New Year’s Habits – Week 1

2016

Happy New Year! 2015 was an exciting year to say the least, but I know God has amazing plans for 2016! The best is yet to come.

Who else is excited for 21 days of healthy habits?! As mentioned in my previous blog post, New Year’s Resolutions tend to be a bit extreme and unsuccessful. Creating habits, however, leads to consistency. Consistency leads to results. Small steps turn into miles. First, you have to focus on making healthy habits. Before you know it, you’ll be living a healthy lifestyle!

I challenge you to focus on one healthy habit a day for the next 21 days. Here is your first week!

January 1. Drink 8 glasses of water.

According to webmd, there are six main reasons our body requires an adequate intake of water.

  1. Drinking water helps maintain the balance of bodily fluids. Our bodies are made up of 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature.
  2. Water can help control calories. Substituting water for higher calorie beverages can cut the amount of calories consumed. Drinking water before eating fills you up so that you end up eating less.
  3. Water helps energize muscles. When muscle cells do not have adequate fluid, they easily fatigue.
  4. Water keeps skin looking good. Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration.
  5. Water helps your kidneys. When you’re drinking enough water, urine is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough water, urine concentration, color and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.
  6. Water helps maintain normal bowel function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation

Drinking 8 glasses of water may seem like a lot… because it is! Make it convenient. Keep a water bottle with you at all times- put it in your bag, your car and at your desk. Seeing it will remind you to drink it!

You may find that you’ll lose track of how many cups you’re drinking. It probably won’t surprise you, but yep, there’s an app for this! Daily Water helps track the number of glasses you drink and you can use it to set reminders.

Bonus tip- if you drink 5 glasses of water throughout the day and drink the last 3 before you go to bed… be prepared to wake up in the middle of the night! Been there, done that.

January 2. Eat the daily recommended amount of vegetables.

2-3 cups is the recommended amount of vegetables to eat daily. Get those vegetables in today! Make a green smoothie, snack on some raw vegetables and have a salad with a meal.

January 3. Strengthen your core. 

Core exercises may not give you the six pack you want for summer, but strengthening these deep abdominal muscles stabilize your muscles during everyday tasks. A strong core also prevents back pain and helps maintain good posture throughout the day.

Spend 5 minutes today working on your core. XHIT videos are my favorite, so if you don’t know where to start, give this workout a try!

January 4. Write 3 healthy lifestyle goals and share them with a friend (or with me!).

Identify 3 specific lifestyle goals you want to achieve in 2016. Once you’ve identified them, write them down, think about how you can achieve them, and share with a friend. Or even better, encourage a friend to do the same. Social support makes achieving a goal easier and more fun!

January 5. Make a workout playlist.

Having an upbeat playlist for your workouts makes the time fly! When my computer crashed a couple years ago, I lost my entire music library. If you’re fortunate enough to have a good selection of music to chose from, make a fun and energetic playlist for your next workout. I use Spotify and browse “workout playlists,” then pick one that fits my mood for the day. Sometimes I want throwback music, other days I want Justin Bieber. Spotify has them all.

If you’re looking for a fun way to mix up your cardio workout, try this interval workout! Jog (or walk) during the song’s verses and pick up your speed during the chorus. You won’t be focused on the time, you’ll just be getting into the music!

January 6. Eat Breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Having a good, nutritious breakfast has been proved to reduce hunger throughout the day and help people make better food choices at other meals. It also provides you with the energy and nutrients you need to stay focused throughout your work day.

If you’re always running late in the morning, prep smoothie bags or overnight oats ahead of time. On days with more time, make scrambled eggs (and top with salsa, mmm my fav!), whole grain toast with avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice and feta, or plain greek yogurt with fruit and granola.

January 7. Maintain good posture throughout the day.

When we sit 8+ hours looking at a computer screen all day, it’s no wonder that we have bad posture and strained necks. Make a conscious effort today to sit up straight at work. Get up every hour to go to the bathroom, fill up your water bottle or go for a short walk. If at all possible, try standing while working at your desk.

Something that helped me improve my posture while sitting was a lumbar support pillow. When I worked at a physiotherapy clinic in Sydney, the physio quickly noticed my poor sitting posture and introduced me to this. You can find them for a good price at Target, Amazon, or Walmart. A health store or physical therapy clinic might stock them as well.

That’s your first week! Write these down in your planner or on your calendar and commit to these small daily changes. I guarantee these small changes can lead to huge results for the year ahead!

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