It’s that time of year again when everyone is ready to start fresh. Maybe in 2018 you’ll give up smoking, or cut out sugar, or be more mindful. Here are five healthy habits to encourage your success and help you achieve your health goals.

1. Be mindful

Mindfulness is foundational to your health. Make it a habit to be present in your life, to have a baseline awareness of what’s going on with your body, and to assess and address what you’re feeling with honesty. Maybe you need to stop and take a deep breath before you turn on your computer and write that email, or pause before you start your car. Sometimes, just taking a second to notice your stress can defuse it.

2. Treat yourself with compassion

Self-deprecation does not help you overcome a bad habit or help you achieve success. Criticizing yourself only makes you feel defeated. Instead of yelling at yourself about how bad you are for blowing your healthy eating goals, or having a cigarette, forgive yourself. Remember, perfection is not the goal, growth is. Relapse is a natural part of the process of change.

3. Pick one goal and start smart

As tempting as it is to try to change your whole life at once, you’ll have more long-term success if you pick one manageable goal and find a way to measure success. Good goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

When you see your own success, you’ll build on it. For example, if your goal is to lower your risk for diabetes, you could start with a short-term, manageable weight loss goal like losing 5 pounds in 4 weeks. Once you achieve it, you set a new goal.

4. Eat what you need

This goes back to mindfulness: we tend to overeat when we’re not thinking about it. And at the same time, some of us tend to get so engrossed in work that we forget to eat until we’re starving. Then we’re in a hurry, thinking with our stomachs, and we make poor, impulsive choices. Think about what you’re putting in your body and make sure you’re giving it adequate fuel to do what it needs to do.

5. Find a stress release exercise

If you can find an exercise you enjoy, you’ll stick with it longer and have a better chance of success. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of reducing your stress. Yes, you want to challenge yourself -- and it takes time for your body to adjust to something new -- so give a new activity a chance. But if running is just not your thing, and you know it, there are plenty of other exercises to try.

Give yourself a gift — just set an appointment

Taking care of yourself is probably the best gift you can give yourself this year. And there’s a Vera coach ready to help you reach your wellness goals.

Is there something you’d like to feel better about two months from now? We can help — and we work at the pace that works for you. Set an appointment today — it’s the first step toward success.

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