Last year, Kris Erdman, our Vice President of Clinical Services, wrote a blog on New Year’s Resolutions that emphasized continuous improvement (or “CI”) through short-term, attainable objectives.
Instead of the grand scale dreams of working out five days every week, quitting smoking and/or drinking "cold turkey," or losing 50 pounds, Erdman borrowed from the popular "CI" corporate streamlining model that focuses on making small incremental improvements.
This CI model has great applications for those on a journey to improved outcomes, whether we are confronting obesity, type 2 diabetes, or other chronic conditions.
Taking small steps each week to lower your added sugar intake, increase your exercise by just 10 more minutes, and decreasing "couch time" in favor of healthier activities (like reading, cleaning, or trying new recipes) can lead to both healthy gains in the short term, and significant strides toward greater fitness in the long term!
Perhaps the biggest impact of a continuous improvement regimen is the enhancements to self-esteem throughout each step of the process. Knowing that we can establish and achieve short-term attainable goals every week (or two weeks) gives us the confidence to take the next step on the journey!
To help you with your 2018 mission, here are some great New Year's Resolutions from Happy New Year 2018. Don't overwhelm yourself ... just focus on one resolution at a time. Master that and then build on it.
- Start to practice meditation.
Meditating helps improve your outlook on life, reduces stress and decreases anxiety.
- Learn something new every day!
Striving to improve our knowledge is good exercise for the brain and helps us better understand the world around us. Learning about new recipes and diet tips (like good carbs and good fats!) can also help improve our physical health.
- Eat fewer calories.
This is an oldie but goodie, and now there are new label requirements that can help you lower your caloric intake while you shop! Lowering your intake of added sugars in your diet will also lead to consuming fewer calories in so many different ways.
- Get more quality sleep.
It is not just about the hours but the quality of your mattress and pillows. Having a planned pre-bedtime routine is also essential. Check out the National Sleep Foundation for great ideas on improving your rest ritual.
- Watch less TV!
Cutting out even an hour of TV viewing each day in favor of healthy value-added activities (like walking) can do wonders for your overall health.
- Stop eating fast food.
This is a hard one, but if you have to go fast, pick the chains that are more proactive about listing their ingredients and calorie counts so that you can choose healthier options best suited for your diet.
- Start saving money.
Easier said than done, but if you are trying to lose calories, start setting aside the money you would normally spend on sodas, sweets and bad carb snacks.
- Other simple resolutions include ...
Be more grateful, forget the past, meet new people and enjoy the little things. Nurturing yourself is the best compliment to every small victory!
Trust the process and celebrate all the small incremental improvements you are making. This will lead to a very prosperous 2018. A new year and new life can start now and stretch well beyond the next 365 days!