10 Healthy Habits to Start in the New Year
These 10 ideas about how to live healthier and happier in the new year are how I’m planning on making 2017 my best year ever.
1. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are not
Stop eating food just because it’s there, because you're bored, or not full yet. Previous generations may have experienced food scarcity but not today. Cleaning your plate today may cause you to over eat and gain weight. By eating less, not only will you find it easier to maintain a healthy weight but may also live longer as a result.
2. Calm that sweet tooth
Sugar causes insulin spikes which stress the body. These spikes lead to drops in blood sugar (glucose) and can lead to weight gain and heart disease. Artificial sweeteners may not have the calories but studies are starting to suggest that the body does not always know the difference between natural sugars and artificial sweeteners and both cause an insulin spike.
3. The latest car model doesn’t automatically make all older models obsolete.
If it works and is good enough for you to enjoy, keep it. Save the money you would have spent on the latest model for when it breaks or isn’t good enough to get you from point A to point B. The fact is, new cars are terrible investments. You pay a premium for a new car smell and it’s just not worth it. Sure, the sticker price is under $20K, but by the time you’re done financing it, you are paying nearly $50K over 8 years for a car that will lose 10% of it’s value when you drive it out of the dealership. You are smarter to save, buy a used car, and invest the difference in good parts and maintenance.
4. Live below your means.
Keep your living expenses low. Like a business you must keep your operating costs low and maximize your free cash flow. It’s quite simple: money in versus money out. When “money in” is greater than “money out” your cash flow increases and you can save money. When “money in” is less than “money out” or “money out” is greater than “money in” your free cash is non-existent and your are draining any savings you may have.
5. Get more exercise.
Exercise is good for your body and even better for your mind. For men and women alike, exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves the body’s metabolism. This results in a reduction in your risk of becoming overweight and may lower your stress threshold. Exercise also fortifies your bones, boosts motivation, and promotes neuroplasticity. For women, it can calm hormonal fluctuations and improve PMS. Scientists still do not know what causes PMS, but evidence suggests it is related to changes in hormone levels. During menstruation, hormone levels can spike up to 50 times their normal level, producing symptoms that can range from the minor to severe. Exercise can reduce the negative symptoms associated with PMS and help restore the balance of hormones in the body. What is the best kind of exercise and what is the best time of day to exercise? The answer is simple — it is the kind you like to do and at the time of day that works best for you. What’s essential is that You Do It!
6. Drink less alcohol.
Alcohol, in moderation, is not unhealthy and may have some positive health consequences. In general after the first glass, we are just indulging ourselves. While exercise may not provide the rush of morphine for an addict or buzz of vodka for an alcoholic, it’s effects instill a more general sense of well-being that can reduce cravings and reduce symptoms associated with addiction and withdrawal. The rush of exercise may itself be habit forming but there are fewer negative health consequences and they are much more manageable.
7. Have less, worry less
Unless you’re a family of 10, you probably don’t need a 5 bedroom house with three and a half baths, a sunroom, and man cave. You will spend too much to buy it and too much on utilities and maintenance. And the reality is that you will spend most of your time in your bedroom and living room with a few stops along the way at the bathroom and kitchen.
8. Learn a new skill
A skill is not a hobby. A skill is something that takes time to get good at. It is not something you will get credit for in the beginning but if you stick with it after some time you might begin to excel. Any skill can be useful when you least expect it.
9. Don’t burn bridges
No one is born with a map for their lives that they can follow with confidence and certainty that they will ‘never become lost’. Relationships will come and go for countless reasons, both good and bad. There will be plenty of fires to put out, no need to light more of your own. Learn to walk away gracefully and with poise. You never know what relationships you may need and will be grateful for them should you ever need to reconnect with them to ensure that you will ‘never become lost’.
10. A good mattress matters.
By the time you get off this ride called life you will have spent close to a third of your time in bed. Sleeping is an essential restorative part of healthy living. Invest in a good mattress and replace it when the warranty runs out. Waking up with aches and pains from a crappy mattress is no way to start the day.