Posted by Dr. Jamie McManus on Dec 31, 2013 in Shaklee Health Wise.
How have your New Year resolutions gone in the past? If the results have been less than stellar, try following these steps to make them stick.
The first step is to forget the dramatic changes such as quitting your job and moving to Aruba, learning a foreign language while you sleep, or losing 50 pounds by month’s end—most of these are destined to fail.
Next, make your new year resolutions more like mild lifestyle tweaks instead of full-blown makeovers. I tend to choose small changes that also have the potential for a big health impact; that way, I am most likely to be successful—because who wants to fail?
Here is what I am committing to for 2014. Why don’t you join me and make this year your healthiest:
- Go green: Eat something green with every meal. (Yes, this includes breakfast.) Try spinach, kale, broccoli, or any dark-green leafy vegetable. These vegetables are packed full of nutrition and are low calorie. Eating more greens is not only good for you, but good for the environment too! I am good at getting green veggies at lunch and dinner—so I am committing to green Energizing Smoothees or spinach scrambled egg whites in the morning.
- Stop the sugar madness: When people ask me what they should drink, I always say “just water,” that is because the largest single source of unneeded calories in your diet comes from both soda and fruit juices. See how close you can get to just drinking water.
- Clean up your water: Since you are now only drinking water, you need the best. This means your water must be filtered. Bottled water is not a healthy choice. It is full of chemicals you don’t want in your body and plastic bottles are an environmental disaster. So avoid them if possible. If you want to get the whole scoop on water, check out our clean drinking water post.
- Count your steps: Buy a pedometer and commit to 10,000 steps every day. I must confess to starting early on this resolution by buying a new high tech pedometer called a Fitbit® Zip™ over the Thanksgiving weekend. I haven’t had a day less than 10,000 steps and I am feeling even greater energy than usual!
- Prioritize sleep: Modern life makes a good night’s sleep very difficult. (There is just too much to do!) The problem is that losing sleep makes you less smart and more forgetful, reduces your sex drive, depresses your mood, makes you crave carbohydrates, and leads to weight gain. Commit to at least seven hours of sleep every night (eight would be better) and you will see dramatic improvements in your health. I find that I feel so much better when I get at least 7 ½ hours.
- Check vitamin D levels: Research on how valuable vitamin D is to our health is exploding. Vitamin D helps support bone health, maintains the immune system, is associated with maintaining brain function, and may be a factor in reducing development of chronic diseases such as arthritis. Have your doctor check your vitamin D blood level (25-hydroxy-vitamin D), and supplement (or get enough sun) until your levels are between 50-80 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).
Along with the above, I make the following resolutions every year: Keep learning (make education a top priority) and enjoy life to the fullest! Even when I am having a stressful day, I try to find something to laugh about—since laughter is the VERY best prescription I can give you! Too often, we are bogged down with what we have to do just to get by and these two resolutions have served me well throughout my life.
Would love to hear from you about your goals! Post in the comment section and commit with me to a healthy new year.