I can’t believe 2019 is right around the corner. It’s always such a great time of year to reassess our lives and what’s important to us. Usually it’s around this time of year that we realize we should be spending more of our precious time with family and friends and taking care of our health. This typically means eating and drinking better or exercising more. Many find the goals they set for the New Year quickly dwindle as the year gets busy and we get back into our same bad habits and routines. To help with that, I’ve put together 7 hacks that you can implement with your family that will help guide you through the holidays and beyond.
1. Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions
According to U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so the odds are against you. Rather than set your family up for failure with phrases like “This year we’re going to exercise more and eat better,” commit to daily, weekly and monthly lifestyle changes. For example, “We are going to drink 60 ounces of water every day.” Or “We are going to work out three times per week.” Set milestone goals, as they are the keys to sustained long term success.
2. Start Small
Whatever your family’s large goal is, break it down into small daily tasks you all can accomplish easily. Instead of, “We are going to exercise more,” decide to take the stairs everywhere you can instead of the elevator. When it comes to food, instead of saying, “We are going to eat healthier,” say “We are going to cook a healthy, gluten-free meal at least three times per week.” For learning something new, instead of, “We’re going to learn a new language,” purchase a CD program and agree to listen to a language CD for 20 minutes every day. The best way to tackle a large goal is to turn it into a series of small, manageable tasks.
3. Get The Hard Stuff Done First
Procrastination is a hard habit to kick and most of us try to put off the hard stuff as long as possible. I say do those things first and get them out of the way. Make exercise your first task of the day so you don’t have to worry about fitting it in later. Plus, you’ll feel really good about yourself all day long because you’ve already accomplished something so great for the day.
4. Replace Screen Time for Goal Time
Take a true inventory of how much time you each are spending in front of a screen – computer, TV, tablet, phone and reassess your priorities. More screen time means less time for everything else, whether that’s spending time with each other or spending time cooking a meal or reading.
5. Find Some Balance
These days, families are busier than ever, sometimes to the point of exhaustion, and the added consideration of finding healthy gluten-free options can be another stressor. Take time to look at your schedules and determine what activities are most important. Consider minimizing your activities so you have more down time to rest and recuperate during the week and focus on your priorities.
6. Go For Walks
Taking the family on a walk regularly throughout the week not only helps with getting much needed exercise in but it also allows the family to bond more than usual. It’s important to leave all technology at home on your walks and really spend time talking with each other. Walks can benefit overall health, since increased blood flow promotes faster healing to all parts of the body—including the digestive tract—thereby speeding any healing where you might need it most.
7. Be Thankful and Grateful
As soon as everyone wakes up in the morning, write down three things that you are thankful for. There is science behind thankfulness and happiness. The more thankful you are, the happier you are, the happier you are, the more likely you are to accomplish your goals for the day. Find out which positive aspects these people with celiac choose to focus on.
I hope these tips help you and your family get focused for the New Year and really put some plans into action that will allow you to reach your 2019 goals. Good luck!
Dr. Liz Cruz is a gastroenterologist, an author, and (most importantly) a parent of 4 children. A Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Cruz is widely praised for her all-natural, holistic approach to wellness and for effectively reducing the need for prescription medicine.
For more information, visit drlizcruz.com.