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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 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, and my motivation has 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 exact New Year’s resolution. They want to lose weight and lead healthier lives. It 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 incorporate healthy habits into our everyday lives realistically.

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 own Health Hero by making our health a top priority all year round, 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 workday. Run around and play with your kids! Ride a bike instead of driving (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 (now and then, just take a bite!). And remember to stop eating once you’re feeling about 2/3 full. It 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. Perhaps it’s a goal list. Just write down things that you would enjoy doing (and accomplishing) over the year, and prioritize them. It works wonders for your body and spirit.

Get Zen

Your spirituality plays a significant 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 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 about permanent change. Let this very moment be the first in your journey towards a healthier and happier life. No gym membership is required.

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