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Six Healthy New Year's Goals

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights

If you find yourself making lists about weight loss, eating better, and getting more sleep, you can join the approximately 25% of Americans who make yearly resolutions. If you’d like to be in the less than 8% of people who actually keep their resolutions, you’ll need some tips for success.

How To Be Successful With Resolutions

It starts by setting realistic expectations. We don’t go into resolutions consciously trying to set goals that are not achievable, but many times we simply forget to factor in life. 

For instance, committing to working out four days per week for 52 consecutive weeks seems like a realistic goal, but when you begin to plan vacations, weddings, holidays, and sick days, it gets more complicated. 

Here are three tips to make sure your expectations and goals are streamlined.

  1. Make goals achievable. You can’t get a doctorate in a year if you don’t even have an associate’s degree, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to complete it in less than six years. You also can’t change your blood panel numbers overnight. Whether your goal is to increase your education or lower your A1C levels, make sure you allow enough time to make the dream a reality.

  2. Make goals sustainable. Losing weight is usually top of the list for New Year’s resolutions. Many diets tout extreme weight loss in as little as a matter of weeks. While it might be possible to lose 20 pounds in a month, the diet required is likely not at all sustainable for living. Whatever your goal, make sure the journey to it is one you can see yourself adapting to for the amount of time it takes to reach the goal. 

  3. Don’t expect perfection. If your goal is to cut back on alcohol consumption, but you had a little too much to drink on your birthday, don’t allow that to detract you from your goal. People who are most successful allow themselves to make mistakes, and never adopt an all or nothing attitude. 

Being successful is easy when you make healthy goals that you know will benefit your body. Here are some of the best decisions you can make for your health in the coming year.

6 Healthy Resolutions To Try

Burned out on promising yourself you’ll get rid of belly fat this year? Tired of committing to eating out less only to find yourself opening the UberEats app every evening? 

Try approaching your health from a foundational standpoint. Take care of the pillars of your health and see if the side effects of un-health simultaneously fade away. 

1. Try Dry January

Over-imbibing during the holidays makes the thought of Dry January a little less intimidating. Although it’s long been held that a glass of red wine a day is “healthy” for your heart, new research says that simply isn’t true. 

Given the negative impacts alcohol presents to your health, some researchers now believe no amount of alcohol is actually healthful (though the jury is still out). That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy it in moderation, but giving it up, at least for 31 days, could be the reset you need to drink less for the rest of the year. 

Government guidelines recommend just two drinks per day for men and one for women. One drink is considered one beer, 1. 5 ounces for a shot, or a 5-ounce glass of wine.

2. Quit Smoking

If you’ve tried to quit smoking before and haven’t had success, make this your year. Numerous resources are available to help you quit smoking

Smoking has nothing but detrimental health effects. It is directly linked to at least 12 different types of cancer, increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, and gradually breaks down your internal organs. 

In terms of cognition and mental clarity, smoking interferes with the way your brain processes information and can even lead to attention disorders. Not to mention the free radical damage it does to your skin which ages you much faster than actual time.  

3. Limit Sugar

Instead of signing up for the latest fad diet, try eliminating elements of your diet that aren’t healthful. Sugar itself isn’t necessarily unhealthful, but added sugar in the foods we eat can be. 

Natural fruit contains sugar, but it also contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Processed, packaged foods often contain added sugar for flavor intensity and preservation. Too much sugar packs on extra calories with no nutritional value, but it can also place us at a much higher risk for developing chronic diseases, like diabetes.

Anytime you consume sugar, your blood glucose level increases. Your pancreas produces insulin to regulate the amount of glucose in your blood. Excess glucose is stored in the muscles, liver, and adipose tissue until it is later needed. If it is never used, it is stored as fat. 

If you’d like to lower your sugar intake, try staying within the recommended daily guidelines for added sugar; no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day for adults.

4. Exercise Regularly

Why do people fail to follow through with their yearly commitments to exercise? Usually, because they commit to too much, too fast. 

It isn’t necessary to run countless miles per week or even join a gym. Simply moving a little more is a great first step. Although the ultimate goal should be to work up to 150-225 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week combined with strength training, you don’t have to meet these requirements when you’re first starting your exercise program. 

The best way to ensure you’ll be successful is to find something you enjoy. There are numerous ways to fit exercise into your lifestyle, and there’s definitely an option that will work for you. 

5. Learn to Manage Stress

The long-term effects of chronic stress are bad for your body and mind. Unhealthy blood pressure caused by too much stress can place you at a much higher risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. 

Anxiety and depression also worsen as stress levels rise, making it difficult for you to feel mentally balanced. If your normal method of stress relief involves a pint of ice cream or potato chips (or both), try something more healthful, like 20minutes of meditation or yoga. 

6. Choose Your Supplements Wisely

Many of us head to the drug store on January 1st, convinced that ten different dietary supplements are the key to improving our health. 

It’s true that supplements can help fill in gaps in a poor diet, support different systems and organs, and even support healthy energy levels, but out of hundreds of supplements, which ones really work, and which ones do you actually need? 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about a new supplement. 

  • Is it scientifically backed and research-driven? Many supplements have very little supporting evidence that they actually work. For instance, there’s little proof that taking a multivitamin is beneficial or even needed, unless you are specifically deficient in the vitamins you’re taking. 
  • What other ingredients are in this supplement? Some supplements include a small amount of the nutrient or vitamin you want, and a lot of other ingredients, including fillers that you don't. Omega 3 supplements can contain possible contaminants due to the fish source, including heavy metals, mercury, lead and other toxins.
  • Will it benefit my body? A supplement isn’t useful for you if you simply don’t need it, not to mention the effects of ending up with too much of something in your body. Damage can be caused by taking large doses of supplements or multivitamins. Even taking too much vitamin A, D, or E can lead to potentially harmful side effects. 

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This year, commit to making changes that strengthen the foundation of your overall wellness. 

Add fatty15 to your health stack today with the fatty15 90-Day Starter Kit. You’ll be glad you did. 


Sources:

No safe level of alcohol consumption for brain health: observational cohort study of 25,378 UK Biobank participants|Medrxiv.org 

Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 - The Lancet 

Facts about moderate drinking | CDC 

Added Sugar in the Diet | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health  

Exercise: How much do I need every day? - Mayo Clinic 

10 Secrets of People Who Keep Their New Year's Resolutions - UAB Medicine News 

Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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