Do you use the New Year as an annual health seminar with yourself? Each year do you find yourself creating resolutions and brainstorming all the ways you want to better yourself in the coming year. These might include exercising daily, losing weight, dining out less, reading more high-brow literature or simply drinking more water. The idea of a new and improved you is exciting, but you probably seldom make it past week two. According to Forbes, Only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
Creating wellness goals is a great way to make meaningful changes beyond just losing weight or exercising more — they can also help improve your mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. By setting wellness goals, you can make 2022 one of the healthiest and happiest years yet.
Wellness is defined as an active pursuit that involves maintaining awareness of the ever-changing factors affecting your health and making choices that lead toward optimal well-being. There are many simple, wellness-oriented activities that you can do daily and weekly to jump start your 2022 New Year and beyond.
Add more seasonal fruits and vegetables
Consuming a variety of colored fruits and vegetables form a part of a Paleo lifestyle, promoting longevity, disease prevention and overall wellness. Eating seasonally has many benefits. Find out what’s in season in your area each month and fill your plate.
Perhaps add one seasonal vegetable each week. Better yet, make it a family affair. Start with the alphabet: week one, A is for asparagus. Eat them raw, sautéed, baked, grilled. Week two, B is for brussel sprouts. Eat them sautéed, baked with balsamic glaze or peeled into a slaw or hash.
For more on what’s in season in your area – read here or grab a copy of Chef Pete’s book Paleo By Season and learn to cook like a chef, seasonally!
Keep healthy foods near you
When healthy food is near, it’s easy to forgo the salty and sweet cravings. you could make some simple meals on weekends and freeze them to have easy dinners ready to go. Use a meal planning app and shopping list to keep your fridge and pantry stocked. Keep dehydrated fruit, seeds and Paleo friendly meat bars in your car or gym bag.
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Drink more water
When the body is dehydrated, it doesn’t run efficiently. Drinking water has plenty of benefits including increasing energy, flushing out toxins, improving skin complexion and boosting immunity, to name a few. It sounds simple, but it can be difficult for people who have a hard time remembering to drink enough throughout the day.
To improve this habit, start with a big glass of water first thing in the morning. You can also try carrying a bottle with you and sipping on it throughout the day. If you don’t like plain water, try infusing it or drinking herbal tea.
And make sure it’s water. Soda, coffee, tea, and sweetened drinks (even those made with Paleo ingredients) give you tons of sugar and other additives that could derail those wellness goals you have. Stick with water!
Experiment with spices
Spices add flavor and variety to your cooking repertoire. There are many health benefits in using spices such as cinnamon, turmeric and garlic while cooking. Studies show that antioxidants in many of these have been linked to lower inflammation, which is often linked to toxic diseases.
Intermittent fasting involves cutting your food intake to a certain time frame and then fasting for the remaining part of the day. Many people use the 16/8 method, which means that you eat only during eight hours of the day and fast for sixteen hours, part of which is overnight.
Intermittent fasting has many health benefits, including weight loss and increased energy. Find out more in our Intermittent Fasting guide
Be active daily
Aim for 30 minutes of activity daily. Break it up throughout the day: 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes afterwards and 10 minutes home with the kids. There are many benefits to daily movement and getting outdoors if possible – read on here for more details.
Find a workout buddy
Setting goals together can make fitness fun. Power walks can be social and provide support so that you stick to your goals. If your best friends live far away, make phone dates to walk together. Check out virtual fitness classes and do them with a friend across the country.
Aim for new measurable goals monthly
Think short-term; create a new goal every month. Think homemade lunches five days a week or don’t eat packaged snacks for a month. Maybe you want to give up sugar (yes, even the Paleo types) or alcohol. It doesn’t seem like such a life overhaul if you add or eliminate a certain food for just 30 days. An added bonus is that if you get in the rhythm of it, you might continue. Or if not, you know you will start a new goal the next month.
Replace personal care products
Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to learn more about toxic chemicals in skin care products.
The key is to find products with few non-toxic ingredients. This is one of our favorite clean brands, made with safer ingredients. There also are many recipes and ideas available online to make your own if you are so inclined.
Rethink household cleaners
Substitute vinegar and water to clean countertops and baking soda to cut grease rather than strong, toxic cleaners. Or look for cleansers filled with more natural ingredients. Read here for more on kitchen chemicals to avoid. A tip we love is using lemons as a sponge – they smell nice and are easy on the hands when scrubbing.
Sleep can improve learning, improve mood and improve memory. Sleep deprivation can cause problems with attention span, problem solving skills and the ability to memorize information. Sleep is also important for our physical health. It can improve recovery after a workout, keep blood pressure lower and improve glucose control.
If you are an adult aged 18 to 64, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re finding it difficult to improve your sleep, try setting a bedtime and sticking with it. Make sure the room is dark before going to bed, turn off screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime and avoid caffeine after noon.
We have more tips to improve your sleep in this post.
Meditate for 10 minutes early morning
There are multiple online resources and apps for guided imagery or other meditation resources. A favorite is always Headspace, which has animated explanations and the simple steps. Insight Timer and Calm are other great apps to experiment with. If you only have a few minutes, check these out and sample to find which one will fit best in your life.
If you can’t see yourself meditating, listen to the Deepak Chopra Pandora station while walking outdoors. It’s calming and a great de-stressor.
Be your own positive inspiration
The mind is a powerful tool and sometimes gets stuck thinking about negative thoughts that can bring you down. In an effort to be your own cheerleader, find some mantras to use (and say to yourself) when you’re feeling low. “Be a warrior, not a worrier,” “Be in love with your life,” and “Don’t ruin a good day today by thinking about a bad day yesterday” are a few that might resonate.
Practice self-care regularly
Self-care can improve your mood, improve your immune system, improve sleep quality and duration, improve your mental health symptoms, and especially reduce stress levels.
Some practices you might want to include in your self-care routine include journaling/art therapy, spending time with friends and family, reading for fun (not related to your work), taking a bath to relax, playing music, or even laughing. It can be as simple as giving yourself a few minutes a day to recharge. Create a space in your home or office where you find calm and simply be as opposed to ‘doing’ something. Choose one or all of these practices, depending on what suits you best!
Working on your wellness in 2022 is a big goal and should be taken seriously. But when you break it into smaller pieces, it becomes more manageable. It might take some time to see and feel the kind of improvements you are hoping for – so stick with it! Small steps do create big change.