Many of us are liklely unwinding from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. After indulging from the great holiday treats, healthy living is probably top of your mind and some of us may have made it a New Year’s resolution.
I must admit, I’ve not ever been a fan of New Year’s resolution. The reason? Because by the time March rolls around, most of us have long forgotten what the resolution was and have gone back to our natural habits. Most of us know that trite statement about bad habits – they are indeed hard to break. As a matter of fact, neuroscientists claim that it’s much easier to form a new habit than to stop an old one, especially without a new behaviour to replace it. It can take up to two months and more to change a habit or adopt a new one. If you’re truly motivated and stick with it, the new behaviour will become common nature. This also applies to adopting healthy living behaviours.
Instead of setting New Year’s resolution, take a moment, and set your new year’s goals. Goals are more likely to turn into regular habit. You’re probably wondering why. Because they tend to be more specific, action oriented, meaningful, and measurable. This makes them easier to achieve. I always encourage people to start small and build on those goals.
For example, if your goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, start by making small changes this holiday season. A few goals:
- Cook more, eat out less. If you do eat out from time to time, make healthier delicious choices.
When cooking and baking over the holidays, use healthier ingredients- I make my cookies and fruit cake with whole wheat flour and less brown sugar (I won’t talk about the rum and other alcohol in the cake – however, everything in moderation).
- Include less red meat in your holiday meals – more turkey, fish and legumes.
Over the holidays, try eating red meat only once a week (that is, if you’ve been eating it more often), then skip a week without eating it. I’ve not ever been much of a red meat eater, I’m more of a chicken lover. However, after slowly removing chicken from my diet and replacing it with fish and legumes dishes (e.g. in curry, etc.), I can now go months without eating chicken. Hard to believe. Lentil curry is absolutely delicious. Try it as part of your holiday spread.
- Treat yourself to a massage; maybe a facial (at home facials can also be oh so relaxing).
- Try daily meditation – start with one day a week, for fifteen minutes – where you sit quietly, no phones, no TV or music – total silence…relax, clear your mind and just breathe…You will love it. I’ve always found complete silence to be calming, especially after a long day. Work your way up to two days a week, then three, whatever works best for you. Most of us need a bit quiet time to deal with all the busyness over the holidays. Healthy mind, healthy body. It’s all about holistic health.
Start practicing some of these. The next thing you know, it’s April-May and you’ve formed a healthy, lasting habit.
As we head into the New Year, make healthy living goals that set you up for long-term success, year-round.
Wishing you and yours many successes over the year ahead and beyond.
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