Sunday, October 16, 2011

Finishing Strong........and Beginning Well!

There is less than 1/4 of 2011 left for us to experience. Soon the familiar sounds of Christmas will be heard and the pace of life will pick up with shopping, cooking, parties, decorating and the like. I was just speaking with my daughter and relaying that in a little over a month Thanksgiving will be here. It's hard to believe, but the end of 2011 is drawing near.

So how have you done with your health goals for this year? Have you nailed them and moved on to other goals? Did you struggle with some and do well with others? Or did you totally blow all of them? Probably most of us fall into the middle category I'd bet. If you have already nailed all your goals then pat yourself on the back for having had a great year. If you really struggled this year, acknowledge it and realize it's time to move forward since there's nothing we can do about what is already past.

I'd like to encourage you a bit here. There is still some time to make a difference in your health this year. No, you may not be able to lose 50 pounds, but you can make a dent in your weight. You may not be working out at all, but by the end of the year you could have a habit of exercising 4x every week. While you may not be able to hit all your goals by the end of the year, you can do some things that set the pace for your upcoming year. If you decide, and that's all it takes is a decision, you can have a whole boatload of new health habits started by December 31, and you finish the year feeling good about yourself. You'll finish the year strong and that will make you proud of your accomplishments. Remember to not take on too much if you are going to try to finish strong, but maybe set up a plan that allows you to do a few new things every week so that you build that momentum. Maybe this week you start walking a few times a week. Maybe next week you start working your eating habits by planning a few healthy meals. The week after that you could add in some massage therapy to help you de-stress and relax. You get the picture. A few steps at a time and come the last week of December you'll be rocking.

I'll caution you with one very important concept. When the holidays arrive, your schedule will not get easier. It will get tougher and tighter as events are put into your schedule, and as opportunities to consume sweet treats multiply like rabbits! Be prepared, make your plans and commit to sticking to them for optimum results.

Now on to next year. NOW is the time to start planning. Your success in 2012 starts NOW. It's time to set your goals for where you'd like to be in a year. It's time now to get those goals written down and start reviewing them regularly so that when January 1 rolls around you already have them ingrained in your brain to the point where you are consistently taking action that can move you closer to achieving them. Too many people wake up January 1 and start thinking about their goals then. That's great, but if you do that you've already lost valuable time. You want to start well, which means hitting the ground running and having that momentum working strongly in your favor. So go buy yourself a notebook, or use your computer to write up your goals and save them. Then start reviewing those goals daily. Make sure they're attainable and measurable so you have a clear idea of what it will look like when you attain them.

Some of us may have no real clue where to start.  Eating and exercising are the two things that usually come to mind when we talk about health goals, so let's start with those two.  How many healthy meals are you currently eating per week?  Remember, healthy meals means eating REAL food, that grows, or was once alive with eyes (meat, fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables).  Can you add in more per week?  How many?  Are you snacking well in between meals?  Can you start preparing healthy snacks to keep with you like nuts, seeds, or a piece of fruit?  Are you exercising at all?  Maybe you can add in one day/week more than you are currently doing.  Maybe you need to have more intense cardio sessions so taking a spin class might be the answer.  

How about your rest habits?  Are you resting well? Do you get to bed at a regular time every night allowing your body to develop good sleep hygiene and better rest?  Are you taking in too much caffeine too late at night to allow your body to rest? Too much alcohol can do the same, keeping you from reaching deep, restful sleep.

How about stress in your life?  Is it under control? What are your plans to offset it?  Do you have a vision or a purpose for your life that energizes you?  Are you giving of your time to worthy causes that make a difference in the lives of people less fortunate?  How are your social interactions?  What can you do to improve them?

Each of these areas that I mention, fall into my oh so often repeated wellness mantra:  To BE Well, we must Eat Well, Move Well, Think Well and Rest Well.  Any time you want to evaluate your health and well being, it should all come back to that simple, but extremely valid saying.  Starting there, and focusing on those 4 areas of wellness, will surely allow you to move in the right direction.  If you need help working on those 4 areas, that is something we do regularly in our office with our wellness coaching so don't hesitate to give us a call!

Finally, considering we are so close to Thanksgiving, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention living a life of gratitude.  This falls under thinking well in my wellness mantra.  Spend some time EVERY day being grateful for the things in your life.  Every night when I go to bed I spend time in gratitude to my God for the things of that day.  It's a great way to end your day and helps to assure good rest too.  To that end, thank you to all of you that read my ramblings monthly and that email me, call me, see me in the community and mention reading them.  I am grateful for you, and the chance to spread the "gospel of wellness" as I call it!

Use this time of year to start moving in the right direction, getting your goals set for the upcoming year, and developing momentum for your upcoming success! That way, you'll finish strong in 2011, and you'll start well in 2012!

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

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