5 Simple, High Mileage New Year’s Resolutions
The recent spate of ultra cold weather has put a damper on my regular trail running until this morning. It felt so good to be out in nature on a much warmer day. While I was running I was thinking of goal setting and New Year’s resolutions.
The key is to set realistic goals that are broken down into daily actions. It’s not enough to say, ‘in 2018 I’m going to prioritize my health’! While that is great, it’s not tangible or specific enough. Instead, pick realistic daily and weekly actions which over the course of the year will amount to great progress.
Below are five (often underestimated) daily / weekly habits that will offer great mileage for the effort and bring you closer to your overall health goal.
1. DRINK MORE (CLEAN) WATER – track daily
You hear it over and over again about how important it is to drink more water. It may seem like a small goal, but staying hydrated can have lasting effects on your overall health, from more energy to better skin to increased productivity at work. If drinking the recommended 8 glasses of filtered water (64 oz) a day is hard for you, try adding lemon, limes, grapefruit or mint to your water for added flavor. Carry a water bottle with you and take a few sips every hour. It’s best to consume most of your water between meals as opposed to during meals as that will dilute your digestive enzymes.
Consider taking your water intake tracking to the next level and download Daily Water Free or Carbodroid to your phone and set daily reminders and alarms. If you want to get very serious about your water consumption and are a gadget geek, go with a Smart Water Bottle ($60) and the corresponding app. This high-tech cup records every ounce as you sip, and sends the information directly to your iPhone.
2. EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES – track daily
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommend adults eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits and 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables each day. This is 4-5 cups total a day and keep in mind the veggies are more important than the fruits. I think this is on the low end for what is optimal but still a stretch for many. So how do we fit it all in?
The easiest way is to include some at every meal and snack. For example, a cup of blueberries at breakfast and an orange as a pm snack (paired with a serving of protein and fat so that the fructose doesn’t spike the blood sugar). And when you have a salad at lunch (at least 1.5 cups) and two different veggies (another 1.5 cup) with dinner (let immune boosting cruciferous vegetables be one of them – cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage Brussels sprouts etc), you will have met your daily goal.
If you sign up for my Winter Detox program, you’ll crush this goal every day for 10 days! Not only that, you’ll learn about lots of easy, creative and tasty ways to prepare veggies which will have you humming in plant strong mode for months to come.
3. GET MORE RESTFUL SLEEP – track daily
Sleep (or more specifically, lack of it) is often the underlying cause of many of our health issues, including stress and anxiety, food cravings, weight gain and low immunity. There are plenty of people who say they can easily get by with 4-6 hours of sleep, but the truth is that is not sustainable and it will eventually hurt your health. A minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep is the golden standard. Start by assessing your sleep hygiene. Turn off electronic devices – phones, television, e-readers 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Keep the TV out of the bedroom. Turn your thermostat down – 68 degrees or below creates the ideal sleeping environment. Get dark curtains if your room is too bright. Diffuse calming essential oils such as lavender, vetiver or doTERRA Serenity blend.
4. PLAN AHEAD – track weekly
I talk about meal planning a lot, because like most working moms I have a lot going on and little time to plan and execute meals. An easy way to plan meals is to pick your 10 family favorites – you know the ones where your kids are begging for more – even ask your kids and spouse to pick their 2 favorite meals and add it to the list (no they can’t all pick burgers and hot dogs – you set the criteria for a healthy balanced meal). In an effort to keep things fresh and not get stuck in a rut, I recommend preparing at least one new healthy recipe each week.
Add these meals to an app on your phone like ‘Plan to Eat’ or emeals and schedule your meals in the car while you wait in the pick-up line or while at practice. Take it a step further and create a shopping list and send to your local supermarket, amazon fresh or Instacart and have your groceries delivered or pick them up!
Meal prepping can really be a great way to save time. Cut all your veggies, meats ahead of time to and make “meal” packages with glass containers that you can pull out and easily make in the evenings. Or use a crockpot, an Instantpot or your oven to make meals while away. Incorporate the entire family on a Sunday afternoon to encourage good eating habits and family time.
5. HAVE REAL CONNECTIONS – track weekly
Research suggests people with strong social ties live longer than those who don’t. In a technology-fixated era, it’s never been easier to stay in touch with friends and family, but don’t get lost in shallow social media connections at the expense of real face to face connection and conversation.
For family connections, make dinner and car time a screen free zone and ask your family to share their highs and lows for the day around the dinner table or in the car as you drive from one activity to another. Sharing your high and your low for the day opens communication and increased dialogue.
Another healthy habit that is related to having real connections is to keep a gratitude journal. Write down 3 little things you’re thankful for each morning or right before going to bed. I have my kids share one thing each night about what they are thankful for that day. This often gives me an insight into the little things they are thinking about or noticing which in turn creates an opportunity for conversation.
Which of these resolutions are you going to try? please reply to this email and share your 2018 wellness goals or intentions. I would love to hear about them.
Remember, whatever you choose to focus on, track your progress using a simple habit tracker. And don’t forget to celebrate your progress along the way.
Here’s to a very healthy and happy 2018!