The time of year when Australians begin thinking about New Year's resolutions is here, and not far behind is when most people give up on those same resolutions! The majority of well-intentioned resolutions are lucky to see out February before we slip back into old and unhealthy habits.
It doesn't need to be like that though – following these simple tips from Discount Drug Stores Professional Services Pharmacist, Melissa Hui, when setting and sticking to your goals can help you achieve a happy and healthy 2019.
Write down your healthy living goals
Committing a goal to paper gives us personal confirmation that we should aim for it and provides a visible reminder of what we're aiming for. Stick a note on your fridge, make it the wallpaper on your phone or even write it in the steam on your bathroom mirror. It'll be a great reminder each day, driving you on to achieve, especially when busy schedules start to take over.
One step at a time
Achieving a healthier lifestyle is accomplished by gradually introducing small changes which turn into everyday habits. That makes seemingly daunting challenges much more realistic. It could mean going out for a 10-minute walk during your lunch break and another short walk when you get home. Also, increasing your incidental exercise can be an easy way to a more active lifestyle, such as vacuuming the house, walking the dog, or taking the stairs instead of the escalators.
Food for thought
Eating healthy doesn't have to mean drinking green tasteless smoothies and just eating salads every day. Consider setting up a meal plan where you set aside an hour or two each week to plan your meals, grocery list and meal preparation. Why not make a little extra for dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch the next day?
Portion control is key to healthy eating – serving dinner on a smaller plate reduces how much you're eating while signalling to your brain that you've had a full portion. I also recommend increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as opting for nuts, lean meat or fish for your protein portion.
If you set out to improve your diet but only include foods you don't enjoy, then you're setting yourself up to fail. Swap in healthier versions of the things you enjoy – try frozen yoghurt instead of ice cream, and introduce natural ingredients instead of processed produce.
Reducing your intake of sugar and salt, even by small amounts, can make a big difference to your health and set you on the road to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Water is vitally important to our bodies and staying hydrated is key to maintaining a healthy body and mind, particularly in the hot summer months. Dehydration can make us feel lethargic - just a 2% drop in your body's water level may contribute to physical and mental tiredness. Water helps flush out toxins, energise muscles, keep our skin hydrated, and maintain normal bowel function and digestion. I recommend trying to drink at least eight cups of water a day. To make that easier and mix things up a little, try adding slices of lemon or kiwi fruit to your water.
Sleep for success
How many of us manage to get a good night's rest? Catching seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night is essential for helping our bodies repair and rejuvenate, allowing us to perform to our best both physically and mentally.
Sleep deficiency has even been linked to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. Help yourself to get a good sleep by getting rid of the distractions – turn off phones, tablets and TVs before going to bed.