It’s that time of year again when many of us resolve to make new health goals and try to create new healthier habits for the coming year. Unfortunately, for many, that list quickly loses its appeal and is downgraded in priority. A big reason for this is that these goals were too big and the feeling of failure set in fast. So instead of making a list of big New Year resolutions, set a micro-goal that you can actually work to achieve! Here are ten areas that you can set micro-goals with that will help kickstart you to a healthier new you!
1. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods and swap to organic
Good health begins with good nutrition and nutrition comes primarily from what we eat. Food items on our grocer’s shelves have often had most of the natural nutrition processed out and harmful food additives such as MSG processed in. It is almost impossible to avoid GMO items, including soy, canola, and corn. Processed and non-organic meat products are particularly harmful and so are unhealthy fats. Produce is often contaminated by pesticides.
Eat better by replacing processed foods with nutrient-dense whole food items – and try to use 100% certified organic food items as much as possible. A recent study shows that eating an organic diet for just one week can reduce the level of pesticides in the body by up to 60%, and likely the same is true for other toxins. Sure it costs a bit more, but it can go a long way to improving your overall health.
Micro-goal for eating cleaner, more nutrient-dense foods: Skip the processed breads and pastas for a week and try to eat more organic fruits and vegetables. The Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen is a good guide to follow if your budget doesn’t let you buy all organic!
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables or give juicing a try.
Eating the rainbow with a variety of fruits and vegetables isn’t a marketing gimmick. It’s good advice. Fruits and vegetables are instant sources of essential vitamins and minerals that your body can easily absorb. They’re also full of fiber which will help you feel fuller longer. Juicing is also an option for those that don’t like to eat their daily dose of fruits and vegetables, but know that you’re missing out on all that good fiber when you do. A better option may be to blend your fruits and veggies into a tasty smoothie to give your body that extra nutritional boost without missing out on the fiber.
Micro-goal for eating more fruits and vegetables:
Try adding a serving of fruits and vegetables to every meal this week! Fruits are easy to add for most people, but vegetables can be a little harder. Here are a few tips we use: 1) Sneak more vegetables into breakfast by mixing peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini into your omelets or scrambled eggs! 2) Swap carrots slices for chips at lunch for a nutrient-dense crunch. 3) Serve up your favorite fruits and veggies with a lean meat at dinner for a quick and easy fix!
3. Drink plenty of water daily
Water plays an essential role in keeping our bodies and cells properly hydrated as well as cleansed. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. In other words, if you weigh 160 pounds you should drink 80 ounces of water daily. Be sure to drink extra on days when you are engaged in strenuous exercises.
Micro-goal for getting more water:
Fill a container with water and try to drink it by set times throughout your day. If your cup holds 24 ounces, a simple schedule to follow would be drinking the full container every 2-3 hours. This also forces you to get up for a movement break to refill once you run out!
4. Be more physically active
Regular exercise (or physical activity) has a world of health benefits, including making our bones, muscles and entire bodies stronger. Physical activity is essential for a strong natural immune system. Thanks to the beneficial hormones and pheromones produced when we exercise, it also makes us feel calmer and happier and is a wonderful way to relieve stress and tension.
Micro-goal for getting more exercise:
If you’re not already exercising regularly, try going for a 30-minute walk or doing 30-minutes of cardio at least three times a week. Then add in more time or extra workout days as you reach that goal. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.
5. Get plenty of Vitamin D
Too many people have been fooled into avoiding ample exposure to sunshine. Direct and indirect sunshine are essential for optimum health! Sunshine on the skin creates essential Vitamin D3, which is different than and superior to any supplemental forms of D3. Vitamin D3, which is actually a steroid hormone, wards off disease and illness and is essential for healthy bones. Another great source of Vitamin D is dark, leafy vegetables!
If you’re having trouble getting outside enough, a good supplement can also be used, but check with your local AlignLife Chiropractor on how much you should take and some recommended supplements. Not all Vitamin D supplements are the same. alignlife recommends Active D Plus from Aceva is a great option. It’s available in both liquid and capsules. This “sunshine” supplement is a great foundational nutrient and pays off in widespread benefits throughout your body.
