As we begin the New Year, now is a good time to press the reset button and to start developing healthy habits that can help you to live healthy lives and prevent diseases especially Non-communicable diseases. For those of us who already have healthy habits, this is the time to commit to maintaining these habits.
The reason many of us do not achieve the goals we set for ourselves is because we have either not established the healthy habits to do so or because we have adopted unhealthy habits that get in the way. A habit is an acquired behavior pattern that you follow so regularly that it becomes almost involuntary. The reason habits are so powerful is because they happen subconsciously and your environment is usually arranged in a way to support that habit.
A habit is not an isolated action. There is a cue that you follow to engage in the habit. This means that you can craft the cue and arrange your environment to eliminate bad habits and incorporate healthy lifestyle habits that lead to success and fulfillment.
There are a number of healthy lifestyle habits that lead to less pain and inflammation, more energy and a longer lifespan. Keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle is not just physical – it also incorporates your mental and emotional health. Though they may take some time to develop, they are well worth the effort as your quality of life is largely dependent on your health.
One important healthy habit is starting by eating a healthy diet. It is one of the most essential healthy habits. Eliminate sugars, caffeine and flour-based products like pasta and bread. You can introduce high-quality fats like olive oil and avocados. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits. Consume more seafood, poultry, and eggs for protein. Make permanent changes in your diet. You will see long-lasting changes that fad diets just can’t achieve.
Exercise is the second pillar of healthy lifestyle habits. The benefits of exercise are endless. These include, a stronger heart, increased bone density and muscle mass, better balance, a sharper mind, elevated mood, lowered stress – the list goes on. You don’t have to be a marathon runner – a brisk, 30-minute walk five times a week is all it takes to start seeing the benefits of exercise.
Sleep is just as vital to the body as healthy habits like eating well and exercising. The body uses deep REM sleep to repair cells and return its functions to a baseline. That’s why getting enough sleep is linked with better mood, concentration, memory and more. Don’t skimp on sleep. Achieving your goals depends on it. As you plan your New Year, make sure that you also plan to be healthier.