- Eat a Healthy Diet - This may not sound so easy at first. However, the way to achieve this is to plan every single week to include healthy foods on your shopping list. When shopping, try to search the supermarket for a range of colourful plant-based foods (for optimal health, adults need to eat 8-10 different colours), and be sure to focus on also including fresh animal protein and healthy fats. The key to a healthy diet is choosing a variety of these food groups and keeping processed foods to a minimum on a regular weekly basis. If you wish to lose weight this year, then this is a great starting point too. Maintaining a healthy weight is important as it lowers your risk of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Eat without distraction - It is important to eat slowly and chew each bite carefully, as that is how you help your body digest the food and assimilate all the nutrients. The best way to do this is to ensure you do not have any distractions, which means turning off the TV, putting your phone away and not working whilst eating. Eating without distraction will also allow your brain toregister when it is full - reducing the chances of overeating.
- Move More, Sit Less - If you have a job where you sit down for long periods, it is good to get into a habit of setting a timer to get up and move after every 60 minutes of sitting. Research shows that sitting for long periods can increase your chances of developing a number of serious health consequences - including high blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body fat.
- Book Your Annual Checkup - Seeing a health practitioner yearly that can carry out a thorough check-up with preventative screenings will help you to know when something changes with your health. Usually, the sooner a minor problem is detected, the more effective treatment can be also.
- Make StressManagement a Priority - Stress affects everyone. A little stress can be motivating. However, long-term chronic stress can have negative consequences to health. It will also impact how well you cope with life (including relationships with friends and family and even how productive you are at work). Yoga and other forms of exercise, including running, can be great at helping to lower stress levels, whilst some people may benefit from listening to music or using an app like HeadSpace that helps a person learn new healthy ways to manage stress through meditation. This app can be used daily or whenever you feel overwhelmed.
- Sleep More - When we do not get enoughsleep regularly, our immune system takes a dip, we get snappier at others easily, and our hunger hormones go into overdrive. Sometimes the reason you cannot sleep needs some simple habit tweaking - turning off screens an hour before bed, sleeping in a cooler room and ensuring you have had a well-balanced meal containing sleep-inducing starch as a starting point. But for some, the reason for not sleeping at night is due to something complex like trauma, which is always best addressed with atherapist or counsellor experienced in this area.
- Drink More Water - Drinking water is vital to life; it prevents dehydration which is a condition that can cause foggy memory, mood changes, overheating, constipation and even kidney stones. A way to drink more water is to start every day by filling up a reusable glass bottle with water and keep it close by at all times - including when you sit down to work and when you go out. Keeping the bottle in front of you and by your bedside table will help remind you to fill up the bottle daily.
When it comes to making achievable resolutions for the year, no matter what they are - it is important to be specific and to find ways to make the resolution actionable (some examples of this I have includedabove). Also, be sure to celebrate your successes - the dopamine release from feeling good about achieving your goals is what helps to encourage the healthy new habit to stick long-term.