Start the New Year without the Resolution Mindset

In the season of parties and baking, it is easy to become detached from your health goals and to react to the many stressors – family, finances, time – by making less healthy food choices, drinking too much and sleeping too little. Then, as the holidays draw to a close, there is a compulsion to react to one’s own relaxed behaviour by restricting, making unrealistic “resolutions” and wanting to wave a magic wand to be one’s “best self.” Avoid this tendency; it is rare that a person can maintain dramatic lifestyle changes over a short period of time, and the usual response by self is to feel a lack of confidence and hope as real life interferes with these goals. Before you do anything to attain the “new you”, follow these few tips:
1. Set up a consistent routine. As much as possible, go to bed and get up at the same time, eat meals at regular times, and avoid disruption by extra entertaining and holiday events, or by regular life as the holidays end and work life resumes. Establishing routines is important when you are making lifestyle changes; routine will make change easier by making the change a habit.
2. Get enough sleep. This is the key to energy, a happy outlook and a healthy immune system. Put focus on protecting bedtime from excess screen time, intense discussions and last-minute chores. Adequate rest is essential for setting and reaching health and other goals.
3. Schedule regular exercise. Like sleep, physical activity is essential for a positive mindset, energy and stamina. It will also help you sleep more deeply, if not done too close to bedtime.
4. Take time for yourself. Plan to have a bit of quiet time every day, whether for meditating, going for a walk, or just sitting quietly listening to music or reading (not watching TV or reading your FB posts). This time allows you to refresh your mind, gives you opportunity for creative planning, and helps you to defray the effects of stress.
Once you have worked on these four protective practices, then it’s perhaps the time to consider one change you want to make in 2019 to improve your health. Happy New Year!