It’s that time of year again! Christmas is over with. We’ve probably enjoyed a month of over-indulging and over spending. Many of us have had too much wine, sweets, or just something we know isn’t very good for us.
And now, many of us are now beginning to produce our New Year Resolutions to get back on track.
A majority of New Year Resolutions are focused on improving our health. But we all know that most of the time, these resolutions often don’t last much longer than February.
This is mostly due in part to the unrealistic goals we make when we are extremely motivated at the beginning of the year, and unfortunately many of us just can’t keep up.
The key is to take small steps, and slowly get better as things get easier.
If improving your health is up there on your New Year’s Resolution, don’t make ridiculous goals that deep down, you know you won’t continue with by the end of next year.
Here are my 6 simple tips to work towards a healthier you throughout the year – not just until February.
1. Keep hydrated
I know you hear it all the time, but this is the easiest way to improve your overall health.
If you’re not a big water drinker, it can seem like a huge effort to drink more water in the beginning, so start small and work your way up.
Recommended intake depends on your body weight, but it’s generally recommended to drink 1.5 – 2 litres of fluids daily, and more on days you exercise.
If you find water boring, you can also increase your fluid intake by using some of the following:
- Your favourite herbal teas (hot or iced in the warmer months if you prefer)
- Infused waters (great enjoyed on hot days or at social gatherings)
- Especially in the winter months: broths, soups and stews can be enjoyed and will also add to your fluid intake.
2. Do a pantry makeover
Many of us are guilty of having those sneaky snacks waiting for us when our self-control is at its lowest. While a treat here and there is nothing to feel a failure about, it’s a whole lot easier to stay on track when those foods are not in view or in the house to cause temptation in the first place.
Go through your kitchen and pantry. Throw away, or give to others (you probably have friends or family members that would be happy to take that box of chocolates off your hands!) any foods you perceive to be encouraging poor health, bad habits or might be holding you back.
Furthermore, make sure your pantry is stocked up with an abundance of healthy foods and healthy alternatives, so you never get stuck and make excuses. I give all my new clients a ‘Pantry Staples’ list which supplies them with all things that can be used for healthy baking and cooking.
3. Set a regular bed time
Our sleep can affect many aspects of our health, so gaining a more consistent sleep cycle can have health benefits, all the way from improving the look of your skin, assisting with weight loss and appetite, hormone regulation and so much more. Find a suitable bed time, and stick to it.
4. Practice gratitude and positive thinking
As well as working on your body, you also need to work on your mind. You can keep a gratitude journal, and keep a list of 3 things you are grateful for each day. This will help re-train your brain to think in a more positive manner.
You could also write down 3 things that make you happy or make you smile each day.
5. Increase your intake of fruit and veg
Did you know that up to 90% of us are not reaching our recommended daily requirement for our fruit and vegetable intake?! That’s insane!
Veggies should be the main component of our meals, so it shouldn’t be difficult to reach this requirement! If you struggle with your fruit and veg intake, try just adding one more serve of veg to your dinner each day and slowly increase as you get better at it.
Are you, or do you live with a fussy eater? You can also hide serves of veg in smoothies and even healthy desserts.
(I’ve made some delicious gluten-free choc cupcakes with hidden zucchini and beetroot you couldn’t even taste – a great idea for kids. You can find lots of great recipes online or on Pinterest!)
6. Get moving, but start small
I know, I dread the thought of exercise sometimes too. But it’s so much easier to get started if we aren’t pushing ourselves too much to begin with.
Set yourself a goal you know you can easily stick to at first, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, for a couple of weeks. Then, double it, and then, double it again. It will become much easier when you’re not dreading it and hoping for it to be over! And instead of thinking about how much you DON’T want to exercise, think about the benefits. Or better yet, discover a way to exercise that you actually like doing and gets you excited.
If you can do these 6 things, most of the time, you’ll notice a huge difference in your mood, energy, and overall health – not to mention any other health ailments you might already be dealing with on the daily.
If you feel like you need a more specific plan for your year of good health, book in for an appointment at Fresh Start Natural Medicine.
Melissa can help segregate and prioritize your goals, and improve your chances of becoming healthier and happier with the use of herbal medicine, nutrition and lifestyle changes.