The start of a new year provides the opportunity for change and setting new goals. The most common resolutions made on January 1st are losing weight, eating...
Whether you made goals for 2013 or not, the fact is that most people can use motivation to stay on track with developing a healthy lifestyle. Below are my 12 tips for staying inspired and eating well for this New Year.
1. Develop motivating principles. You need to make a foundation that is meaningful to you, that you can anchor positive and effective changes on to. Think about why you want to make these changes. Here are some examples:
• I want to eat and think better so I can be an active grandparent to my grandchildren.
• I want to be a positive role model for my family.
• I am ready to have the good health that I know I deserve, and eating well is something I am in charge of to get good health.
2. Make a plan. For example, if you would like a better attitude, plan for it – plan set times in the day when you check-in with what you’re thinking – since what you think guides your habits and actions. If you want to eat better, get a healthy eating plan (see points below) that suits your work and exercise components of your lifestyle.
3. Make a commitment. If you can commit 100% to something, it will get done. Just like when you take on a job, you commit to arriving on time, and doing your best work for your employer, that’s what you are paid to do. Now, in your 2013 personal health plan, commit 100% to making the changes and necessary effort – the benefits are all yours. Remember the words of Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager, “When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”
4. Visualize your success. Use your mind to actually see your results, and feel the success. Do this as a mental exercise at times when your mind is usually free, such as at bedtime, or on the bus, or before you leave your driveway or as you go up the elevator to work or home.
5. Start with a cleanse. This is a good place to start once your plan is in place. It’s like clearing your desk before you start a new project. Thousands of different toxic elements get stuck inside our bodies, and can affect any part of the body: your metabolism, your ability to lose weight, your mind, headaches, skin, digestion, etc. As a naturopathic doctor, I often recommend starting with a gentle 2-3 day intestinal cleanse to try and clear the organ that handles both your valuable nutrition coming into your body, and the waste coming out – doing an intestinal cleanse helps reset your body for better overall function. It can be as simple as eating lightly such as soups, vegetables, and intestinal-supportive foods and herbs such as okra, flaxseed, kimchi/sauerkraut, prunes, and burdock.
6. Make healthy eating goals. Here are five examples: 1) eat three balanced meals a day, 2) eat five servings of vegetables and fruit each day, 3) eat at the same times each day, 4) chew your food well, 5) sit down and eat your meals without distraction (so avoid eating and working at your desk at the same time or sitting in front of the television). Once you’ve made your goals, stick to them, remember 100% commitment.
7. Deal with problems as opportunities. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a major proponent of positive thinking, writes; whenever God wants to give us a gift, he wraps it up in a problem. If we can adjust the thoughts of how we perceive our challenges, and then work towards solutions to the problems, by the end, the results are often very satisfying, and even inspiring.
8. If you slip up, re-focus. We’re human, we make mistakes, or sometimes take the wrong turn or make the wrong decisions. When this happens, acknowledge it, review your principles, re-commit and re-focus. Think of it like a pit-stop for a race car – it’s quick and then you get back on the track.
9. Identify and avoid triggers that lead to ineffective habits. If your ineffective habit is over-eating, then avoid buffets; make and bring your lunch; use smaller plates (red plates are best); serve your portions from the pot, avoiding dipping in for seconds from serving dishes on the table. If you’re prone to the effects of stress, such as getting angry easily, then determine, examine and address the internal/external triggers that people usually magnify in their minds before they act out with anger, frustration, or anxiety.
10. Make a record of your progress. A simple chart will do, for example, recording the number of servings of fruit and vegetables you ate each day, or make note of the challenges that you overcame, or times when you thought more positively and how that affected you and your relationships.
11. Find a role model and ask for help. Being accountable to somebody helps you to get inspired and to continue the change you are making. It could be a friend, a co-worker, or a professional. Don’t be afraid to get support – from a counsellor, a naturopath, a nutritionist, etc. – they’re trained and experienced in helping you along your journey.
12. Review and modify. On a monthly basis, review your progress. If something is not working, change it up.
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