Sensible Tips for Getting and Staying Healthy in the New Year

Yeah, no this isn’t a New Year’s resolution post.  It’s simply a post about how to improve your health that can be applied at any time.  I’m just simply writing about getting healthy on January third.  That, in no way, associates this post with the new year…just go with it, OK?

So why get healthier?  Oh, I don’t know, maybe to live longer, fend off obesity related diseases, feel better, have more energy, spend more time with friends and family, enjoy life more, or gain super powers like being able to run a 5K, bike 20 miles or hike to the highest point in your state.

Interested? If so, then here are some specific things to keep in mind as you begin your healthier 2018:

Be sensible – As the title suggests.  Don’t go frickin’ crazy and suddenly declare this is the year you run your first ultra-marathon or lose 100 pounds or get on American Ninja Warrior.  For if you do set frickin’ crazy goals you’re just setting yourself up for failure…and then depression…and then binge eating…and then you’ve just done the opposite of what you set out to do.

Establish reasonable and sensible goals – As Socrates was found of saying, “Know thy self,” although I think he said it in Greek.  Look in the mirror.  You know that person looking back at you better than anyone.  That being the case, set a challenging, yet achievable goal that you are more likely to achieve rather than not.

Set specific goals – rather than general ones.  For example: lose 20 pounds rather than lose weight; run an entire 10K rather than start running; eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day rather than eat better; be physically active for one hour each day rather than exercise more.  Notice anything about the specific goals listed above?  They are all quantifiable.  They all have numbers associated with them that can be monitored and if you achieve them in July then set new ones.

Start slow – You have an entire year after all.  Don’t suddenly start fasting in an attempt to lose weight.  Don’t spend three hours in the gym on day one.  Don’t cut out sugar cold turkey.  Don’t go vegan on a whim.  Do gradually cut out junk food.  Do go to the gym for 30 minutes or so for two weeks or so to start.  Do track your sugar intake and then slowly cut it back without entirely eliminating it.  Do stop eating red meat for a week and see how it goes.

Be consistent – Come hell or high water, keep chasing your goal.  If you plan on exercising an hour each day, then, like Nike says, just damn well do it.  Yes, I know life intrudes on goal attainment, but if you’re sporadic in your efforts, failure soon will follow (Hell, now I sound like Confucius).

Go public – Shout your specific goal from the rooftops.  Tell anyone that will listen what your goal is and then tell them again.  Request that they ask you how close you are to your goal on a regular basis.  It’s amazing how sharing your goal with others serves as motivation.

Get help – In the form of others who have a similar goal and use them to help you achieve that goal.  Use them to get your lazy ass out of bed and/or out of the house.  Use them to slap that Snickers bar out of your hand.  Use them to forcefully tell you to back away from that massive piece of cake.  Use them to lace up your jogging shoes.  Use them to make you feel guilty if you backslide.  Use them to give you healthy recipes.  And finally, use them to cheer you on when you hit a significant milestone.

There you have it.  Your blueprint for a healthier 2018.  I’m not saying that if you follow all seven you’re guaranteed success, but it will sure increase your chances.  Happy New Year, good luck and stay strong!

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