January, a month filled with credit card bills, overstuffed bellies and new resolutions for the future. It can be difficult finding a New Years resolution that you can stick with for 12 months, or even better, for life. In a fast paced world where we set high expectations for ourselves there are so many things to choose from; working out, eating healthy, spending time with family, training pets, being a good friend, gardening and supporting the community. That’s just a short list of things that come to mind for my life. Living a healthy life is about balance to our mind, body and spirit so diet shouldn’t be our only focus. This year I’m planning to “stress less about the small things” and “spend more time with my husband” but that’s not why I’m posting. I wanted to share my resolution from last year for you to try.
A report done by the Produce for Better Health showed only 6% of Americans consume the recommended vegetable intake in an average day and 8% of the recommended fruit intake. These shockingly awful numbers inspired my resolution for last year and I’m proud to say I’m still doing it. My goal was to eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and I highly recommend you try it as well. Most days it comes easy especially in the summer when I’m overloaded with fresh produce from my garden and crop share. There are still challenges like the days when I’m on the road, in the mood for comfort food, at a tailgate or lacking groceries when consuming fruits and vegetables becomes difficult and choosing to seek out these plant products has to be a priority. If this sounds like too steep of a challenge start with 3 servings a day and work your way up to 5 servings/day (or more) as the year progresses.
Maybe my suggestion above is not for you then I strongly encourage you to follow these steps to set a focus that will ensure a healthier life.
- First, think about your life as a whole. What areas are you satisfied with and what can you work on. Maybe you’re weight isn’t an issue but your stress management is or you are successful at work but not as good of a friend as you want to be.
- Next, Set a realistic goal. If you want to lose weight don’t say “I’ll give up chocolate.” Instead say focus on what you can do to get there; I’ll go to the gym 3 days a week. If you already go 3 days a week then up the ante and be more specific. I’ll go to the gym 5 days a week and lift weights at least twice a week.
- Write it down! I remember my dad reading me a study done by Harvard back when I was in high school that confirmed graduates who wrote down goals with time frames to achieve them were more likely to reach them and had higher salaries than classmates who didn’t.
- Have a game plan for how you’ll reach your goal and enlist support from friends and family. For my goal my husband and I picked a day of the week for the two of us and I let him know I was trying not to sweat the small stuff (that way he can remind me if I get back into my old ways of stressing over small things).
- Lastly, Give it time. Lifestyle changes don’t become habits overnight.