The New Year has started and with that comes the avalanche of New Year's resolutions and a desire to eat better, get fitter and improve your overall health.
It's become commonplace to now rip on the idea of setting a New Year's resolution and the fact that you have a very good chance of not sticking with it. I used to be one of those people and I do recognize the statistics that show the chances of staying with a resolution are slim. I still believe that setting them, in a specific way, though, can still be very effective.
Why Resolutions Fail
The main reason why too many people fail is a combination of unrealistic expectations along with trying to accomplish too much, too soon. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds by the Superbowl that's probably going to be a tough go unless you faced an unfortunate dismemberment falling in a river of alligators.
And for as much criticism health resolutions get I find they still serve a purpose for at the very least reminding you to get your butt in gear. It's easier to ignore messages to get healthy at other points in the year but there is no ignoring it come January everytime that calendar flips overs. Even if it makes you feel uncomfortable, exposure to that message at least once a year might be the reminder you need and there will be the one year it really clicks in.
There are many other great times of the year to start taking back your health. I'm a big fan of the fall as it really feels like the actual New Year with the change of season and back to school happening, but if you decide to make some changes at the start of the New Year there's nothing wrong with that and you're at least making a mindset change into becoming healthier.
The main thing, no matter when you decide to make healthier choices, is to not take too much on at once. This is only going to overwhelm you and end up in failure. Start small and get on top of a new habit before adding in a new one. I'm going to lay out a few simple things you can do that can move your health and wellness in the right directions.
"The key here is to build habits which aren't all dumped on you at once but with a slower, gradual approach. Soon they can become second nature and you'll be on your way."
1. Hydrate As Soon As You Wake Up
Kicking your day off with hydration can help your body wake up, cleanse itself and allow you to function at its best. Have a glass or two of water and sip it, don't chug, you're not at a frat party. If you want to kick it up a notch squeeze half a lemon in for some more cleansing and natural detox.
2. Increase Your Daily Water Intake
This follows up on point 1 as a lack of water can really throw things off in your body. It's critical in digestion, absorption and circulation among a ton of other things and is even critical in cognitive function too. Safe to say the entire Kardashian family is constantly dehydrated. Your goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. If you haven't been doing this before don't add it all in in one day start with a glass or two and build it up over the next few weeks.
2. Ditch The Vegetable & Seed Oils
I have a podcast where I've been lucky to interview some of the top people in the field of nutrition and this tip seems to come up more than anything right now. Get rid of the refined vegetable, canola and soybean oils that can cause inflammation in the body and replace them with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and even avocado oil for your dressings and marinades. You can make a salad dressing with olive oil and some red wine vinegar that is not only cheap but to me tastes better than any commercial crap you get off the shelves.
3. Replace Grains With Greens
This is another hugely popular recommendation that comes from the very best in nutrition. These four words can really help make a difference in your health.
4. Get More Sleep
We are really starting to understand the damage that comes from a lack of sleep. The less you sleep the more stress hormones you have in your body that can really cause a lot of problems. I'm pretty sure your day is full of enough stress as it is and the sure fire way to burn off those stress hormones is through sleep. 7-8 hours is still a good target so start creating a wind-down process each night, cut out caffeine after 2-3 pm, keep your room as dark as possible and avoid the blue light of electronics for at least an hour or two before you go to bed.
5. Eliminate or Drastically Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Saving this for last as it might be the most important. There's no surprise at our horrfic inceased intake of sugar and the damage it does to the body through obesity, diabetes and heart disease. I believe, and a lot of others would agree with me, this is a critical place to start with if you want to start taking control of your health. At the very least, cut back on liquid calories through soft drinks and juices and you'll be off to an amazing start.
Wrapping It Up
Your health and wellness go deeper than these 5 tips but they are a pretty good place to start. If your goal this New Year is to start getting healthy the biggest tip I could give above these 5 is to start slow. Take one of these tips, the morning water is a good place to start, and do it each day for a week or two before adding in another and approaching it the same way. The key here is to build habits which aren't all dumped on you at once but with a slower, gradual approach. Soon they can become second nature and you'll be on your way.
You've got this.
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