Where do you want to see yourself in 2020? While you are taking some downtime during the holidays, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your accomplishments for this year, and think about your 2020 New Year’s goals. The key is to be realistic, so you don’t give up like most people after just a couple of months (80% of New Year’s resolutions are dropped by February)!
Perhaps you’d like to see yourself in better health, or maybe you want to simply stay well. The key is to set goals that are small enough to be doable, but big enough to still give you that feeling of satisfaction when you are still going strong well into the year.
Here are my top three healthy living resolutions for the new year to “take back your health”.
1. Weight Loss – Usually on everyone’s list after the holiday season, I recommend that you simply resolve to make better food choices. When shopping, stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store where you find fresh fruits and veggies, and stay out of the center aisles where all of the processed foods live. Try to resist the temptation to buy your kids favorite cookies, or Dad’s diet soda and opt for healthier options instead. Consider involving your family in planning and cooking healthy meals. When you plan and cook together, the more likely your family members will be to eat well. Maybe you need a little help? Here is a new cookbook that I’ve been testing with my “Food As Medicine Cooking Workshops”. I’ve got copies at my clinic that will make a perfect gift.
2. Improving Sleep – I harp on the need to get good sleep all the time, and getting optimal levels of sleep is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health. Poor sleep increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke! Even a small amount of sleep loss can impact your immune system, increasing the likelihood that you can develop a cold or other illness. Optimal sleep levels are eight to nine hours of sleep each night for kids, and at least seven to eight hours of sleep for adults.
An easy way to start is by going to bed 15 minutes earlier than your normal time and gradually increment this by 15 minutes each week until you are getting the optimal amount of sleep. If high stress is a factor in your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep, see some of my previous posts on Sleep, and Stress Reduction techniques.
3. Exercise – Whether it’s walking, hiking, running or visiting a park, we all know exercise is critical to a healthy lifestyle. Pain, brain fog, sluggishness, and high blood pressure can all be improved with movement. But instead of setting some unrealistic goal like exercising for 2 hours every day, add movement little by little. At the beginning of your week, think about 3 things you’d like to include for the week. Maybe that looks like a walk on Monday, a yoga class on Wednesday and a family outing to a local hiking trail on Saturday. Add more as you feel you can handle it and can work things into your schedule. Challenge your children to make an activity schedule too that includes school activities and local programs help limit screen time at home and keep them moving. Adding movement to your week a little at a time isn’t going to take you from couch potato to marathon runner in a month, but it will be far more sustainable and it’s much less stressful.
The most important thing in setting your resolutions is to get healthier in a way that takes into consideration your current health picture and schedule, and not to set some unattainable resolution that you’ve dropped by February. Baby steps are better than no steps!
If you need a little help to come up with your “Take Your Health Back” plan, I am happy to help with Custom Nutrition Plans, Movement Recommendations, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine that can help you achieve your health goals. This year I’m offering some special deals again for my existing patients (see this months newsletter), as well as gift cards so you can share the gift of health with others.