New Year, New Approach to Health
Building healthy habits, not resolutions
With the New Year upon us, it brings a time of reflection. We assess what worked in the past year and what we hope will happen in 2019. Research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their new year's resolutions. Does that mean we shouldn't make resolutions? Absolutely not! It means we need to change our approach to achieving our goals.
My advice is to keep it simple. People use the New Year as an opportunity to create large bucket lists. I want you to aspire to great things, but when you have so many competing priorities you are doomed for failure. We cannot change daily habits overnight. Our habits that take years to build, will take more than a few days to replace.
It is consistent small steps that will lead to transformation. I have worked with a lot of people to create long-lasting lifestyle changes. If you are looking to make some changes, I have gathered up my best tips that have helped my patients succeed.
1. Stop removing, Start adding.
Rather than eliminating all the things you love, try adding in more good things. I hear people say all the time "I am going to cut out bread, chips, chocolate, sugar", etc. Instead focus on what you can add into your life such as more vegetables, a stretch break at work, meditation before bed, etc. If you enjoy a piece of chocolate then removing it from your diet isn't a realistic long-term goal.
2. Keep it simple.
Small and steady wins the race. It is not the big things you do occasionally that make the biggest difference in your health. It is the small things you do consistently that create the biggest change. As an example, stretching for 10 minutes per day is more beneficial for your muscles than getting a massage once per month.
3. If you don't enjoy it, try something else.
You are not going to stick with something you do not enjoy, so make sure you having fun. If you don't like the gym, then try a different physical activity such as a dance class or cross-country skiing.
4. Celebrate the baby steps
Go easy on yourself and expect bumps along the way. People tend to give up on their goals when they are busy and under periods of stress. On those hectic days just do the best you can. There are busy days where I don't have time to exercise or make a healthy meal, but I try to make a conscious effort to be consistent with a few things daily such as sleep and drinking enough water.
5. Be specific with your goals
A goal of losing 30 lbs in a year is great, but try to make more specific and achievable goals such as going to yoga twice per week, meal prepping for your work week, or losing 4 lbs over the next month.
6. Listen to your body
There may be an underlying reason why you always feel tired or bloated. Don't ignore these subtle messages from your body. If you feel like something is off, but can't figure it out, then it might be good time to visit your Naturopathic Doctor. When you feel better, you can do better to achieve your goals.
If want to make some healthy changes, but you are unsure where to start - we've got you covered. Jennifer O'Donnell and myself will be hosting a four-part workshop every second Wednesday from 7-8pm starting January 9th. You can find more information below regarding the workshop.
Wishing you health and happiness in 2019!
Dr. Kallie Doucette, N.D.