I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. Over the years, I’ve discussed the New Year’s resolution and how the vast majority of those made fail within a few months’ time of their inception. Mostly, this happens because people are 1) not truly ready to make a change but feel obligated to do so because “it’s what everyone does at the new year”, 2) set too big of a task in too short of a time (in other words, they don’t use the S.M.A.R.T. principles), and/or 3) get derailed the moment they face a setback (often minor).
Today, I’d just like to remind us all that healthy habits start now, at the moment when you may very well feel inclined to do something to better your health. Don’t wait till New Year’s Day! Start today. Every day lost is a day you cannot get back.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays. There are ways of maintaining your health and still getting to indulge a little extra in the Christmas pudding (or whatever your favorite dish is). Haven’t got an idea of where to start during this busy time of year? Here are a few suggestions. Think more and less.
- Move a little more: take the stairs instead of the escalator in the mall; walk the dog a little further than just around the back yard; do some extra house work to make every surface shine; take a five minute break each hour you’re sitting at the computer to walk around the house, do a chore, etc. Movement doesn’t have to be structured exercise. You just need to increase the time you move.
- Eat a little less: when everyone else is loading up the biggest plates they can, choose a small salad plate. Fill it with a salad and other greens first. Then go back for the good stuff. If you really want to watch it this year, try drinking a glass of water 30 minutes before mealtime to offset that growling stomach. Eat some breakfast or a snack before you go to the party’s house. And don’t forget that smaller portions reduce overall caloric consumption!
- Sleep more: the average adult is sleep deprived, and that packs on the pounds via a lot of chemical reactions in the brain and a lack of will power when sleepy and faced with a tempting food/drink item. We need at least 7-8 hours a night, and during stressful times of the year, we ought to consider sleeping a little bit more. Can’t do eight? Try taking an afternoon cat nap (15-45 minutes) during your lunch hour, before you eat.
- Do less: learn to say “no” to the activities that just don’t fit into your schedule or wear you out too much. You shouldn’t run yourself ragged. That leaves nothing in your reserve tanks for when life strikes–and it inevitably does–you below the belt line. Choose the things that matter most to you and let others take your place in those things you just cannot do this year.
I hope that these simple tips help you to formulate some healthy lifestyle habits now, as the holidays get into full swing. You’ll not only be ahead of the game, you’ll feel good about the things you are doing to improve yourself, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Your body is an incredible instrument that is capable of amazing things, and when you begin taking care of it, you begin taking care of your brain, your heart, yourself, and, through yourself, others.