Now that the New Year’s Eve ball has dropped, the last of the champagne is gone and the party confetti has been swept away, we’re left with our resolutions. Run a 5K. Lose 30 pounds. Eat healthier. We regard ambitious resolutions with both optimism and—if we’re honest—doubt. Because let’s face it: Some resolutions can seem too daunting to achieve.
So we asked a few Edina wellness experts for their take on setting resolutions that can be more easily achieved in 2015. “This year, you should take small steps toward wellness. A year from now, you’ll look back and be impressed by what you’ve achieved,” says Suzy Boerboom, co-founder and CEO of Welcyon, Fitness After 50.
When setting goals, James Stolz, certified wellness coach at Metropolitan Clinic, says, “It’s helpful to think back to a time when you were most happy. What were you eating? What activities were you enjoying? Then try to develop new habits for yourself—little changes—until your goal becomes your new routine.”
Be Active & Strong
If you’ve resolved to get fit in 2015, our experts suggest focusing on an enjoyable aspect of a physical activity. “For example, focus on the conversation you’ll have with a friend during a walk rather than the three-mile distance,” says Dr. James Ackelson, chiropractor at Metropolitan Clinic. “Over time, spending time with that friend will trigger a habit of walking. To be successful, you find something to make you put on your shoes and walk out the door.”
- Track: A resolution to walk 10,000 steps a day might feel overwhelming. Instead, start with 2,000 steps and work your way up. Tracking your steps over time challenges you to increase your distance.
- Intensify: Some think interval training is only for fit people, but actually anyone can do it. Simply increase the intensity of your workout in short bursts at regular intervals. The cardiovascular benefits are huge.
- Balance: Don’t sit for more than 30 minutes at a time at work or at home. Stand up periodically. Walk around or balance on one leg.
- Lift: By adding merely one pound of weight at a time to your workout routine over the course of a year, you’ll begin to rebuild muscle. This helps recover strength and energy so you can perform simple tasks and enjoy lifelong pleasures.
Fill Your Cup
One of the simplest ways to improve your health is to change what you drink. When it comes to healthy beverages, Dr. Katie Corazzo, a naturopathic doctor with Balanced Care LLC, offers the following recommendations:
- (+) Water: Determine half your body weight in pounds and use that number to determine how many ounces of water to drink each day. For example, a 140-pound woman should drink 70 ounces of water. Water helps alleviate symptoms like dry mouth, headache, fatigue and skin conditions.
- (+) Coconut Water: Coconut water hydrates and provides natural electrolytes and potassium. It is an acquired taste, so try drinking it cold or sampling low-sugar, flavored versions.
- (-) Soda: Skip regular and diet sodas to improve your health. Reducing sugar intake helps stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. And by eliminating artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas, some people experience less joint pain, headaches and energy slumps.
- (+) Tea: Tea is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide, second only to water. Among its many health benefits are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering capabilities. Or try dandelion tea to help support liver function, or peppermint tea to ease digestive issues.
Make 2015 your year to shine. Experts at Metropolitan Clinic recommend several simple ways to freshen up your look:
- Hair: Gone are the days when women have to spend over an hour fixing their hair. “New hair and skin care regimens don’t have to be time-consuming or expensive,” says Suzanne St. James, cosmetic specialist at Metropolitan Clinic. She recommends working with your stylist to find a haircut or treatment that best fits your lifestyle and change it up with the seasons.
- Skin: Add amazing skin care products to your nighttime routine that will hydrate your skin and can be applied quickly before bed.
- Sunscreen: One of the simplest things to do to feel confident about your skin without covering it up with heavy make-up is to wear a daily moisturizer with sunscreen. Even a tinted sunscreen is a great way to protect your skin while evening out skin color and tone.
- Wardrobe: Hiring a wardrobe consultant may not be as expensive as you might think. A consultation can result in spending less time and money shopping for clothes that don’t work well together.
Whether you want to lose weight or simply make healthier choices, changing your diet can feel like a big undertaking. Here are some simple ways to achieve your healthy eating goals, without biting off more than you can chew:
- Record: Before making dietary changes, record your daily meals for two weeks. Then change one thing at a time, such as reducing your fat intake or cutting out late-night snacks.
- Snack: Improve your snacking habits. For example, bring baby carrots or almonds to work to for a snack instead of going to a vending machine for chips and a diet soda.
- Vegetables: If you’re currently eating three to four servings of vegetables per day, strive for five to six. Over time, you’ll be up to the recommended six to nine servings per day. Include leafy greens and broccoli to aid in detoxification and weight loss.
- Fiber: Add foods that add fiber. Instead of drinking a glass of orange juice, eat an orange. Switch from white rice to brown. Enjoy roasted vegetables with dinner or an apple instead of ice cream for dessert.
- Vegetarian: Instead of making drastic dietary changes, start small by planning one month of meatless Mondays. This is an easy way to enjoy more fruits and veggies.
Life’s responsibilities, health conditions and stress can lead to restless nights for many people. If you want a more restful year, experts suggest:
- Clean: Create a relaxing space—a dark and slightly cool room is conducive to better sleep. Tidy your bedroom and remove electronics; clutter creates anxiety.
- Bathe: Epsom salts are high in magnesium, which can relax blood vessels and muscles, and has detoxifying effects. The salts can be purchased at drug stores, are inexpensive, and are excellent for stress release and calming before bed.
Our experts agree that one of the greatest benefits to leading a healthy life is living a happy life. So here are a few ways to add a little joy into your life, including:
- Learn: Be a lifelong learner. Take a class, read more, join a group, or even do a crossword puzzle to keep your brain active.
- Play: Hang with friends who help make getting fit and trying new things fun.
- Join: Find people who share your interests. Take a small step and join a group, such as a book club or volunteer organization.
- Participate: Instead of just watching your children or grandchildren play, get up from your chair and join them. Make memories you’ll share years from now.
It’s a new year and anything is possible—even sticking to your resolutions. Pursuing small goals can lead to new habits, noticeable changes, and ultimately, lasting results. One step at a time.
2015 Resolution Recap—Think Small
- Drink more water.
- Walk with a friend.
- De-clutter your bedroom.
- Revamp your wardrobe.
- Think fruit, not juice.
- Eat colorful foods.
- Try dandelion tea.
- Pamper your skin.
- Stretch in the morning.
- Track your steps.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Say yes to new opportunities.
- Read a book.
- Celebrate milestones.