I read an incredible article recently from a Today show blog on healthy living and thought I would share some of what I learned. I hope this helps you as you begin a new year.
For those of us that go “all in” as we flip from 2021 to 2022, without a gradual transition, can set us up for failure immediately. After all, one of the biggest obstacles people face when tackling resolutions is starting off strong, but then having motivation quickly dwindling within a few weeks. If we start taking small steps now, we can make the transition a more gradual one, making it easier to incorporate changes into our routine and stick with them for the entire year.
Researchers have shown that making small accomplishments ultimately signal the reward circuitry in our brains, this releases feel-good chemicals making us feel more confident, boosting our self-esteem and fueling our innate need for motivation. So while these habits may seem like no-brainers, mastering them now can make a huge difference in your mind to keep you motivated. Below are 6 easy ways to start the year off without feeling like you have to make drastic changes to your everyday life.
- Drink a glass of water every morning
Most experts recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. But if that seems like an impossible feat, or if you’re already doing that, try one simple step. Set out a bottle of water or a glass of water every night for you to drink the next day before you have breakfast or even your morning coffee. Before your day has even started you’ve accomplished simply one healthy habit.
2. Add one vegetable a day to your diet
If I’m being totally honest this is probably the hardest for me to do. Encourage yourself to eat something healthier by committing to eating just one additional vegetable a day. It could be mixing an extra handful of spinach into a smoothie, adding broccoli to your stir-fry, or simply eating kale chips as a nighttime snack instead of popcorn.
3. Move your body 10-15 minutes a day
I’m not talking about exercise. I’m talking about simply committing to moving your body for just 10 to 15 minutes a day, whether that’s walking around the house on your conference call or going on a walk around the block with your dog. You may be surprised how easy this is to turn five minutes a day into 15 or 20 minutes a day within just a couple of weeks.
4. Take time on Sundays and plan your workouts for the next week
We at Medical House Calls encourage our patients to take a seat on Sunday and map out the next week so they can see when they will have the opportunity for exercise. Spend just five minutes looking at the week ahead and scheduling some “me” time for your workouts. Whether it’s a five-minute yoga stretch on an app on your phone or a 45-minute workout, put in your calendar on the day and time you plan to complete this task. The simple fact that you can spend five minutes doing this is something we feel gives you maximum reward for minimal effort.
5. Give yourself some grace
Whether you want to find the motivation to exercise, feel more confident at work, or just be happier in general, cultivating a positive relationship with yourself is a very important step. Try setting a journal next to your bed or a self-improvement book on your coffee table next to your remote control. Before going to bed or watching your favorite show, encourage yourself to take a pen to paper and connect with your thoughts or just your feelings for the day.
6. Lossen up a stiff body part
Is your neck or back always tight? Or maybe your hips are always sore? Choose one of your body parts and commit to one stretch a day to help loosen that area. If it’s your neck, try dropping your right ear to your right shoulder for a few breaths, and then switch sides. If it’s your hips, try sitting with your right ankle over your left knee to stretch the outer hip and Glute. If it’s your shoulders, do shoulder rolls while you open your email in the mornings. There are several ways and opportunities to take just a few minutes a day and “Lossen up”. Let’s face it, the truth is we don’t control tomorrow or yesterday, so all we can focus on is today. We hope you and your family are off to an incredible 2022! It’s never too late to start those New Year resolutions.