It’s number one on our minds, and for good reason. Many of us feel there’s room for improvement when it comes to various aspects of our health. At the start of the new year, being healthier is always the universal number one resolution. Here are tips for making 2023 the year we focus on our well-being.
1. Have a plan and be accountable. You can’t follow a plan you don’t have in the first place, so write it down if necessary. Commit it to memory. Your plan should include at least one goal and action item for each area of wellness: physical, psychological, mental, and spiritual. It’s important to include a tangible action item – what you will do to reach your goal. For instance, if you want to become more fit this year, create action items that cover exactly how you will achieve that. Ask yourself how many times a week you will work out. Of those times, how many will involve strength and toning, and how many will involve cardio? How will you work fitness into your day-to-day life? Will you park farther away from the store, take the stairs more, take a walk every day? As the saying goes, you have to plan the work and then work the plan.
2. Gather resources that will support your journey. Make sure those resources are accessible and visible as a reminder of your goals. Let’s say you’d like to read the Bible from start to finish this year. In order to do that, you must have easy and visible access to your Bible so you don’t get so busy with life that you forget about your goal. Decide the best time to reserve for Bible-reading, then decide the best place with the fewest distractions. You might choose to read and reflect just before going to sleep, in which case your Bible should be on your nightstand. If it’s mental health you’re after, make finding a professional your top-of-list priority of the year. Take that first step toward pursuing better mental health, commit to your appointments, and make the best use of your time while you’re there.
3. Spend time outdoors. We are blessed to live in Houston where it’s never so cold we can’t be outside. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), being outside contributes to more than we may realize. “There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human wellbeing,” says Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who studies connectedness to nature. “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature. And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.”
4. If you are overweight, consult a dietician. With just one step on a special scale, you can discover not only your weight, but your Body Mass Index, percentage of body fat and lean muscle, and percentage of water weight. Your dietitian will explain the results to you and create a customized meal plan, along with corresponding recipes and grocery lists, that will help you get back on track. Regular visits and weigh-ins will provide opportunities to discuss your problem areas and weaknesses and to celebrate your successes as you convert fat to muscle and lose inches off your waistline. Good health is priceless, so it’s worth the investment to be healthier, able to be more active, and add years to your life.
5. Get consistent sleep. Did you know that lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy food cravings and higher chances of obesity; an increased risk of dementia, irritability and depression; lowering of immunity, leaving you more susceptible to viruses, cold, and flu; and increased risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes? We’re not just catching zzz’s. We’re resting and rebuilding our bodies and girding ourselves for all life throws at us. Without that time to rejuvenate, we are sitting ducks. To sleep better at night, stay away from electronics just before going to bed, avoid caffeine beginning in late afternoon, and avoid alcohol. Try to establish a routine in which you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time in the morning. Train your body to know that it’s time to sleep.
Making just one of the changes above will have a significant impact on your life. Wouldn’t it be great to look back at 2023 with pride, knowing you accomplished what you set out to do?