By Amanda Nelson

Well, here we go. It is the end of a year and soon the begging of a new year. And like clockwork we start to make goals and swear this is the year we will be sticking with it. 2022 can be your year, but there are 4 things you should do before even attempting your New Year’s goals. Taking these steps will help you analyze your current habits and alter them into a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Prepare yourself mentally/emotionally/spiritually. There is no way anyone can make a goal to change without changing “within” first. This is different for everyone. For example, one person may have childhood trauma, and this is built up in the gut and the brain. Then you have someone else who doesn’t have a lot of time, for example a mother. It is hard enough to find time to take care of everyone, how can you take care of yourself? No matter who you are on the spectrum, it is important that you find the strength within to make the decision to better your health and your life before you can jump into the gym and start a fad diet. Getting in shape is great and all, but your mental, physical and emotional health are all important.

Start to omit bad “foods”. If you pop open that pantry or fridge you will see some items that we shouldn’t be consuming. Items that are literally destroying our bodies and cause diseases and autoimmune disorders. I always tell my clients to remove sugar, processed foods, and drink at least half their body weight in water before we will move forward with bigger food changes. Sugar is like a drug. Studies show that our brain and our bodies crave sugar the same way someone’s brain and body craves drugs and alcohol. It is an addiction, and it takes willpower and support to quit it. But once you do your body will thank you. Processed foods are another big culprit. The average American’s home has more than 60% processed foods compared to whole foods. Processed foods are also addictive because they are loaded with sugar and chemicals that the FDA approves to make the food taste better so more people buy it. Your body will never heal or thrive on sugars or processed foods, but they will be more susceptible to diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders or comorbidities. And finally, water. We are made up of anywhere from 55%-70% water. Our blood is water. Our bodies use water for countless things that keep us well and alive. Take your body weight, divide it in half and that is how many ounces of water you should be drinking per day, minimum. These 3 big changes will set you up for success when it comes to having a healthier life.

Move as often as possible/sit less. Studies revealed that sitting is the new smoking. This is because without movement we have less blood flow, so it is detrimental to your heart and causes varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, less movement means you are not burning fat so there is more likelihood of obesity and diabetes, and it is bad for your mental health leading to anxiety and depression. Sitting for long periods of time also weakens your muscles which is going to make you more likely to get hurt easily and make you have back issues. This is because you are putting so much pressure on your hips, and this causes your flexor muscles to shorten which leads to many back problems including sciatica and sacral pain. To get up more, set an alarm for every hour and when it goes off move. Even if it is for only one minute, just move. As each day goes by challenge yourself to move more. Walk for 5 minutes a day, then 10, then 15, and so on.

Set realistic goals. Instead of making an ultimate goal, decide on what I call a starter goal. It is the first goal to get your journey started. It is realistic and obtainable. Once you hit this goal, have a new goal ready that takes you a little bit further in your journey. As you continue to accomplish each goal you are getting more motivated to continue and work harder. You can see how you can accomplish anything you are ready to. In most cases I see, the goal is so hard that clients will give up before they have even given themselves a fighting chance. And with this I recommend getting support. Have someone there who will have your back when you are ready to give in. You can rely on them to smack the Twinkie out of your hand and motivate you to get out there and keep going.

Lastly with this New Year, it is a great time to help your kids join in on these changes. They are still at an age that these changes are easy for them and they will also be important to ensure they grow up to be healthy and motivated themselves to live a healthy life.

Health and Wellness Coach Amanda Nelson, a Tucson native, focuses her time and efforts studying how to heal using functional medicine. This way of life proactively focuses on nutrition, exercise, and balance to achieve optimal mental, physical, and emotional health.

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