By Dr. Schoer
The holidays have come and gone, and with a new year starting (hello 2024!), we all strive to make New Year’s resolutions and stick to them. These resolutions usually involve some type of healthy habit we want to improve on or start incorporating into our busy routines but this can be hard and overwhelming, so, we have briefly curated 5 tips to help you create and maintain your New Year’s resolutions for this upcoming new year!
#1. Make SMART goals.
It is common to make a New Year’s resolution, stick with it for some time, and then stop. A lot of the time we cannot maintain our resolutions because the goals we create are unattainable or irrelevant to us. Try creating SMART goals – this helps to ensure you are creating realistic goals that are attainable and easy to maintain – this will help eliminate that daunting feeling of creating a resolution and struggling to stick with it!
SMART goals are:
- Specific: your goal should be direct, detailed, and meaningful to you.
- Measurable: make sure your goal is quantifiable to track progress or success.
- Attainable: your goal has to be realistic and you must have the tools/resources to attain it.
- Relevant: your goal must be important and meaningful to you.
- Timely: keep yourself accountable; your goal should have a start and end date.
#2. Exercise regularly.
Staying physically fit has been shown to improve cardiovascular and muscular health, as well as help fight disease, reduce stress, and improve your overall mood. It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, plus two days of muscle-strength activities.
This may sound overwhelming, however effective exercise does NOT have to be time-consuming or require lots of equipment. Evidence suggests that incorporating short bursts of exercise into everyday activities – like running up the stairs instead of walking – or including isometric exercises, which involve contracting muscles while holding one position, can make a difference towards improving a person’s overall health. Incorporating isometric exercises like wall sits or seated knee extensions a few times a day for a few minutes can contribute to improving your health!
Motion is medicine! Regular movement during the work day can help reduce aches and pains; it is recommended to get up from your desk 2-3 times per hour to walk around and do light stretching to counter-act the sedentary, hunched position while working at your desk or computer.
#3. Eat right.
Many people over-indulge during the holiday season (me included!) which sparks a plan to start incorporating healthier eating habits into their routine in the new year. A great place to start is following Canada’s Food Guide, which you can access here: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/.
If you’re someone who is curious about healthier eating habits and what you can do in addition to Canada’s Food Guide, take a look at the following tips:
- Eat slower; research shows that eating slowly may help prevent you from overeating and improving chewing which helps digestion.
- Choose whole grains instead of traditional refined grains.
- Add Greek yogurt to your diet; this is a great source of protein and healthy fats.
- Don’t grocery shop without a list; not knowing what exactly you need makes room for impulse buying.
- Eat eggs for breakfast; this is an incredible source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients that many people often don’t get enough of!
- Bake or roast food, rather than grilling or frying.
- Try at least one new, healthy recipe a week!
#4. Build and maintain a healthy immune system.
Although it’s the start of a new year, it is still the season for colds, flus, and other viruses to be transmitting within the community. You can protect yourself and loved ones from these illnesses by avoiding large crowds and gatherings, wearing a mask, social distancing, performing proper hand hygiene and frequent washing, and staying home when you feel sick.
You can also protect yourself and others by building and maintaining a strong immune system. This can be achieved by regular exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep, as well as taking immune-supporting vitamins and supplements such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc which are available for purchase at the clinic! In addition to these vitamins and supplements, the clinic also supplies Orange Naturals Cough + Cold naturopathic tincture, our product of month (15% off!), to help relieve coughs and fight colds and infections with natural echinacea, chamomile, thyme, and licorice extracts.
#5. Get better sleep or more sleep.
Many bodily functions such as immune support, metabolic regulation, and hormonal regulation are associated with sleep regularity – and sleep allows our brains to rest and cleanse – so we need to prioritize sleep! Thus, it is critical to keep a regular sleep schedule and obtain about 8 hours of sleep a night. Easier said than done though! To get a better night’s sleep, try to maintain a consistent wake-up time (even on the weekends), be mindful of your caffeine intake, or try reallocating tasks you are doing late at night to the morning. For more tips on better sleep habits, check out the clinic’s “health focus” article from December 2023 on improving your winter slumber!