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Mind & Body Wellness

Habit Hacks for A Healthy 2019

I can’t believe 2019 is here already.  The beginning of a year is always such a great time to reassess our lives and what’s important to us.

Usually it’s around this time that we realize we should be spending more of our precious hours with family and friends and taking care of our health. This typically means eating and drinking better or exercising more. But many find the goals they set for the New Year quickly dwindle as the year gets busy and we get back into our same bad habits and routines. To help with that, I’ve put together seven hacks that you can implement today to help guide you through all of 2019.

Living a healthy life is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself.

1. Don’t make New Year’s resolutions According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. Rather than set yourself up for failure with phrases like “This year I’m going to work out more,” commit to daily, weekly and monthly lifestyle changes. For example, “I am going to work out 3 times per week.” Set milestone goals. They are the keys to sustained long term success.

2. Start small – Whatever your big goal is, break it down into small daily tasks you can accomplish easily. Instead of, “I am going to lose weight,” decide to take the stairs. Instead of “I’m going to learn a  language,” buy a CD program and listen to it for 20 minutes a day.

3. Get the hard stuff done first – Most of us try to put off the hard stuff as long as possible. Do them first and get them out of the way. Make exercise your first taskso you don’t have to worry about fitting it in later.

grateful-mother-and-daughter

4. Replace screen time for goal time – Take a true inventory of how much time you are spending in front of a screen – computer, TV, tablet, phone – and reassess your priorities. More screen time means less of everything else time, whether that’s being with the ones you love or spending time taking care of yourself (exercising, making a healthy meal).

5. Celebrate the small stuff – You deserve a win. Change is hard, and so why not celebrate your little wins along the way? Set up a reward system that is not tied to the negative action you are trying to change. If you are trying to lose weight, reward yourself with a massage, a fancy new headband, coffee, or a new shirt, and stay away from food rewards. The one I hear most often is “I’ve worked out a lot. I earned this 2,000-calorie reward.” It doesn’t make sense.  You just made all this progress working out and now you’re going to blow it on some silly food loaded with nothing nutritious.

6. It’s a lifestyle, not a DIET Diets are fads and they usually can’t be sustained for a long time. Find a program that requires a new lifestyle of good health/nutrition/self-care habits. Living a healthy life is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself.

7. Be thankful and grateful – As soon as you wake up in the morning, write down three things that you are thankful for. There is science behind thankfulness and happiness. The more thankful you are, the happier you are, and the happier you are, the likelier you are to accomplish your goals for the day.

I hope these tips help you get focused for the New Year and really put some plans into action that will allow you to reach your 2019 goals.  Good luck!

 

Dr. Liz Cruz is a gastroenterologist, an author, and (most important) a parent of four children. A Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Cruz is widely praised for her all-natural, holistic approach to wellness and for effectively reducing the need for prescription medicine. For more information, click here.

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