1. Aim for Variety
There are a lot of weird and tasty foods in the world, so why settle for a boring meal? Next time you go to the grocery store, buy the strangest thing you can find in the produce section, then go home, google recipes that use your weird purchase as an ingredient, cook the food, eat the new thing, then repeat this exercise at least once per month. Bon Appetite!
This year, let’s spend some time developing an old hobby that we enjoy. Or, let’s focus on discovering a new hobby that makes us happy! Focusing on hobbies can lead to positive challenges, less stress and plenty of fun. Plus, healthy hobbies keep life exciting and give us a break from monotony. So, pull that trumpet out of the attic, dust off the stamp collection or start knitting a scarf---it’s time to start doing something fulfilling that will improve your outlook and your health!
3. Get Moving!
Adults need at least 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per day, that breaks down to 30 minutes 5 days per week. Moving doesn’t need to be fancy, heck you can go outside and walk, dance to 3 songs on your I-pod, or stand in the kitchen and wiggle for all I care. If you need to, go ahead and break exercise into 10 minute lumps, but whatever you do, be sure to move on most days of the week!
The people we hang out with can influence our actions, so it is important to surround ourselves with positive people for the sake of our health. Being social on a regular basis can lead to health benefits like lower blood pressure and reduced risk of depression. However, choosing to socialize with the wrong people can bring more drama into our lives and increase our chances of negative health behaviors (think increased alcohol consumption, decreased physical activity, etc.). So, the next time that negative acquaintance invites you out, don’t be afraid to decline and go to that yoga class you’ve been missing with the friends that make you feel good about yourself.
5. Commit your Goals to Paper
When we take the effort to write down our goals, we are more likely to take the effort to work towards what we want. The process of writing goals makes us think about what we really desire and forces us to consider how we will achieve what we envision. Committing our goals to paper forces us to develop a plan. Take the time to make healthy goals and start taking actions to work towards what you want to accomplish. The future YOU will be thankful! Need help creating goals? Check out my free Reach your Goals Worksheet.
Water helps transport oxygen and carry nutrients throughout our bodies. Water makes our skin glow. Water helps prevent constipation, stabilizes body temperature and removes toxins out of our bodies. Plus, water is free!!! Let’s do our bodies some good and drink more water than pop, alcohol, juice, coffee, energy drinks and fruit drinks combined. Go water!
When we do exercises that strengthen our muscles, we gain a whole lot of health benefits. Muscle-strengthening activities give us stronger bones, healthy heart tissue, improved balance and better sleep. Muscle-strengthening activities can also help prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, obesity and diabetes. It is recommended that adults do muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days per week. So, grab a resistance band, do some yoga, lift some weights or use your own body weight to do some crunches and planks. It’s time to get stronger!
In addition to drowsiness, sleep deprivation effects our memory, coordination, concentration and physical performance. Extreme lack of sleep can even lead to mood swings and hallucinations. Starting tonight, set a bedtime, program your alarm clock and stick to a sleep schedule. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Get to bed on time this evening and wake up feeling rejuvenated. Goodnight! ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz…
We interact with our environment constantly, so why would we let ourselves be content with a toxic setting? Our surroundings can have a major impact on our quality of life and overall health, so let’s make our environment a healthy one! Giving our environment a makeover may include adding pictures of our loved ones to our office cubicle, growing plants and hanging art work at home, or turning down the TV volume for some peace and quiet. When we take steps to improve our environment we will be healthier and happier!
We are faced with different opportunities daily. Whether it is an opportunity to try a new restaurant with a friend or the chance to move to California for a new job, if the opportunity is intriguing to us, it should not be ignored. When considering the worth of an opportunity, ponder what it presents NOW, not what is missing. Regardless of the amount of time, resources, support, or anxiety associated with the opportunity, at least consider the possibilities the opportunity has to offer. It is important to pursue our interests, and if an exciting opportunity presents itself we will feel better knowing that we explored taking the opportunity rather than ignore it. Don’t live with regret.
11. Aim for Color
This is probably the easiest way to incorporate variety into our diets. Whether we make ½ of our plate’s fruits and vegetable at each meal, or add an assortment of vegetable to our pizza, eating colorful foods makes us more likely to get the vitamins, mineral and fiber that we need.
12. Try Something New!
Trying new things can be scary. New things take us out of our comfort zone, challenge our thinking and force us to develop new ideas. Ironically, oftentimes when we do muster up the courage to try something new, we discover that the fear of doing the new thing was unfounded. In fact, trying new things can be a great way to introduce ourselves to new activities and experiences that we truly enjoy. So, let’s make 2014 the year of new things! Ride a bike to work, sample the pepper flavored ice cream, try a new hairstyle, take a hip-hop dance class and have fun!
13. Go Outside
It’s easy to spend the winter months bundled up indoors, but going outside can improve overall health. A little fresh air and natural lighting can make us more active and happier. Plus, taking a moment to go outdoors can give us a much needed break from work, indoor chores and “screen-time” (i.e. TV, computer, video games and phone). So dress warm, grab a hat and mittens and get outside!
Flexibility exercises can decrease muscle soreness, lead to fewer injuries, improve posture, increase mobility and help with physical and mental relaxation; so why do so many people skip stretching?! This year, aim to include flexibility exercises into your exercise routine on at least 2 days per week for 30 minutes. This might mean holding a few flexibility poses after a brief warm up, stretching for 5 minutes after a workout, joining a yoga class, or simply stretching when taking a nice warm shower. Just do it!