It’s a cliche that everyone resolves to lose weight during the new year, but the truth is that most people will break their resolutions before January ends. It’s possible you’ve already broken yours.
But don’t despair. You don’t need a resolution to be healthier this year, and even people with broken resolutions can get back on track with minor, easy lifestyle changes.
The first step to being healthier is to have a healthier attitude. Believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish the things you desire. You are in control of your life and can make a difference. Thinking positive thoughts and being grateful have been shown scientifically to boost your immune system. Even if you do nothing else, just changing your mind will make you healthier, but your odds of accomplishing other goals improves with positive thoughts.
Eat Some Vegetables
Eating vegetables can reduce your risk of everything from heart disease to cancer. It can also help you lose weight. All it takes is adding a few servings of vegetables a day, which is easy to do. Bring carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes with you for lunch or for a snack. Have a lettuce wrap instead of a burrito. Try a chicken salad instead of a chicken sandwich.
Don’t think you like vegetables? Maybe you haven’t tried the right ones, or haven’t tried them the right way. You may hate spinach, but have you tried kale, which has many of the same health benefits? Stir frying is a great way to add vegetables to your diet and add flavor to your vegetables.
A Little Exercise Every Day
When most people think about getting exercise, they think about joining a gym, jogging, weights, or something like that. They don’t think about some of the little things that can make a big difference. All it takes is 10 minutes a day to make a significant impact on your health. So try parking further from your office, taking the bus or train instead of driving to work (which, by the way, can give you more time to read–never a bad thing!), or using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Brush and Floss More–and Get to the Dentist
Did you know that gum disease has been linked to poor cardiovascular health? It’s also been shown to have links to type II diabetes, premature birth, and low birth weight. We’re not sure how strong the cause is, but for most people, it’s an easy fix. Although gum disease may be genetic to some extent, it’s also correlated with your oral hygiene. So make sure you are brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and seeing your dentist twice a year.
Sleep Your Way to the Top
Sleep is crucial to your body’s ability to heal, your brain’s ability to remove damaging toxins, and even your ability to overcome fear and embrace success. If sleep isn’t very high your priority list, maybe it’s time to bump it up and make sure you’re getting enough sleep on a daily basis. If you’re sleeping enough, but are still waking up tired, there could be a problem, and you should consider talking to your doctor about sleep apnea.
Just the Beginning
Another important thing to remember about getting healthy is that it’s a continual process, not something you can achieve and then forget. Better yet, you’ll likely enjoy the results so much you’ll be even more motivated to make more positive changes. Once you’ve implemented these small changes, consider others, like quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, or cutting down your soda intake.
There’s nothing to stop you once you decide you want to be healthy.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Dr. Matthew B. Candelaria (PhD, U of Kansas 2006) is a freelance writer and by no means a health nut. But he has seen the benefits of even small changes for the health of himself and his family and wishes to spread the word about the big effects of small changes.
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