Your Health: a New Year Priority

Good health is built from a series of individual choices we make on a daily basis. As we age, good health is something we think about more often, treasure deeply. We invest in our health rather than take it for granted.

Sample Small-Step Suggestions Toward Optimal Health:

  • Remove sweets from your diet, either one at a time or all at once. (Fresh fruits are allowable sweets.)
  • Remove all simple carbohydrates (white foods) from your diet.
  • Eat a rainbow of vegetables and a variety of flavors every day.
  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Reduce animal proteins and increase vegetable proteins.
  • Chew your foods completely.
  • Cook more meals at home. Join the slow food movement.
  • Meditate, pray, or do breath work every day.
  • Begin a yoga regimen.
  • Exercise every day with some aerobic activity and some strength training.

These simple steps may be helpful in encouraging your individual health:

  1. Ask the following question regarding every behavior: DOES THIS CHOICE BENEFIT AND ENHANCE MY HEALTH? If the answer is yes, then increase, refine and duplicate that behavior. If the answer is no, then ask if there is a different option that may enhance your health.
  2. Identify activities that enhance your health and that you enjoy, that you find easy, that occur almost without thinking. Work to add these behaviors at more times during the week. Celebrate them.
  3. Invite friends to participate in these enjoyable activities with you. Behaviors practiced by a community become contagious and are more easily maintained.
  4. Create an affirmation or a collage that reinforces the ultimate outcome and the enjoyment you have along the way. Be sure all affirmations are positive and in the present tense.
  5. Link the affirmation or collage with strong positive feelings. Literally breathe in positive feelings from previous experiences (related to the behavior or not) and link them with the affirmations and images.
  6. Replace non-health-enhancing behaviors with enjoyable healthy behaviors through a series of small subtle steps. Implement one simple step a week. Invite a friend to help you both stay on track.
  7. Remove temptation from your environment; avoid triggers for unhealthy behavior. This is especially important during health behavior change. For example, remove all simple carbohydrates and sweets from the house or turn off the television.
  8. If health change is difficult or if you aren’t comfortable asking your friends for help, consider retaining a health coach.
  9. Change requires time and attention. Recognize the need to devote time to enhance your health. Even 20 minutes a day can make a significant difference.
  10. Recognize that the biggest challenges to health behavior change are stress, anxiety, addiction and depression. Hone your stress management skills and address any mood disorders