New Year, New Beginnings

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New Year’s has always been a time when people look to the past and make plans for the future. However, according to a recent study, four out of five people who make New Year’s Resolutions will eventually break them. This year, instead of setting goals that are overly ambitious and difficult to achieve, simply challenge yourself to creating a happier you. Before you know it, you’ll be healthy, inside AND out.

To beat the odds, start with simple goals and work your way up to a more difficult task. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Mental Health

Easy—Sleep! Lack of sleep can lower your immune system, make it hard to concentrate during the day and affect hormonal balance. Everyone is busy these days, but with some careful planning you can easily get to bed one hour earlier. Do you really need to watch that late night movie? Did you have to answer that phone call? Unplug yourself and get the sleep your body needs.

Moderate—Mental health is the overall well-being of an individual—social, physical, spiritual and emotional. Yoga can help you achieve balance on all four levels. It’s a very effective relaxation tool and stress reliever and is safe for all ages. Flex your mental muscle and commit to spending a few hours a week practicing yoga.

Difficult—Start a Book Club with friends. Challenge each other to a new read every month and take advantage of the Discussion Questions found in the back of many books. If you’re too busy to attend book club gatherings, you can always join an online book club and chat with virtual friends. www.book-clubs-resource.com

Family/Finances

Easy—Challenge yourself to remove the following phrases from your vocabulary: “Just a minute” and “I’ll be right there.” Be there for your family when they need you, not when it’s convenient for you.

Moderate—Family night. Instead of going out to dinner and spending money on activities, make dinner at home and play games. You’ll save money and gain quality time with your family.

Difficult—January is Financial Wellness Month. It’s the perfect time to analyze your spending and saving. Get the whole family involved in putting together a new budget. Start by paying off debt and build up an emergency fund that’s equivalent to at least two months’ salary.

Physical Health

Easy—Commit to eating whole grain breads and pastas, eat beans 3-5 times a week (they’re loaded with fiber which can help to lower cholesterol) and keep your portions in check. A main-dish serving of meat should only be the size of a deck of cards and pasta and cereal should be kept to less than 1 cup.

Moderate—Buy a pedometer and take yourself for a walk. Research shows that walking 10,000 steps a day will significantly improve your health.

Difficult—Enter a marathon and start training. Team in Training is a great place to start, plus it supports a wonderful cause, Leukemia and Lymphoma. They provide training and clinics on fitness, nutrition, gear and injury prevention. Plus, there are amazing destinations to choose from to run your marathon; Honolulu, Anchorage, San Diego or Paris to name a few. Check out www.teamintraining.org for more information.

Let 2010 be the year that improves your overall well-being. Good Luck!

Published in the Winter 2010 Mambo Sprouts Mailer.

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