Resolutions don’t work. New habits, however, work like a charm! If you haven’t read the book, Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and you’re looking to form some new (good) habits, or break old habits, I would highly recommend it. Now that it’s already 2023, it’s time we used our habit-forming ability for our own good-and it isn’t as hard as you might think. The hardest part about starting a healthy habit, is just starting, so I’ve outlined what I think to be the 3 most important habits you can develop in 2023, and a few simple ways you can start doing them.
Take a break from technology
Technology has afforded us the ability to do everything from order dinner to our doorstep, to find our soulmate, to keep up with what our friends and family around the globe are doing, but it isn’t without its drawbacks. Consuming (often negative) news at all hours of the day, spending time looking at ‘perfect’ pictures on social media, and exposing your eyes to bright lights at night can be harmful for people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other psychological illnesses.
Goal: Decrease use of your phone by 5% every week until the end of January 2023 and see how you feel. There are apps that can help you track your usage, and even tell you which apps you are using the most.
Exercise daily: Heart Disease
Heart disease remains the #1 Killer according to the World Health Organization, and kills over 600,000 people per year, and nearly 1 in 4 people according to the Center for Disease Control. The best preventative medicine for your heart has always been proper diet and exercise. Changing exercise habits can be difficult for some, but the key is starting small, consistent, and daily. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services recently released a report that outlined adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic activity.
Challenge: Aim to participate in one physically active event daily for at least 25 minutes. After you’re done, reward yourself by putting an ‘X’ on the calendar at home. Do the entire month of January and don’t leave any ‘open’ days.
Eat dinner before 8pm
During the holidays, we tend to stay up later, eat more, and eat for longer periods of time. If you’ve ever wondered why you end up feeling like a stuffed sausage after Christmas and New Year’s, it’s because we usually not only eat more, but we also eat later in the day with leftovers and late holiday parties abound. This can cause our digestive organs to work overtime, leading to blockages, backups and malfunctions along the way. By eating dinner before 8, you give your body more time to digest and rest before getting back to work in the morning for breakfast.
Go the extra mile: to get the most benefit, only drink water after 8pm. Anything other than water will require the digestive system to fire back up again, even if it’s coffee, tea, or flavored water. For maximum benefit, stick with H2O until the next morning. I’ve tried this personally, and while it is difficult to resist the evening treat before bed, it is worth the effort and guarantees feeling rested and clean the next morning.
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