New Year’s Day signifies a new beginning. But is it genuinely new?
Isn’t it more a continuation of one year to another? To make a clean break from the cycle of broken resolutions, why not try something more meaningful this year?
Instead of tricks and patchwork resolutions, why not establish a health strategy; better yet, set upon a life plan that is compatible with your beliefs and goals?
Forget about giving up things. Add positive habits like taking a probiotic daily. Why not consider positive affirmations instead of an expensive gym membership that you won’t use?
Don’t emphasize negatives and generalizations like “I’m too fat so have to lose a lot of weight.”
Don’t set yourself up for defeat. Forget comparison charts. Instead, set your sites on reaching attainable milestones.
Consider how much weight you could gradually lose in 26 weeks. Is it one pound a week? Two pounds every four weeks over 52 weeks? At the end of the next year that’s 24 pounds.
An effective way to make positive change is with affirmations like “I will own my health every day.”
Own Your Health
A personal health code is the way to own your health. How you conduct your life in relationship to your body in health and disease matters. What you do every day matters.
A comprehensive health code includes disease prevention but also takes in wellness, fitness, and reproductive health. It embraces the daily details of how you live including dietary choices, what nutritional supplements you take, how much time you devote to exercise, and how long and well you sleep. It looks at the big picture including spiritual practices and healthy aging.
A personal health code embraces your nutritional philosophy. Are you a vegetarian, vegan, cooked or raw foodie, adopt a paleo diet, or a healthy omnivore? Do you follow a traditional Chinese or another ethnic diet? Do you avoid gluten and GMO foods? Eat all organic? Raise your vegetables or buy local?
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t stop at what you eat and how much you exercise. It also includes healthy consumer choices. Do you shop for clothing made from sustainable fabrics sewn in fair trade factories? Do you take nutritional supplements and where do you buy them? Are they pharmaceutical grade? Do you buy fresh vegetables and eggs from a farmer’s market?
Your health code puts movement as a priority. What is your choice of fitness activity? Are you committed to the yogi lifestyle including Ayurveda philosophy, or someone who includes yoga postures into a stretching plan? Do you walk or hike? Are your exercise sessions short or long? Are the intense bursts of interval training your thing? Do you practice martial arts, swim, lift weights at the gym, run on a treadmill or jog in a park?
What is your approach to health care? Do you read self-help health books? Are the authors genuine experts in their field? Do you believe in annual medical checkups or avoid conventional medicine except for major emergencies? Do you consider your naturopath or acupuncturist as your primary doctor? Do you get IV vitamin infusions?
Health is a system of checks and balances. You cannot control every aspect of your health, but you can make a significant difference in your health and how well you age by having a plan.
Jump-Start Your New Year’s Health Goals With Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations help rewire your nervous system to align with your body’s healing capacity. They affirm your values like faith, health, family, nature, and career.
Researchers using brain imaging found that affirmations condition the mind to help us subconsciously make healthier choices.
Your personal health code might include some of these 12 affirmations:
- I honor and respect my mind and body, my most valuable assets.
- I assume responsibility for my health and wellness.
- I live in a manner that supports my health and happiness, and that of my family and others.
- I make healthy choices even when under stress.
- I only eat real food, fresh and organic, and locally grown when possible.
- I take nutritional supplements to correct underlying deficiencies or support and optimize health, including healthy aging.
- I recognize the value of activity and exercise daily, and get up and regularly move during the workday.
- I keep a lean body mass with well-toned muscles and the appropriate fat-to-muscle ratio.
- I maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) for my height.
- I do not abuse alcohol or tobacco, or any other drug.
- I track my health markers regularly, including ordering blood tests.
- I discuss corrective options with my doctor and take an active part in her suggestions.
Affirmations are crucial to the success of your resolutions. But, initiating the right motivation is also necessary.
Engage the Magic of Purpose & Motivation
In practical terms, motivation comes from within. But you can also be inspired by the achievements of others. Reading inspirational books help. Taking motivations workshops help. But these external methods are temporary. Change requires repeated behavioral rewiring. A trained psychologist or coach can help keep you on track.
Psychologists define motivation in the following ways:
- An internal or external drive that prompts action.
- The ability to initiate and persist toward a chosen objective.
- Investing 100% of your time, effort, energy, and focus on your goal.
- Being able to pursue change in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue, stress, and distractions.
- The determination to resist ingrained and unhealthy patterns and habits.
- Doing everything you can, and rallying every resource to make the changes you want in your life.
Are you motivated enough to see your New Year’s goal through to completion? Of course, you are. Release the magic locked into a driving purpose and the energy created by powerful motivation.
Set A Bare Minimum You Can’t Break
I don’t believe that we can exercise our way out of the harmful effects of an unhealthy diet. But exercise, like a healthy diet, is essential to creating and maintaining wellness.
A lot of people don’t like spending hours at the gym. But, many do. Most gyms offer more than weight and cardio equipment. They also have yoga instructions and other types of exercise classes. Some do better in group classes. Others make progress on their own. What’s your best way to stay engaged?
With the busyness of everyday life, it becomes all too easy to blow off exercise. But I recognize that being sedentary is dangerous, so I make time for mindful movement every single day.
When I don’t have time, which is nearly always, I have my bare minimum. Ten minutes of stretching, light weights, balancing, and I finish with five minutes of mindful awareness in the form of an ancient Chinese exercise called Qi Gong.
To make lasting change, to get darn good at anything, requires consistency over time. And it doesn’t have to be hours a day. Change happens in increments. You may benefit even if you devote only ten to fifteen minutes every day to move.
Last Thoughts on Your Personal Health Code
Make it personal. It’s your life and your health. You’re worth it.
Find inspiration in others and tips from fitness experts, but in the end, you have to do the work.
Set aside enough time to plan your New Year right. Make time from January 1 through 5 to craft the best personal health code ever.
Make a list. But, your personal health code is not just a list of “do not” and “avoid this.” It’s not about resolutions you won’t keep. It’s a decisive, proactive approach to life and health.
A good starting point includes life-affirming principles, daily affirmations, and staying motivated through the rest of the year. To be effective, it can’t be generic. It has to be personal. What’s your health code?