New Year Healthy Habits
Welcome to the New Year!
Some Healthy Food for Thought about Improving Habits
Did you know that you have what it takes? Yes, YOU! You have the power to change your health for the better and there is no time like the present to get started. The beginning of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to review of some of your current health behaviors. So, get out a pen and paper and get ready to spend a few minutes taking inventory.
Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes
Did you notice that word above- change? That is the key word. If you’re unhappy with the state of your health, the first step is to recognize that some of your current habits aren’t giving you the results you desire. In order to change into a healthier version of yourself, Yourself is going to have to make some changes! Think about which of your habits are adding value to your life and you want to continue in the new year. Which habits aren’t bringing anything positive to the table and you want to leave in last year?
Writing it out can help, so on your paper, make two columns. The header for the first column is “Keep” and the second column should be titled “Leave”. Take a few minutes. Think of all the positive habits you currently have that support the lifestyle you are aiming for. For example, maybe over the last year you have gotten into the habit of taking a multivitamin (nearly) every day. Write these in the “Keep” column. Stay positive in this column and list everything that comes to mind. Even if a positive step you took hasn’t become a consistent habit yet, write it down. For example, maybe last year you bought a gym membership, and you didn’t work out as much as you had planned. Write down the positive step and give yourself a little credit for that.
Still with me? Great! Now, let’s work on your second column “Leave”. Take a few minutes. Jot down some of your habits that aren’t supporting the person you strive to be. Write them down quickly as they come to mind and try not to dwell on them or get down on yourself. We ALL have some bad habits. But do be honest with yourself.
How hard is it to be honest with ourselves about our bad habits? Well, from my experience, it can be pretty darn difficult sometimes. In January of last year, this very brainstorming activity took me somewhere I didn’t really want to go. To my drinking habits. And I’m not talking about seltzer water here.
The thought had been nagging me for some time, “Is drinking right for me?”. Over the years, there had been times when I drank more than I knew I should, but it didn’t seem to be a huge or consistent problem for me. Still, I had to ask myself, is drinking adding value to my life? And when I was downright honest with myself, I couldn’t avoid the fact that the answer was “no”.
I decided to start small and began 2021 with the goal of no alcohol for the month of January. Meeting my goal was easy for the first couple of weeks. During the third week, a friend and I met up for one of our regular get togethers at our regular restaurant. We both ordered our usuals, and about halfway through my strawberry mojito, I realized what I had done! But what I also realized, is that I just carried out a habit. I quickly forgave myself, switched to water, and carried out my goal successfully for the rest of January.
When February 2021 arrived, I considered celebrating my success with a beer or two. But I held back and thought, well if the occasion arises when I really want to have a beer, I will. As time went on, there were some times when I thought I really wanted to have a drink. When those thoughts came up, I recognized that maybe it was just a thought and not a true desire. I decided this. If the thought to have a drink came into my mind, I would wait 10 minutes. If, after 10 minutes passed, I felt a true desire to have a drink in order to add value to my life, I would. The habit I left behind was making quick decisions that didn’t add value. In this case, drinking alcohol. The habit I kept is taking 10 minutes to recognize my true desires. The habit I’m working on now is applying this method consistently to other areas in my life!
My hope is that this little brainstorming exercise helps you recognize and strengthen some positives you’ve created and also helps you discover some areas for improvement. Once you’ve identified some of these unproductive habits, you can begin taking some actions to change them.
Don’t forget that YOU have all the power and I’m rooting for you!
For comments, ideas, inquiries, or to turn in this homework, please reach out to your Club Fitness dietitian.
-Joy Ward, RDN LD
To see my Keep and Leave list for the new year, check out my post in the Club Fitness Connect Facebook Group.