiness in becoming a well-rounded person and living your life with purpose. You’ll never know your strength or how great you can be without taking risks. No risk, no reward.

10. Practice self-care. Selfcare is self-love. Schedule a selfcare day on your calendar once a week even if it’s only for an hour. Block out that hour of time where you will turn off all electronics and make yourself unavailable to family, friends and co-workers. Create a fun and soothing selfcare box filled with goodies such as candles, books and pampering items or go enjoy a peaceful outing alone as a great pick me up.

I hope you’re excited about what your future holds and the journey in getting there. You are no longer confined nor defined by radical resolutions, but armed and ready for battle with healthy habits set by you.

In going forward in 2021 –

• Ditch the radical resolutions.

• Set healthy habits with intent.

• Write and be accountable to your goals daily.

• See, affirm and focus on your goals daily.

•Enjoy the progress and journey towards living a well-balanced life.

I’m wishing you well and all the luck my black-eyed pea salad has to offer you in the upcoming year. Enjoy!

Live and be well.

jan salad

Black-eyed pea salad

Black-eyed pea salad

2-15 oz. canned black-eyed peas drained and rinsed

1 can no salt added corn drained

1 cup English cucumbers quartered

1 cup grape tomatoes halved

3/4 cup red bell peppers chopped

1/3 cup red onions chopped

1 medium jalapeño pepper diced

1/2 cup Italian parsley chopped

Dressing ingredients

2 tbsp raw honey

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

3 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp basil

2 tbsp garlic minced

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk dressings ingredients. Season to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix vegetables and dressing thoroughly until it’s well coated. Season to taste.

Chill for 15-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

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