Did you know that nearly 80% of New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned by February? December is the perfect time to reflect on the goals you set in 2018 and think about where you’d like to see yourself in 2019.
Whether you have some health condition that you want to resolve, or if you simply want to remain well, here are three healthy living resolutions to try in the new year to “take back your health”. 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 realize it’s March (or even November!) and you’re still going strong.
1. Weight Loss – This is probably the #1 New Year’s Resolution. Unless you have a critical health condition that demands you shed some pounds, a better idea may be to simply resolve to make healthier food choices. One of the key ways to do this is to surround yourself and your family with healthy options to expose them to nutritious foods. The more involved your family is in planning and cooking healthy meals, the more likely they are to eat them, so try planning a weekly family menu together. 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 Johnny’s favorite cookies, or Dad’s diet soda and opt for healthier options instead. You can make these changes incrementally so that it doesn’t feel so much like an exercise in deprivation.
If your current health situation (or someone you care about) requires shedding some pounds in the new year, then check out my Weight Loss Gift Basket that you can give to someone or to yourself.
2. Improving Sleep – As I’ve said before, getting optimal levels of sleep is probably the most important thing you can do for your well-being and that of your family. Did you know that poor sleep increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and stroke? Even a small amount of sleep loss can impact your immune system. One study found that those who slept less than seven hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept eight hours or more. Research shows adolescents require eight to nine hours of sleep each night, and adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
Set bed times for yourself and your family to keep yourself healthy and performing well. Again, start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier than your normal time and then increment this by 15 minutes each week until you are getting the optimal amount of sleep. Stress also plays a big role in sleepless nights. If worry, anxiety or the inability to shut down is keeping you awake, see my post from November about various ways to reduce stress and then check out my Stress Relief Gift Basket.
3. Move – Whether it’s walking, hiking, running or visiting a park, we all know movement is critical to a healthy lifestyle. Our addiction to phones, laptops, and TVs have caused us to have many issues that can be remedied with better circulation. Pain, brain fog, sluggishness, and high blood pressure can all be improved with movement. But instead of resolving to “get fit”, a rather nebulous goal, consider adding movement little by little. Think about planning your movement schedule at the beginning of the week and try to include 3 things you’d like to do that week. You may want to add 5 minutes of stretching to your morning routine, plan to do a yoga class on Monday, add an extra 1000 steps on Wednesday, or schedule a family outing that is active on Saturday. Add more as you feel you can handle it. Challenge your children to make an activity schedule too including school activities and local programs to limit sedentary screen time at home. 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 than trying to go from no exercise to the recommended 5 days a week exercise routine all at once. And it’s much less stressful (see the previous bullet point on Stress).
The real message here is to resolve to take your health back 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 offer Custom Nutrition Plans, Movement Recommendations, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine that can help you achieve your health goals. This year I’m also offering some gift baskets, gift cards and stocking stuffers so you can share the gift of health with others.