Focus on Small Changes for 2018

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A New Year brings motivation for big audacious health goals and life changes which are aspirational, but not always attainable. Studies show that only 46% of people who make a goal to change a habit are successful after six months; while 25% stop after one week.

The start of a New Year is when people typically make goals that impact their health (join a gym, exercise more, eat less fried foods, cook more at home, lose weight, etc). The problem is we make broad goals and do not focus on small changes that help us achieve those goals. So, for 2018 I challenge us all to start sweatin’ the small stuff and focus on those small wins. And here is how we do it:

1.     Take inventory of your body.

When is the last time you went to a doctor for an annual physical? When is the last time you took inventory of your body and how you are feeling? Admit it, as millennials we are BUSY. We are furthering our education, working full-time, married, have families, going to networking events, starting businesses, running businesses, WE ARE DOING IT ALL. I applaud your success and what you are trying to do, but if your health is not in order it is harder and in some cases impossible to succeed in other aspects of your life. Before you can reach your larger health goals you must understand where your health currently stands. Within the next two weeks call your healthcare provider and schedule your annual physical if you have not done so already.  

In 2018 do not only focus on your physical health, but also take inventory of your mental health. If you are a student most University’s offer free screenings and counseling services. Take advantage of them. If you are a full-time employee check with you HR manager and inquire if your company offers free or reduced price counseling services. Companies are becoming more committed to employee wellness and often have a hotline you can call to speak to a counselor. Also, check with your health insurance company to see what mental health services are covered in your benefits. Taking inventory of where your health currently stands puts you at a better place to understand what you must do to reach your health goals for 2018.

2.     Focus on your eating habits.

Losing weight or getting in shape is typically one of the goals people set for a new year. Although it is a noble goal we must start with smaller steps, one of them being to change your eating habits. American diets typically include processed convenience foods that are eaten in a rush. Let’s talk about it, how many of you grab a granola bar for breakfast or eat lunch at your desk in your office. How many of you eat your dinner while studying or in the car on the way to another meeting? What about eating while watching TV or scrolling through Instagram? It is noble that you are dedicated to your work and school, but it is also allowing you to consume extra calories and put on weight.  To reach our larger goal of losing weight or getting in shape we must first change our eating habits. Start by promising yourself that you will eat breakfast at your kitchen table before leaving for work. Or make it a point to focus on mindful eating during lunch wuch as turning of all electronic devices and solely focus on eating (and fellowship if you are eating with someone else). Taking your full lunch break away from your desk or studying is a form of self-care. When you spend time to focus solely on what you are eating you will notice that the food taste better and your brain recognizes when you are full quicker, ultimately eliminating those extra calories.

3.     Accountability makes you go further.

Supportive networks are a key factor in sustaining lifestyle changes. Bring your friends and family along the health journey with you. Share your goals and aspirations with them and how you plan to achieve them. Ask them to check in on you and make sure you are on task and in return do the same for them. If you do not have close friends and family that can work as accountability partners then join a virtual network. The key is not to go about these lifestyle changes alone. 

4.     Be aware of how chemicals and additives impact your body.

Chemicals can have adverse effects on our health and added chemicals in foods, cleaning supplies, and body products we use aren’t regulated. Over time you can develop allergic reactions to the chemicals and additives and worse some can cause cancer. This year I will be teaming up with some of my favorite socially conscious brands that provide products with our environment and health in mind. The first brand is Seventh Generation. They develop plant-based solutions for your home and family such as cleaning products, baby diapers, and laundry detergent. They graciously sent me a healthy baby home party kit to share with some lucky moms how they can create a healthy environment for your families. We played games, discussed the importance of creating a healthy environment for your family and each lady walked away with some goodies from seventh generation.

The next brand that I’m loving is L. L products are personal care products for women that are free of artificial ingredients. The best part is for every product you buy they send a product to a female entrepreneur in a high impact area. By taking better control of your health you are helping a young woman have the tools to control hers. 

5.     Save money while making your change.

Reaching your health goals does not have to be expensive. Often people shell out a bunch of money thinking that is the key to achieving their goal. Start small and be strategic. If you plan on joining a gym this year check with your health insurance company and see if they will reimburse you or offer discounts for a membership. Check with your employer and see if they partner with any local gyms for discounted memberships or if they offer wellness classes on site. If you are a student utilize your University’s recreation center. Purchasing healthier foods does not have to be expensive either. Start by shopping at your local farmer’s market. They have a wide array of items such as seasonal produce, dairy, meats, grains, jam and jelly. The best part is when you shop local you are helping your local economy. If you go to the grocery store utilize coupons, weekly ads and phone apps. Apps such as coupons, checkout 51, and ibotta offer cash back on produce. Lastly, start bringing your lunch to work or snacks from home for late night study groups.  You will be monitoring what you are eating and saving money in the process. If you are looking for stylish food containers that BPA-free and a great reminder to pack your food, then check out Fitmark Bags.  Just for my readers they are giving you 15% off of our entire purchase when you use code AW15.

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