June 26th, 2019

To Your Health: Realistic goals can be invigorating and healthy

By Gillian Slade on December 31, 2018.

There is something uniquely exciting about standing on the threshold of a new year; it is like a new page, a new chapter, a chance to start again or in a new direction.

I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions because those invariably don’t last and that can be rather depressing.

On the other hand making a fresh start with realistic goals can be invigorating and healthy. The key is starting small enough so that you have a reasonable chance of success.

If you hate exercising and are stressed about all the bills arriving from overspending for Christmas do not run out and buy a gym membership and go shopping for exercise wear. You are unlikely to succeed and your real motivation is more about spending money or the hype around your goal.

Perhaps you could manage a 20-minute walk four days a week and when it is too cold or too icy to be out of doors you can run up and down the stairs in your home for 10 minutes instead.

If you can’t face changing your diet to include a range of vegetables everyday, perhaps a smoothie for breakfast with a bunch of spinach and fruit is something you could manage. There is no need to buy a juicer or fancy blender when a handheld blender can do the job.

If you are battling to reduce your sugar intake you could perhaps stop having sugar in the house and have alternatives such as honey or coconut sugar as an alternative. Once you have achieved that goal you could slowly eliminate honey and so on.

Mental health can be high on the list in a new year. For some the stress of bills arriving is overwhelming. You can’t change those bills, the money is already spent but you will need to get a handle on how you spend so that you can pay the bills.

Your first priority will be to reduce your spending to well below you net income. This can be a tough process, it is hard to change your standard of living and you may think there is no area where you could cut back.

You may need to stop buying coffees at restaurants and take a Thermos of coffee to work instead. You may need to stop eating out completely and switch to an egg on toast once or twice a week for supper. You may need to go from a two-car family to one vehicle eliminating the monthly payment and insurance on one vehicle. It will mean some juggling of schedules and it will not always be convenient to liaise with a partner for a ride but it will save you money.

I recommend you keep a daily record of what you spend your hard earned money on. This will help you see where the money is going and where you can cut back.

A great stress reliever is finally seeing your credit card debt coming down and finally having some money in the bank for unforeseen expenses.

Here’s wishing you Happy New Year, success in making the changes you need and here’s To Your Health.

To Your Health is a weekly column by Gillian Slade, health reporter for the News, bringing you news on health issues and research from around the world. You can reach her at gslade@medicinehatnews.com or 403-528-8635.

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