Micro-goal for getting more Vitamin D:
Take a walk outside for at least 10-minutes a day and add more leafy greens to your meals!
6. Eliminate toxins from your home and body
Toxins are everywhere, including our food, air, water and soils. Though we cannot avoid toxins entirely, we can eliminate many of them by getting rid of toxic household items such as cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, and cosmetics and replacing those items with natural ones. Most of the toxins we haven’t avoided can be safely and effectively eliminated by natural foods, herbs and other means.
If you’re looking for a great detox program, the Ultimate Body Cleanse is a great place to start because it shows you how to rid your home and body of toxins. The Ultimate Body Cleanse is a 10-day modified fruit, vegetable and protein fast that consists of five cleanses in one. This isn’t a simple bowel flush like many other cleanses on the market. It’s a cellular cleanse designed to eliminate toxins and parasites in your system, improve digestion, enhance immune function, and clean out your liver. After completing the program, many have reported feeling an increase in energy, improved moods, a decrease in food cravings, increased success with weight management and weight loss, and improved mental clarity.
Micro-goal for removing toxins in your home:
Swap to more natural cleaners and instead of storing leftover foods in plastic containers, opt for glass containers instead!
7. Build a strong natural immune system
The immune system is our natural first line of defense against disease and illness. In addition to diet and exercise, make sure that you get optimum daily amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and getting enough sleep at night.
Since today’s food products and mineral-depleted soils make it is next to impossible to get all the nutrients you need from diet alone, a good whole foods derived multi-vitamin may be a good choice for you as well as a good “superfoods” powder. Daily Balance and Absolute Greens top the list for our must-have nutrient supplements. Daily Balance is a 4-in-1 advanced vitamin-mineral formula, that gives you a complete multivitamin, a potent Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12), 10 fully available forms of minerals and a complete antioxidant that is made up of vitamin E, selenomethionine and mixed carotenoids. Absolute Greens is the “go-to grab” for the whole family. Featuring 50 super foods—including fruits, vegetables, fibers, herbs, spices, natural flavonoids and enzymes, every scoop is packed with nutrients and guaranteed delicious.
Micro-goal for improving your immune system:
Start taking a daily vitamin that includes Vitamin D and make sure you’re getting enough sleep! Seven to eight hours of sleep a night is the recommended minimum for your body to relax, reset, and recharge!
8. Avoid, minimize and eliminate stress
You have surely heard the term “stress, the silent killer”. It’s true! Stress causes illness and prevents healing. Endeavor to do whatever it takes to remove stress from your life and make your mental attitude your ally. Meditate, exercise, take yoga, change jobs, find a pleasant hobby – do whatever you must to remove stress and have a positive mental outlook.
Micro-goal for reducing stress:
Try adding a morning yoga session or simply do an activity you love EVERY day.
9. Look first to nature for healing and health issues
As the father of medicine, Hippocrates said, “Nature is the physician of man”. Unnatural mainstream medicines often mask symptoms by forcing the body to function unnaturally and most have side effects which can lead to further other unhealthy conditions. Avoid getting trapped into managed-for-profits illness and ever-increasing medications by looking first to natural healing. Many chiropractors will work with your medical health provider to help you find natural solutions and get to the root cause of your symptoms.
Micro-goal for helping your body heal:
Make an appointment to see your local chiropractor to help remove any nerve interference and let your body do its job.
10. Supplement wisely
While you should try to eat as healthily as possible and get maximum nutrition from your diet, do not fall for the myth that a healthy diet alone will provide all the nutrition you need for optimal health. But also don’t try to use supplements to make up for a poor diet. You should always strive to supplement a healthy diet.
Some eye-opening facts: the vast majority of us are deficient in multiple essential nutrients. Anywhere from 70 – 95% of us are estimated to be deficient in the master mineral magnesium, which plays an important role in no fewer than 1300 different body processes. 90% of vegetarians/vegans are deficient in essential vitamin B12, as is over 40% of the entire population. Most of us are deficient in selenium. And the list goes on!
To learn more about how chiropractic can help you set better micro-goals and work toward achieving optimal health and wellness, schedule a chat with your local AlignlLife chiropractor today.