Follow Your Desires

Shh. Be still for a minute and listen to the whisper of your inner desires. Do you have a deep urge to train for a marathon, go on an African safari, or plan a spa day with girlfriends? This is the year to pinpoint your true desires and make them a reality. Here are five reasons why you're worth it.

woman happy after exercising

You'll be more interesting

All work and no play... you know how it goes. Don't let commitment to your job, family, or relationships let you lose your own personal luster. Think about it. When someone asks you, "What's new?" do you have something spectacular to share? If your response is "the usual" or "same old, same old," it's time to get cracking. Make a list of five things you want to do for yourself in the next 30 days. Get out some magazines, a glue stick and a pair of scissors and make a vision board. Get your juices flowing.

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It keeps you young

It's all too easy to push your own needs to the background and make others the priority -- especially when it comes to taking care of yourself physically. The next time you find yourself making excuses for being sedentary, consider this: research shows that endurance exercise may actually reverse signs of aging like gray hair and thinning skin. Researchers from McMaster University in Canada genetically altered mice to age quickly, then led some of the mice in an exercise regimen involving a 45-minute brisk jog on the treadmill three times a week. The sedentary mice went gray and bald, while the mice who exercised showed no such signs of aging and looked younger and hotter than ever (okay, so we made up the "hot" part).

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You'll be happier

When you treat yourself right by doing something good for your body, your mind, or your spirit, of course it boosts your happiness. So if you're feeling blue, or if you could just use a shot of happiness, take a minute and listen to your inner desire. It might tell you to go for a jog, head to the farmers market to stock up on organic goodness or to have a long phone call with a girlfriend. You're not being selfish -- just taking care of you.

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You'll get smarter

If your inner desires lead you to trying something new -- whether it's a new activity or skill -- you can actually create new synaptic connections in your brain. These changes can conceivably become permanent, changing the structure of your brain. It's a fascinating new area of study called neural plasticity. Make a conscious choice to seek out novel experiences, and expand your intellect in the process.

You'll look fabulous

Following your passions will give you inner beauty, no doubt. But that's not just what we're talking about. Sometimes, even pure natural beauty could use a little enhancement. Go ahead and invest the time and money to treat yourself to a new haircut, a bag full of beauty products, or a mani/pedi. You're a strong, smart, hard-working woman and you're worth it.

How do you make time for yourself when it seems you have none? Make yourself a priority.

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