vitamin-b-871135_1920.jpgWhat are you doing this year to better your health? Are you being proactive or sitting back? If you don’t educate yourself on the subject of health, you simply forfeit a good chunk of your life. That isn’t a scare tactic either. Eight out of ten now die of a disease, so we definitely have a giant problem.

You have only one body to live in – make it run good! That takes some dedication and education. With that in mind, here are some common sense steps to safeguard your health this year:

1. Plan your workout. Scheduling time for your workout will make you much more likely to succeed. Try to get in 4-5 workouts (of at least a vigorous 1/2 hour) weekly to keep your body in tune.

2. Eat more produce. You know fruits and vegetables are good for you, so why ignore them?

3. Drink more water. Nature’s cleanser. We’re meant to drink it. Often. Just do it.

4. Eat whole food supplements. While I’m not much of a pill advocate, I do love green powders for their nutritional profile, their ability to alkalize the body and to cleanse the organs. They help to add weight to a solid, nutritious diet.

5. Stretch more. You get stiff for a reason, so regularly stretch out stiff muscles throughout the day. Take 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night to keep your body working optimally and feeling good.

6. Write down your goals. You would be surprised how much more organized you’ll be when you understand WHY better health/fitness matters to you. Knowing the why and the goal will drive you to take action.

7. Stand instead of sitting. Posture is so important and the more you sit, the worse your posture becomes. You also have more energy and burn more calories when you move more, which goes back to little changes adding up over time.

8. Read more on health/fitness or talk with someone who inspires you. Motivation comes from various sources, but most times it must come from outside of ourselves. Experts, or those who have gone through a tough journey can inspire and educate, helping make the journey easier.

9. Eat with purpose. Mindless munching always leads to bad consequences. Make sure you eat for the purpose of health, which means planning your meals and always thinking about the value of the food to your body before you ingest it. It’s not too much work. Anything in life worth having comes with effort. I’m sure good health is a noble goal, so be aware.

10. Start a food journal. This one really makes a difference. Small variations in our eating patters add up big time, so make sure you understand what you had yesterday. If things aren’t going good, go back to a week where you had success. That can only happen when you become aware of the food you ingest to help you make consistent, wise choices on a regular basis.

11. Train your willpower. Like any human ability, we can actually train ourselves to be mentally stronger by using willpower from time to time. Saying “no” to bad choices every now and then can reaffirm your willpower and that you can make healthy decisions. In time, it will become a good habit.

12. Plan, prep, and pack meals. Have a plan for this week’s healthy eating. Do some prep work early in the week to prevent being caught unprepared. If your healthy food isn’t handy, you’ll be making choices based on situations, time, and hunger, which isn’t always the best.

13. Find a alternate food to your usual favourite. Say the one you like isn’t that good for you, find something else through research that’s easy to make and taste’s good. That way you can substitute with a nutritious alternative.

14. Watch food quality and don’t over-consume. We should always strive to eat the best foods (eg. brown rice rather than white rice), as well as not over-consuming when we eat, even of the healthy variety. Just because a food is healthy doesn’t mean it’s necessarily lower in calories. Nuts are such an example.

15. Eat every 2-3 hours. Eating smaller meals, more frequently is one of the best tips I can give you. This methods doesn’t completely fill you up, but it also doesn’t leave you hungry. The good part is that it controls your blood sugar and energy levels through regular meals and snacks.

16. Go to bed earlier, get fresh air and sunshine. Three basics that impact your health in a huge way. Make sure you get enough of each.

17. Establish a weekly reward. Knowing that your actions will lead to a reward of some sort can be very motivating. You end up looking forward to it at the end of the week. Don’t totally lose it though and end up eating an entire pizza. Something small, like a good, dark chocolate bar is a great way to reward your weekly effort and prevents sabotage through cravings.

18. Take it slow. You didn’t put the weight on in a week, so you won’t take it all off in a week. The slow and steady approach is tried, true and proven. Measurable, steady successes are so rewarding, even if only incremental. That means your body is improving and you start feeling better.

There you have it – my list of wise decisions to give you success. Believe me, everything adds up. Make the best of your time and effort to end up with healthy living, not just surviving.