It’s that time again. A new year has begun. It’s an opportunity for new beginnings and clean slates. But let’s face it. It’s also a time of making promises to ourselves that we don’t keep. It usually goes something like this:

January: I’m fired up! I have a plan, and I’m going to stick to it this time! This is the year I’m going to make it happen!

February: Wow. Changing my habits isn’t a quick fix. It takes time and commitment. My motivation has pretty much fizzled out. Maybe next year.

December: The new year is almost here! Time to make resolutions!

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I want to help you break the cycle.

Most of my patients have the same New Year’s resolution. They want to lose weight and lead healthier lives. This is a goal I can get behind. But most people fail because they think making it happen requires an expensive gym membership, rigorous exercise and an insanely restrictive diet plan. No wonder they give up.

We need to realistically incorporate healthy habits into our everyday lives.

It’s so much easier than you think. We can sustain a healthier lifestyle. We can permanently change our habits without flipping our lives upside down (or spending all of our money on that gym membership). We can each be our very own #HealthHero by making our health a top priority all year round … and not just for the first few days of the new year. Here’s how we do it.

Get Moving.

People who move within their environment live longer and have a lower risk of heart disease. Move with purpose throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Schedule walk breaks into your work day. Run around and play with your kids! Ride a bike instead of driving when you can (to run a close errand, go to a friend’s house, etc.). If you’re a senior (or just like the idea!), walk around your local mall to get your blood flowing. Get creative if you need to. Just move as much as you can.

Eat Smart.

Focus on eating a balanced diet of unprocessed foods. Make healthy choices, but don’t be too hard on yourself (every now and then … just take a bite!). And remember to stop eating once you’re feeling about 2/3 full. This gives your brain time to register that you’ve eaten enough.

Find Purpose.

Create a list of the things that make you happy. Maybe it’s a bucket list. Maybe it’s a goal list. Just write down things that you would enjoy doing (and accomplishing) over the course of the year, and make them a priority. This works wonders for your body and spirit.

Get Zen.

Your spirituality plays a big role in maintaining good health. Try meditating to calm your mind and focus on the positive. Even taking a 1-minute pause during your day to reflect and breathe deeply makes a difference!

Stay Connected.

Never underestimate the power of community. Your tribe infuses your life with health and wellness (and actually helps you live longer!). Keep them close, and find ways to have fun together. Say yes to new experiences and try new things. Adventure is great for your health!

Don’t get stuck in a wash, rinse, repeat cycle. Scrap the unrealistic yearly promises and think permanent change. Let this very moment be the first in your journey towards a healthier and happier life. No gym membership required.

The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.

Dr. Nandi

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New Year’s Resolutions That You Can Keep