19 Healthy Changes to Make in 2019
The New Year is here and it’s time to rev up your motivation. Whether your goals include fitness, relationship, or lifestyle improvements, there are many strategies that can help you achieve your resolutions. Here are just a few…
- Realistic Goals
Write down your resolutions in a calendar and then review them every day to track your progress. Establishing realistic goals that you can focus on daily will make a significant difference in your outlook on your New Year’s resolutions.
- New Activities
Find a new exercise you enjoy and make it a habit. Turn a dreaded workout into a fun activity that you’ll actually look forward to doing. Whatever activity you choose, make sure it’s helping you attain your fitness goals. And, most importantly, have fun getting fit!
- Take a Tech Break
Instead of sitting around all day staring at a screen, spend some time working on a hobby, participating in a quality conversation with friends and family or taking in the beauty of nature. You might be surprised at how many things you can do, and how much fun you can have, when taking a break from your devices.
- Balance Your Blood Sugar
Keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day with healthy snacks, green tea, and vitamins and nutrients. Low blood sugar levels starve the brain of the large amounts of energy it needs, which can lead to poor decisions, irritability, and bad behaviors.
- Prioritize Your Goals
If working on all your goals at once becomes overwhelming, set up a hierarchy. Select a few things you absolutely must accomplish, several things you want to complete and many things that would be nice to finish in the future. Not only will this pyramid structure allow you to focus on the essentials, it will also help to reduce the debilitating pressure of trying to juggle so many objectives at one time.
- Find Your Inner Calm
Make time for yourself every day. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh your mind. Repeating simple Loving Kindness Meditations (LKM), like “May I be safe and secure,” can increase positive emotions and decrease negative ones.
- Break the Habit
Smoking, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, can increase your risk of many brain problems, including: memory loss, focus and processing issues, and inappropriate behaviors. Since we just entered a New Year, make it a priority to stop these habits immediately. Alcohol is not a health food and should be used in moderation. Even one glass of wine or a hard alcohol per day can negatively affect the brain and body.
- Learn Something New
Set aside some time every day to learn something new. Einstein said that if someone spends 15 minutes a day learning something new, that person will be an expert in a year! Take a class, try square-dancing, chess, tai chi, yoga, or painting. When the brain stops learning it starts dying, so be intentional at learning new things.
- Clear the Clutter
Why wait until spring cleaning to declutter your house, car and office? Cleaning the spaces where you live and work can help clear your mind. Many people experience a lift in mood when their environment is clean and tidy. Since our physical spaces say a lot about us, take some time to clean things up…and maintain the neatness throughout the year.
- Restful Sleep
If you were one of the many people who sacrificed quality sleep to keep up with the increased demands of the stressful holiday season, now is the time to reset the clock and get back to a healthy sleep schedule. To ensure that you have the energy you need to fast-track your New Year’s fitness goals, it’s recommended that you get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Expand the Rainbow
Did you spend the last few months eating apples, bananas, and root vegetables? Is the monotony making it hard to stick to your diet? It’s a New Year, so expand the rainbow of healthy fruits and vegetables and incorporate them into your menu.
- Increase Your Motivation
Often called the “motivation molecule,” dopamine gives you the drive and focus you need to be productive. Unfortunately, many people use nicotine, caffeine, and sugar-laden/fat-filled treats to temporarily raise their dopamine levels. However, those unhealthy choices can decrease the natural dopamine production process long-term. Help your brain maintain healthy dopamine levels by eating high-protein foods that provide tyrosine. This nutrient is most available from almonds, bananas, avocados, eggs, beans, fish, lean meats, and poultry.
- Fitness Friend
One of the best ways to achieve fitness goals is to exercise with a partner or in a group. Besides making a workout more fun and interactive, having a buddy to keep you accountable on days when you feel like slacking off can be a huge help. Plus, you’ll be less likely to hit the snooze button when your fitness friend is counting on you to join them at the gym or for a morning jog.
- Start a Supplement Regimen
If one of your resolutions is to jump-start mental focus and energy, consider taking high-quality, brain directed dietary supplements. For starters, take a good multiple vitamin with all the vitamins and essential minerals (except iron and copper, which can be dangerous in a multiple) you need daily. A highly concentrated, ultra-pure omega-3 fish oil is also essential. Then add supplements for other areas of improvement, like mood, focus, or memory.
- Focus on Brain Safety
Even though protecting your head should be a no-brainer, it’s helpful to be reminded of some practical brain safety tips that can reduce your risk of head trauma, such as: avoid high-risk sports where you can hit your head, remember to buckle up when in a vehicle and always wear a helmet when on a motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, snowboard, skis or rollerblades.
- Drink More Water
Every system in the human body needs water to function. Your brain is mostly composed of water, so avoid anything that dehydrates it – such as drinking too much caffeine or alcohol. Being dehydrated impairs performance in tasks that require attention, immediate memory skills, and physical performance.
- Get Outside
Engaging in outdoor activities is important for everyone, especially for those who live a sedentary lifestyle. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding or just taking a walk with a friend, being outdoors has an overall positive effect on vitality. Walking can help clear your mind, improve your mood and burn some calories all at the same time.
- Practice Self-care
Practicing yoga and getting massages can do more than just improve your physical function; they’re both beneficial for improving mood and coping with stress. Massages can lower the stress hormone cortisol while increasing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Yoga can increase brain GABA, reduce anxious feelings and improve overall mood.
- Laugh It Off
Laughter can help reduce the physical effects of stress on the body. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom, listening to a fun podcast on your commute, or chatting with someone who brings joy to your life. Laughing makes you feel good and is beneficial to your overall well-being.
Set yourself up for success in the New Year, and throughout the year, by implementing these strategies to support full brain and body health.
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to give you the motivation you need to do the things you love. To view our full catalog of brain healthy supplements, visit the online store at BrainMD.
Keith is grateful to have the opportunity to write about supplements since many of them have made a dramatic difference in his life. He is often heard around the office saying, “We have supplements for that.”