It's a new year, folks! How many of you made resolutions? How many of you made goals? And no, they are not the same! A resolution is a statement of intention. It is often rigid and unyielding, thus setting you up for failure. A goal is a statement of commitment and usually involves a plan. I prefer making goals because if the path you choose to reach your goal is not working, you can find another way to reach your goal without throwing up your hands in frustration and giving up.
If getting healthier is on your "to-do" list for 2021, here are a few things you can do now to start the new year off going in the right direction:
Don't skimp on sleep
If a good night's sleep is usually not on your "to-do" list, it should be! When you skimp on sleep, you:
Are more prone to eating more as well as making unhealthy food choices
Are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease
Are at increased risk of involvement in car accidents
Are more prone to depression
May experience daytime drowsiness
May experience memory deficits and inability to focus
May not have the energy to get through the day
Eat a more plant-focused diet
And no, plant-focused does not mean "meat-free". A healthy plant-focused diet focuses on getting most of your daily calories from plant sources. Benefits of a plant-focused diet include the following:
1) Lowered blood sugar levels
2) Reduced blood pressure
3) Reduced strain on your kidneys due to reduction of animal protein in your diet
4) Prevention of heart disease and strokes
5) Reduced inflammation
6) Healthy weight maintenance
7) Increased fiber intake
8) Lowered cancer risk
And don't worry, plenty of plant foods are excellent sources of protein (e.g., beans, nuts, whole grains and vegetables).
Make time for physical activity
Do you often say that you "don't have time to exercise"? Well, stop this. If you have time to watch television, scroll through social media, or do household chores, you have time to exercise!
I know you're busy, but you still need physical activity to stay healthy (even if it's just short bursts of activity during the day). Every little bit counts!!
So, how do you squeeze in time to exercise?
Limit your screen time (television, computer, phone)
Make it part of your daily routine (find pockets of time for exercise)
Find an activity you love
Start saying "no" to specific things that hinder your ability to find time to exercise
Set a goal
Take the stairs
Ask for help
Benefits of regular physical activity include weight management, prevention/management of major health concerns, improved mood, boost in energy and promotion of better sleep.
Take the time for self-care
Never get so caught up in life that you neglect to take care of yourself. Self-care is a NECESSITY. It is crucial for your physical, emotional and mental well-being. Don't view self-care as being self-indulgent; you're just simply being mindful of your own needs. When you practice self-care, you are better able to meet the needs of others.
So, how do you practice self-care? Here are a few ideas:
1) Make sleep a priority (I can't state this enough!)
2) Consume a healthy diet (Your body needs quality fuel)
3) Try meditation
4) Read a good book
5) Learn to say "no"
6) Take a break from social media
7) Take time to listen to what your body and mind need
8) Make time for exercise
9) Have a good laugh at least once a day
Remember, there's nothing wrong with a little "me" time!😉