Have you started thinking about your New Year’s resolutions yet? Or are you just going back to the ones you made last year and didn’t fulfill this year? Oh, don’t be crabby. I’m just being realistic. Check out these statistics if you don’t believe me. When I look at that page, I see very worthy resolutions being made, but they’re kind of vague, you know? OK, so if you want to have a more active lifestyle, how are you going to achieve that? How much time a day or a week are you going to devote to that goal? I’m here today to give you a few small goals you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle that will make 2015 a healthy, happier year.
I know I said these would be easy to incorporate into your current lifestyle, but I’m not talking about going to the gym every morning at 4AM to spend an hour on weight-lifting, an hour on the treadmill, and an hour on the elliptical. That would be way too much too fast. Start small. Instead of plopping onto the couch after dinner, take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Walk as if you’re late to an appointment, and your heart rate will go up a bit. Do this every evening, and your stamina will increase. If you can’t walk after dinner, use your lunch break to walk around your office building or the surrounding area. If it’s too cold for a walk, try these exercises you can do right in your office. Get your co-workers involved; it will keep you all on track.
2. Drink more water.
With all of that activity, you need to stay hydrated. If you drink soda, replace it with a glass of cold water. You’ll feel less bloated and weighed down by all of the carbonation and sugars. Treat yourself to a nice water filter to provide incentive.
3. Eat more vegetables.
This is a simple one. Sit down and make a list of all of the vegetables you like to eat. Think about the last time you actually ate each one. Look up recipes that use these vegetables, and add some to your cart during your next grocery store trip. If adding new recipes to your repertoire will take a little too much time, grab some pre-cut carrots and celery and snack on those instead of chips. Or if you really can’t give up chips, try making some kale chips.
4. Take your time.
Since we’re talking about food, let’s talk about mealtime. Dinner is a wonderful opportunity for families of all sizes to spend some time together, enjoying dinner and conversation. A dedicated, sit-down dinner allows families to bond, plus you’ll eat more slowly and savor each bite. Apply this to other areas of your life, too, if possible. When walking between work and your car, take a moment to slow down and focus on your breathing and the world around you. Mindfulness, especially where breathing is concerned, supports your health. Bonus: eating slowly allows your body to digest food and recognize it, meaning you’ll feel fuller before your meal is gone. This means you’ll end up eating less altogether.
5. Turn off your screens.
Not forever, of course. Many of us need to use computers and smartphones for work, and it’s also how we stay in touch with friends and family. What I’m advocating for is this: no work email once you walk through the door of your home. Turn off or silence gadgets an hour before you go to sleep. This preps your body for sleep and real rest.
Don’t be discouraged if you lapse in one or all of these areas. Not even the healthiest person can be healthy all the time; sometimes you eat the cheeseburger. And that’s OK! There’s a lot to enjoy in life, so the occasional night on the couch or deluxe hot fudge sundae won’t negate all of the other healthy choices you’ve made. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2015!