Over the holidays, my family and I hold our full tummies and moan things like, “When January hits, you better believe that we’re not going to eat like this anymore.” The guilt about eating an extra serving of pie or an additional glass of wine is tempered by the impending doom of a January that will no doubt turn us back (?) into the lean fighting machines we were sometime before Thanksgiving. In January, we think, we will eat celery, drink only water, and run 5 miles daily to slough off the holiday torpor. We will be perfect. And healthy. And thin.
I love having a good time over the holidays, but this kind of all or nothing thinking leads to a roller coaster of extreme health habits. It also reinforces the idea that health is about how much you weigh, rather than about all the factors that play into a deeper and lasting wellness.
This year, my brother-in-law Dave and I hatched a new kind of health intention for 2013.
Rather than only focusing on weight and diet (the usual defaults after the holidays), we decided to take a broader view of health and wellness and instead encourage small, incremental changes through all areas of our life. Making small changes to your daily habits will do more for your long-term health and well-being than focusing on dropping holiday pounds. Change your habits, change your lifestyle, change your life.
Total Health Month
Rather than setting a poundage goal, widen your health horizons. Consider the following factors (whichever are the most potent for you!) to reassess as you embark on your 2013:
- nutrition – what kinds of food are you nourishing your body with? Do you feel good about what you’re eating?
- portions – how much do you really need, are you really eating because you’re hungry, or is there something else going on?
- when you eat, can you focus entirely on what you’re eating (ie: no more eating at your desk)
- can you limit caffeine and alcohol?
- exercise – is it balanced (a good combo of cardio, strength, and stretching)
- exercise – can you do a little every day?
- making small daily choices to get your body happy (walk up the stairs, take a 5 minute stretch break at work)
- water – are you getting 2 L a day?
- rest – are you sleeping 7-9 hours?
- mind – can you meditate 5 minutes a day?
- can you take a short nature walk every day?
- supplements – how can you support your body every day?
- do you floss daily?
Let yourself slow down and assess how your current lifestyle choices are supporting the person that you want to be. Even choosing five factors to focus on for January will transform your sense of well-being. Create a simple way to track whether you meet your daily goals as a way to be accountable for these small changes. And above all, celebrate your success!