January is a big month for most of us. It’s a fresh start of sorts — offering us a chance to reset, create new goals, change up our rhythm of the previous year. It’s usually the healthiest month of the year. Many people choose to start the year with a fast of some sort to cleanse — alcohol for Dry January, the Whole30, a weeklong water fast, or simply intermittent fasting. Gyms are full of people who want to get back into shape after months or years of poor diet and/or exercise and spas are packed with people spending their Christmas money on self-care. However, by now the majority of people who made New Year resolutions have already given up on them and the month isn’t even over.
The truth is, resolutions set us up to fail because we usually set high expectations without any regard for who we are as individuals. Our society has warped our minds to believe the only way to lose weight is by signing up for a yearlong membership at a gym. The thing is, many of us believe we will lose the weight just by paying our membership fee. We don’t actually want to go to the gym and run on a treadmill, so we don’t go. So, if you know this about yourself, why sign up? Instead, ask yourself what you actually enjoy doing and put your time and effort into those activities. Would you rather take a jog in nature? Would you rather roll out your yoga mat and flow in the comfort of your home or join some friends for weekly hot yoga? Would you rather take a dance class with your partner? Would you rather paddle board on the lake or ocean? Would you rather take your kids to a trampoline park and jump around with them? All of these activities will increase your heart rate and release endorphins, brightening your day and checking exercise off your list without ever stepping foot in a gym. We don’t have to force ourselves to do things we don’t enjoy in order to achieve our goals.
As I wrote in my blog at the beginning of last year, “I believe we should look at every day as a new day to grow. It’s then that we will experience small victories, which will build onto one another and lead us to accomplish our big goals.” Having people and tools to encourage you, support you and keep your accountable can make a huge difference in achieving and maintaining goals you’ve created for yourself. As I shared a year ago, the SELF Journal is a great tool to use to support you on your journey toward your goals by helping you spend your time intentionally. Living intentionally will also enable you to experience more gratitude for the people in your life, the things you have and the activities you’re doing every day.
As you’re setting goals for your day, week, month and year, many may seem unattainable or “so far away.” In those moments, it’s beneficial to reflect and acknowledge the growth you’ve accomplished. Where were you 10 years ago? Where are you now? How are you different? How do you envision the next 10 years? The next year? The next 6 months? Then determine what you can do to experience growth you’d like to see. More times than not, doing things that make us uncomfortable will enable us to grow in ways we weren’t even expecting. Steve and I always like to involve ourselves in something that pushes us out of our comfort zones, whether it’s public speaking, learning a new language, dancing with friends, going out to dinner alone or taking a solo vacation. And of course, remember to do the things that keep you comfortable and fill your cup as well: cuddle up with your kids, worship, read a new book, journal your thoughts, meditate, go for a swim, take an art class, go to therapy or get a massage. No matter who you are or what you’re trying to accomplish this year, taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list of goals. We can’t expect to grow if we aren’t watering our soil and we can’t water our soil with an empty watering can.
In order to track your growth, it’s important to know where you begin. If a long-term goal of yours is to achieve optimal health, you should run a baseline of labs so you can target the proper areas you need to focus on without taking any guesses. I suggest running a CBC, CMP, LDH, ESR, CRP, TSH, vitamin D3, HbA1c and ferritin. After you’ve tested, you can assess the labs that are out of range and address the areas that need your attention whether it’s your blood sugar, hormone imbalance or inflammation. Then, you can track your growth in programs such as Heads Up Health and/or by using heart rate variability apps or watches. Jess Kelly, my co-author of “The Metabolic Approach to Cancer,” and Founder and Director at the Oncology Nutrition Institute, and I, are teaching how to use a CBC as a means of testing the state of your terrain and how the $12 blood test can help give you accountability with your health goals or changing your diet. The webinar will air on February 25th at 1pm. If you’re interested, be sure to sign up for our mailing list so you’re notified when the registration opens.
January is an awareness month for Cervical Health, Glaucoma and Thyroid – three very common health conditions. We all think we are healthy until we’re not, so let’s take steps now to test, assess and address before there is a problem. The only cure is prevention.