21 Lifestyle Tips for a Great 2021
I’ve seen many tips throughout my 16 years as a nutritionist, so I’ve combined a lot of them into the below. Twenty-one tips for 2021 😊. Go ahead and read these all the way through, but when it comes to making lasting changes, focus on them one at a time. You have a whole year; you can focus on building one new habit every two weeks! By incorporating the below lifestyle habits you’ll be healthier mind, body, and spirit.
- Eat Healthy Foods –People are varied in their preferred eating (omnivores, paleo, pescatarian or other) but everyone can ensure that what they put in their mouth is whole, nutritious, unprocessed, low in sugar, high in fiber, and organic.
- Stay Positive – As the saying goes, an optimist, even when wrong, is happier. Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years. 3
- Talk to Yourself – Instead of listening to your inner complaints, fears, doubts, and put-downs, talk to yourself with words of love, politeness, patience, grace, and encouragement.
- You need both movement and exercise – Move daily by taking walks, stretching, doing yoga or other light activity AND exercise with weightlifting and aerobic activity a few days a week. Regularly sitting for extended periods of time may lead to insulin resistance which can cause type 2 diabetes and obesity; 2 major risk factors for heart disease.4
- Take a daily “Thank You Walk” – You can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time. Feel blessed, and you won’t be stressed. Just going on a short 5-minute walk to look around can help you feel appreciative. Remember gratitude is the best attitude.
- Get more sleep – Research proves that sleep impacts memory, brain performance, learning ability, mood, insulin resistance, blood pressure, inflammation, weight and more. Long term sleep deprivation can lead to all sorts of cognitive challenges and literal changes in brain physiology.7
- Master your stress – Stress affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Practice both mindfulness and mastery over your stress. Mindfulness means paying attention to thoughts and feelings without judging them. Mastery over your stressors involves learning from them and what they can teach you.
- Focus on Hydration – All body processes depend on water. When hydrated you have more energy and an increased metabolism. Too little or too much water isn’t healthy. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces every day and drink between meals to keep your digestive juices strong during mealtime.
- Remember your why – Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same; half the battle is won in the mind. What are your motivations? Without getting concrete about that, you won’t have the strength to do what it takes to change your life.
- Set your environment up for success – Stock your fridge and pantry with only healthy choices (eliminate temptations), ensure your workout clothes are clean, create a meal with easy meals on nights you have less time, get the whole house involved, get support and/or accountability from others, etc.
- Don’t waste your energy – Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the past, negative thoughts, perseverating on things with no gains, and/or things you can’t control.
- No energy vampires allowed – Gandhi said, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet,” and neither should you!5
- Get outside – Besides the need for vitamin D (your levels should be between 70-90 ng/mL), nature is a natural relaxant. Even a photograph of nature has been shown to calm the amygdala and impulse response. This is why dentists have nature posters on their ceiling, it works!
- Baby steps – You can untangle your bad or negative habits and/or build new healthy ones through the same approach – small incremental changes. A great book on this research-based approach is Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg.6
- Love the process – Remember there is no such thing as an overnight success. Love the process and you’ll love what the process produces.
- Read more – Read more books that you enjoy, you don’t have to always pick ones to learn from, give yourself some time for fantasy, science fiction or something that brings you happiness.
- Focus on “get-to” vs. “have-to” – Each day focus on what you get to do; life is a gift, not an obligation, and that simple re-wording changes your attitude and energy around what you are doing.
- Connect with others – We hear about veggies, exercise, and sleep often, but how often to you hear that social connection is just as critical? One landmark study showed that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.8 Send a friend a card.
- Get back up – We all make mistakes. The next time you “fail” remember that it’s not meant to define you. It’s meant to refine you.
- Smile and laugh – Laughter and smiling both reduce stress and anxiety; they are natural anti-depressants and will attract happy people to you. Even better, share something that makes you laugh with others.
- Don’t seek happiness, instead, enjoy the ride – If you live with love, passion and purpose, happiness will find you. We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.
- EZBalance powerpoint on Lifesytle Needs for Better Health
- JonGordon.com New Year Tips – www.jongordon.com
- Optimism and your health – Harvard Health
- No Energy Vampires Allowed – YouTube
- Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything: Fogg, PhD, BJ: 9780358003328: Amazon.com: Books
- How getting rest helps repair your brain Psychology Today (May 2020)
Erin Williams, MSN CN LMP, is the founder of EZBalance.com, a health and wellness company established in 2001. Erin has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Purdue, a master’s degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, and is currently studying to become a Functional Medicine Practitioner. Erin enjoys sharing her love of natural health and wellness with people through lectures, blogs, and consultations.