Reduce alcohol consumption, exercise, practice meditation, stay hydrated, take more walking steps, eat less meat and more vegetables, make conscious use of technology, eat less sugar, do body stretches, go to bed earlier for a good night’s sleep , laugh often ….
These are some of the habits that most medical, wellness and psychology professionals recommend incorporating into our lifestyles to enjoy better physical and mental health, and also some of the goals that are often part of the classic list of resolutions that we consider when one year ends to put it into practice the following year.
They are also the cornerstones of the ‘plan to be happier, healthier and fitter’, proposing a single challenge each month, as described by the doctor Jennifer Ashton, gynecologist and obstetrician, health delegate of the American television network ABC News, in his ‘Book of Self-care’.
Whether you consider these changes as healthy New Year’s resolutions, or if you decide to apply Ashton’s twelve-month plan in 2021, it is in your best interest to follow the recommendations of this renowned American physician and popularizer to turn those health and wellness challenges into habits for lifetime.
Ashton (https://jenniferashtonmd.com) invites you to take each month as a personal experiment and give yourself the opportunity to explore how to be the best version of yourself every day, with these tips to, according to, “change in an easy way and natural ”:
1.- USE A WALL CALENDAR
“Visualizing our progress will motivate us to successfully meet our annual health and wellness challenges and help us turn them into lifelong habits,” according to Ashton.
Explain that this little trick works like this: “place a large wall calendar, the traditional ones, in the most visible place on your floor (in the kitchen) and write down the drinks you drink each week, the number of steps you take, the days you meditate or the type and duration of your ‘cardio’ gym sessions ”.
“So you can quickly calculate how much alcohol you drank, how many days you have exercised and what type of training, and how many days you have not meditated, for example,” he says.
“Noting our behavior in a visible place makes us take responsibility for each of these practices every day,” he says.
2.- YOUR HEALTHY HABITS ARE PRIORITIES
This doctor advises considering physical exercise as a non-negotiable part of the day, something that you simply “have to do for your basic health and well-being, as imperative in your day as brushing your teeth.”
He also recommends applying the same mindset with habits like hydration, sleep and eating more vegetables, “daily practices that should be as essential as showering or dressing.”
“Surely you will never go to work without having showered and dressed in the right clothes. By the same ‘rule of three’, you shouldn’t let a day go by without trying to move, drink enough water, get enough sleep and eat more vegetables ”, emphasizes the Englewood-based physician (New Jersey, USA).
3.- THINK YOU WILL ONLY TRAIN A FEW MINUTES
“Whether we don’t have time or we don’t feel like it, trying to exercise for just five minutes on the treadmill or on a bicycle can have great benefits and turn our mood and mind around, encouraging us to exercise for longer”, according to Ashton.
“If, for example, you don’t feel like doing push-ups, convince yourself to just do one rep. That is better than doing nothing and maybe, as soon as you have started, you will want to do something else to take advantage of the fact that you are already on the ground ”, he adds.
“The same goes for walking or doing any type of physical activity: setting low expectations when you have little time or little motivation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get going and keep up,” he emphasizes.
4.- FIND DELICIOUS ALTERNATIVES
“If our challenge is to eat less meat and more vegetables, or to eat less sugar, it is vitally important to discover delicious and healthy alternatives so that we do not obsess over what we cannot eat,” according to the Englewood doctor.
Ashton notes that when he stopped eating red meat, he stopped missing it after discovering smoked salmon with cream cheese, and acknowledges that he would have been much more successful in his low-sugar mission if he had had some vinegar strawberries on hand. balsamic when tempted by mouthwatering French pastry cookies.
“The process of finding new foods that you might like as much as the ones you are trying to avoid is fun. You just have to focus on alternatives that are accessible in your day to day, fit your budget and enjoy them ”, he recommends.
5.- USE VISUAL AID TO HELP YOU
Dr. Ashton has a closet full of clothing and accessories, many of which rotate seasonally or as styles change, but the only accessory that is always there is her bright orange foam roller, which she keeps there for remembering to stretch, he says.
“Every time I see that roller, I remember how good stretching feels to me, and that makes me pull it out regularly. Each person can find their own visual stimuli that motivate them to maintain their healthy habits ”, he adds.
6.- AND KEEP LAUGHING, ALWAYS AND FOREVER
Ashton invites us to seek the joy of life and to realize the “miracle that is our body”, everywhere, every day and in everything we do.
“One of the best promises and palliative for health in general is the happiness that is created from within, and not with external factors such as money or the success of your professional career,” he says.
“Recognizing what the incredible machine that your body is does one day after another and thanking for having it in that state, even if you want to aspire to more, is a reason for joy”, proposes this expert
“There is always joy around you and in you. Take the time to find and celebrate them every day. This is my recipe for well-being, following the saying of ‘Doctor, heal yourself’ ”, he concludes.