Jan 13, 2021
January is the time of year when many of us set intentions to improve our health and fitness. Leveraging the power of your mind can help you attain your goals much faster.
Imagine what it feels like living with less stress, having more energy and feeling happy. These thoughts will help you stick with your new routine better than having negative thoughts, which can make it feel like a chore to make changes that improve your well-being.
Writing down your goals and the steps you will take to get there has been shown to be more powerful than simply thinking about them. You also might try enlisting an accountability partner, so you can keep each other on track.
Avoid comparing your results or goals with anyone else. Everyone is different, and if you feel like you must compete, remember you are really only in competition with yourself. Rather than aiming to lose a certain number of pounds, try focusing on the health benefits of your actions and the pounds will come off as a result.
Chances are you will be able to enjoy some quick success simply by making healthy food choices. Eliminate processed foods from your diet and replace them with fresh, whole foods. It is wise to shop around the outside of the grocery store and limit the time you spend in the aisles.
Be aware of how much sugar is in your food. There is hidden sugar in many healthy-sounding foods such as “sweetened yogurt.” Low fat snacks and energy bars are another source of hidden sugar.
Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drinking enough water will help you feel less hungry during the day while helping your body operate efficiently. Even mild dehydration can cause decreased brain function. Notice how your houseplants look when you forget to water them.
As humans, we are meant to move. Activity helps you strengthen your muscles, and improve balance and coordination. Walking 30-40 minutes a day three to five times per week helps prevent cognitive decline. Keeping your heart rate up improves your cardiorespiratory endurance and helps create a healthier heart. Exercise that you enjoy is also a great stress reliever!
Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for all ages. Being still and resting rejuvenates your body and mind. Rest also regulates your mood and is linked to improved learning and memory function. On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.
A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. Poor sleep is linked to weight gain. If one of your intentions is to lose weight, poor sleep hygiene is not helping. Restful sleep can improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory. However, poor sleep has been shown to have a negative effect on brain function.
Whatever your intentions are for the New Year, it is important to be kind to yourself. None of us are perfect and follow our plan 100% of the time. When you fall off the wagon, just acknowledge it without judgement, and pick up where you left off.
Practicing self-compassion can promote positive thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This enhances your mental well-being, so you can truly enjoy your life!
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