A New Year, A New You

“New Year’s Resolutions”… does the phrase make you break out in hives? Those three words can cause a lot of grief if the choices that encompass it are not chosen wisely.

I believe that the resolutions that fail the most often are those that are the most unreasonable. In fact, the term “New Year’s Resolutions” reminds me quite a bit of “I’m going on a diet”.  And I find it interesting that both seem to coincide with the start of a new year and both have a high failure rate. I have gone through many a December 31st making a list of all the things I want to do come January 1st.  Then I feel the pressure to start them all right away, which leads to overload and eventually failure of any one of the resolutions being met.  So this year a new approach is finding its way into my life.  I call it life improvement, not a resolution. My goal is to improve areas of my life a little at a time and in ways that will lead to lasting changes.

Here are examples of ways you can improve your health and overall wellness for 2014…

  • Make water your drink of choice.  Most of us are in need of more hydration. Headaches, hunger pains and fatigue are most often signs that your body needs more water (ice tea, coffee, sports drinks and soda don’t count).
  • Work toward eliminating processed and junk foods.  If you eat them every day right now, then cut back by two days a week, then three, etc.… and then eventually they are a rarity.  There are always going to be times when you can’t avoid processed foods, but having them only on occasion is far better then several times a week and most people find that once they break-up with their fast food habit, they don’t miss it.
  • Make Green your new favorite color.  See my previous post on all the benefits of dark green veggies.  They are full of nutrients, help alkalize your body and will improve your overall health
  • Move your body.  Exercise doesn’t have to mean a membership to 24hour Fitness. You can try Zumba classes, dance with your favorite music on or just go for a walk around the neighborhood to start.  Build up your intensity once you are in the routine of at least three days of exercise a week.
  • Sleep.  Make sleep a priority. Getting enough sleep will improve memory function, help prevent illness, will improve your mood and help keep your weight in check (less sleep leads to more weight gain).  Strive for 7 ½ hours, or more, a night.  If you have trouble falling asleep, increase exercise during the day and turn off all technology 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Follow me on Facebook and my blog.  Of course you knew this would be on the list.  These two places will be filled with ways to lead a healthier life based on my philosophy of Eating Cleaner and Living Greener.  I will post links to important information as well as recipes and helpful, healthy tips.

And if you really want to get serious about a healthier new year then here’s a challenge…

  • Give up soda! I mean every kind of soda! Regular or Diet, it doesn’t matter.  There is no value in soda, not one drop of either kind gives your body any nutrients. It fills you up and prevents you from taking in foods that are nutritious, they add excessive amounts of processed sugars (or harmful artificial sugars) and cause you to crave more sugar, interfere with cellular function and ultimately lead to weight gain. Yes, even the diet sodas! Here’s how: cut your intake down by half every two weeks and continue the pattern until soda isn’t part of your routine any longer.

In case you are wondering, my resolutions include adding weight training to my workout routine, volunteering more often and providing my readers with lots of great recipes and tips on clean eating and green living.

Most important of all, give yourself a break.  Making any lasting change takes time. Experts say it takes three weeks to build a new habit, so be patient with yourself and keep moving forward. There will be hard days, but don’t let them get the best of you… you get a fresh start starting the moment after the setback. The real goal is to get to December 31, 2014 and be able to smile when you look back and see how far you’ve come… and how your life has improved.