So it’s the start of something new, a whole new year is ahead!
Why not make this year one of commitment to your wholeness, your health, your well-being? After all, if we make taking care of ourselves a priority, we can show up as better humans in helping out and taking care of others. As you reflect back over the past year, bring to mind everything that worked in regards to health journey, and commit to carrying those habits over into this year. And all the others that didn’t serve you, well in the most kind and gentle way, just let them go.
As a healthcare practitioner, I‘m used to hearing the resolutions people like to make with regard to their health for the new year: ie. ”I want to lose 10 pounds this year,“ or “I want to get up everyday and workout,” or “I want to eliminate sugar from my diet this year,” to name a few. But, just weeks into the start of the new year, I hear so many say they’ve not been able to stick to their resolutions. So, how do we set goals and actually adhere to them with long-term success? The key is in making a realistic plan that works for you. Each of us is different, so what may work for one may not work for another. You know yourself best with regard to what you can or cannot commit to, so as you sit down to establish your health plan for the new year, be sure to make it realistic for where you are on your health journey now.
Here are some things to consider as you set your goals for this year:
DIET - taking a look at your overall usual dietary intake, what changes can you make to ensure you‘re meeting your nutritional needs?
Consider the following. Our daily nutritional needs should be met primarily by nutrient-dense foods and beverages. Nutrient dense foods and beverages are packed with vitamins and minerals and have little to no added sugar, sodium, or fat (particularly saturated fat).
The core of a healthy diet includes:
• Vegetables - including dark leafy greens, those with red and orange pigments, starchy vegetables (in lower quantities)
• Fruits - particularly whole fruits (limiting fruit drinks)
• Grains - focus on whole grains with at least half of sources coming from whole grains
• Dairy - fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurts or fortified soy beverages/yogurts as alternatives
• Protein rich food sources - lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish, beans, peas, lentils, nuts/seeds, soy products like tofu or meat alternatives made with soy
• Oils - include vegetable oils and other oils from food like fish and nuts
A few other considerations in achieving and maintaining the best health are to:
• Limit processed foods and beverages which have added sugar, fat, and sodium
• Limit added sugars to <10% of calories/day
• Limit saturated fat (typically animal fat sources) to <10% of calories/day
• Limit sodium to <2300 mg/day (check food labels for sodium content and keep of tally of your daily intake)
• Limit alcoholic beverages to 2 drinks/day (men); 1 drink/day (women).
• Read those food labels to find out just what’s in that food you‘re considering buying/eating. You may be surprised! The ingredients’ lists and nutrition facts on labels can help us make more informed choices about the foods we’re putting in our bodies.
2. EXERCISE - our bodies are built to move, so how do we find ways to add more movement into our daily routine? Taking a look at your overall exercise habits, what changes can you make to ensure you‘re meeting your goals? Where did you fall short in meeting your exercise goals over the past year? How can you pick up where you left off or start over with a new exercise routine? Where ever you are along this journey, the most important thing to consider is to choose something you enjoy doing, as you are more likely to follow through in working towards achieving the goals you set if it means doing something you like to do. Maybe check out your local fitness or community center for upcoming classes you may enjoy, or even consider committing to a particular time of day for something as simple as a walk as a start. Whatever you do, just get moving. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
3. CONNECTION - our brains are wired for human connection. Consider connection as something we need to thrive as a part of a healthy lifestyle. What are some ways this year you can make time to connect with friends, family, or someone who uplifts your spirit and soul? Whether in person or virtually, can you be the person in your community who brings people together? Is there an informal group of people in your community who have common interests who you can perhaps corral together to do something great for yourselves or your community?
4. INTENTION and PURPOSE - can we work to set a daily intention that steers us towards fulfilling our life’s purpose and mission? It only takes a few minutes each morning to set an intention, but doing so can set you on a path of purpose not only for that particular day, but for the days to come. Before getting out of bed each day, maybe take just a few minutes to set and be with that intention, and then throughout the day revisit it, carrying it with you in all that you do.
May this year to come be one of your best and most productive in your health journey towards being your healthiest you! Can you commit to making this a year of focus on your wholeness, your health, and your well-being? If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to reflect back on the year past. Highlight what worked and what you’d like to change moving forward.
Take a few minutes to write down your goals for the new year. Make them personal and realistic to you and where you are now in your journey.
Once written, place your goals somewhere that you can see and revisit them often.
You’ve got this! Now go out and chase those goals and achieve your dreams this year….in 2023! This is your year to make them all happen!
~ Namaste, Happy Trails, and Healthy Eating ~