The New Year brings an opportunity to evaluate how you’re really doing. It’s time to analyze your own life and habits, and determine specific changes that need to be made to achieve more healthful results. This can give you a chance to integrate positive change into your life.
Let’s begin by taking a look at how you’re doing on the food front. Start by remembering what you had to eat and drink over the past twenty-four hours Write down each type of food you ate and beverage you consumed (yes, all of the food and drink–don’t leave anything out).
Next, indicate if you ate that food for fuel (for its nutritional characteristics) or if you ate it for some other reason. Be sure to think about and identify the reason if you can (comfort, boredom, stress, convenience, rebellion, etc.) Do this also for whatever you had to drink. I have found people sometimes forget a great deal of caloric intake can occur from what they drink. By just switching mostly to consuming water, people have been able to make significant adjustments in their overall daily calories.
What are you able to determine, based upon your eating and drinking? Is the majority of food/drink intake due to nutritional needs, or are you eating/drinking because of other reasons?
Pick out one area where you are eating/drinking for a reason other than nutrition. Think about how you could meet the need that doesn’t require food. Could you take a walk, call a friend, read a book, listen to music? The next time you’re tempted to eat in order to fill that need, switch to plan B.
Next, think about your activity level during the day. Trace over your steps from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. Do you regularly find ways to avoid additional physical exercise? How can you increase your amount of physical activity within your daily routine? I’m not talking about anything major or a structured exercise routine, just ways you can take more steps, move more, during the day.
Write down three immediate ways you can increase your amount of physical movement throughout the normal course of your day. Maybe it’s parking farther away and walking. Or, maybe you take the stairs instead of the elevator. Have you considered taking a walk before work, school, or home activities?
Put ideas and reminders on sticky notes where you’ll see them and begin to integrate them immediately. This will help you to cultivate an active mind-set instead of a sedentary one. It’s just a way for you to look at your world a little differently — at you a little differently. When you see yourself as an active, physical person, you’ll look for ways during the day to reinforce that.
Next, think about how you’re sleeping. If the truth is, no that well, it’s time to intentionally start putting into practice the suggestions listed in this chapter. It may mean you’ll need to get a light-canceling shade for your room, or remove a television, computer, or work space from your bedroom. Or, maybe you need to change when you consume alcohol, or get a new mattress. It may mean you’ll need to intentionally gear down for bed instead of running around like a rodent on a wheel right up until the moment you turn out the light.
It’s possible you may need to cut down on your activities and responsibilities during the day so you can devote the proper amount of time to sleep. Purpose to make the changes you need to prepare yourself and your room for better sleep. The benefits are huge compared to the costs.
All of these things are important to your health. Your health is important to your ability to experience happiness and fulfillment in life. Go back through and identify those changes you are excited about and know you can implement immediately. Put those on your “to do” list right now, and tackle them one at a time. For the others, keep implementations as your goal, and intentionally work toward making these a part of your life. Don’t shortchange yourself in this area. Any effort you put in will bring you exponential dividends.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 36 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.