Healthy and Happy in Chicago: The Year of Me!

Healthy and Happy in Chicago: The Year of Me!

“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided. It's more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted. No one is careful of his feelings or tries to keep his spirits high. He seems self-sufficient; he becomes a cushion for others. And because happiness seems unforced, that person usually gets no credit.”
― Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project


In a few days I will be celebrating my birthday. Every year I try to create - and follow - some sort of positive theme. This year I'm simply going with "The Year of Me!" I kind of heard this voice in my head coming back to that phrase. I brushed it off a few times, mainly because I've got two young children, a busy career and lots of other interests. Trying to follow through on a theme called The Year of Me! is a tall order. Then I thought, why not? I know I'm still going to be the best mother and wife I can be - that will never be sacrificed. I'm also going to do the best I can working with my clients to improve their diets and fitness levels.  I'm still going to be nice to people and be the best friend I can be. So why on Earth wouldn't I want this to be The Year of Me!? (Note: the exclamation point is an absolute.)

It sounds kind of selfish. Right? I thought it did at first, too, until  started applying a few makeshift guidelines to give some structure to this theme. I started by asking myself a few questions:

1) What Makes Me Happy?
Health. Without it, everything that I try to do good (be a good mother, be a good wife, be a good friend, be a good speaker, be a good health coach, be a good writer) would all be compromised. What's more, it's my livelihood, so I should do something related to health.

2) How Often Can I Reasonably Do That Which Makes Me Happy?
Everyday. I ran this contest over the winter called 29 Great Days. In fact, if you dig deep enough on my Facebook page, you'll see postings about the contest each and every day through the month of February. Every morning I asked, " What did you do yesterday that made you healthier today?" Everyday I'd get loads of creative, health-oriented answers. My fans committed to it for 29 days. I think I can commit to this for 365.

3) What Exactly Will I Do to Be Healthier?
In my opinion, this is where plans can get  a little wishy-washy. I like having my options, but I also like structure. I decided that every day I will either try a new recipe or restaurant, sticking to healthy fare, or try a new workout or exercise element. Balancing the both, for me, is doable. I know I love exercise and I know I love to cook. What I'd like to change is the variety. The Year of Me! is going to be about breaking my mold and getting outside my comfort level.

4) Where Do I Plan to Do This?
Mostly here in Chicago. Fortunately I live in an awesome city that has plenty of choices for healthy eats and exercise. Sure, in the dead of a Chicago winter, when the snow is fresh and the roads are undriveable (provided we actually get some snow this year), I'll rely on videos from YouTube try a new exercise, but I know I can get it done.

5) How Will I Remain Accountable?
You're reading it. I won't commit to blog every day, but I will commit to recapping what I've done each and every day in detail so you all know what my experience was like.  It might be some food for thought!

I started planning this a while ago, creating a list of restaurants I want to try, or old restaurants I've been to that have healthy dishes I haven't indulged in. I also started making a list of the fitness facilities or studios that have some cool workouts. As a trainer and fitness expert, I've done a lot of different workouts, so my birthday starts with a clean slate.

Where are your favorite places to eat healthy and workout?
I would love your input. Let me know what you think and why you love your recommendation!

Workout with me!
If you have a favorite spot and want to join me, or if you're motivated to start a fitness challenge of your own, why not join in the fun?

Create your own Year of You!
What moves you to be happy? Abe Lincoln once said, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."  Now might be a good time to make up your mind to be happy.

Keep an eye out for my first Year of Me! to post right here on Get Fit Chicago next Tuesday, August 14th!


Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.

Looking for a simple way to get into great shape and eat right? Try Traci’s 40-Day Shape Up!




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    I love Mista on Broadway; organic, fresh ingredients prepared deliciously for very reasonable prices. I think Mista is known for its pizza, which is made on a very thin, crackerlike crust, and makes for a satisfying but pretty light meal. My favorite are the veggie wrap and the pesto pizza.

  • In reply to Meg Zuehl:

    I've been to Mista! Love that place. Will try again at some point soon. Thanks, Meg!

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