Healthwise: Realistic Health Goals for 2013

As we welcome the month of January 2013, it is the perfect time to reflect on 2012 and set personal and professional goals for the year ahead. Many of us are enthusiastic to set health goals, often related to weight-loss and/or muscle gain, only to be disappointed and riddled with guilt by mid-February because we have let our resolutions fall by the wayside in favour of a good book and a glass of wine. Instead, this year focus on setting one or two realistic goals. After all, quality is better than quantity when it comes to resolutions. By identifying only a few goals, we are more likely to encourage consistency and therefore success.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

If your version of a sensible diet is deprivation of all the treats you love, you will quickly give up on healthy eating. It is much easier to set small goals, such as eating one more fruit and one more vegetable per day. The Canada Food Guide recommends 7 to 10 servings of fruit and/or vegetables per day (depending if you are male or female). The easiest way to consume more produce is by blending them into a smoothie. This way you can easily boost your intake at every meal without noticing.

Stay active

It’s amazing how quickly you can increase your level of physical activity by focusing on staying active throughout the day rather than approaching exercise from an all-or-nothing standpoint. Often we fail our exercise plans when we participate only if we have a full hour or two to commit to a structured activity. Instead, incorporate your exercise throughout the day in ways that add up. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus a few blocks before your usual stop and walk home. Before you know it, you will feel more energized without having to sacrifice too much of your schedule.

Take a break

Start the New Year with a new mindset – one that includes being kind to yourself. Prioritize your mental and physical wellness by taking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. No matter how busy you feel, there will always be more work to do. Invest in your wellness by taking some time out to gather your thoughts. Go for a coffee, take a walk in the fresh air or end your day with a few minutes of meditation. No matter your version of a break, you will thank yourself in the long run.

Get adequate sleep

Many of us choose to sacrifice sleep in favour of fitting more into a schedule that is already bursting at the seams. Unfortunately, lack of restful sleep does build up over time and has a negative impact on mood, immunity and overall productivity. So be sure to rest up. By choosing to sleep more, you become more efficient when you need to get a lot done.