Take Control of Your Health in 2017

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Take Control of Your Health in 2017

December is almost half over and a new year is just around the corner. With it come new beginnings, and a fresh clean slate. It is an opportunity to start again

The beginning of a new year seems like a great time to take control of your health.

Each year, after weeks of celebrating and indulging in food, drink, fun, and festivities it has become somewhat customary to make New Year’s Resolutions to improve our health, finances, and overall life.

These resolutions allow us to start off the year with positive intentions and goals.

Unfortunately, the majority of people lose sight of their goals within the first month and give up on their resolutions within the first six months of the year.  Perhaps this has happened to you.  I imagine we would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t, at least once or twice, given up on their New Year’s Resolution.

Why is it that so many people, including you and me, struggle to stick with their resolutions? And how can we make 2017 different?

You Are Not the Problem 

The problem isn’t you, or even the resolution itself (with the exception of off-the-wall resolutions).  Most people are perfectly capable of sticking to and achieving their goals when it comes to health and wellness.

So, if it isn’t you or your resolution, then what is the problem?  It’s all the stuff following you like old ideas, regrets, self-image, unresolved issues, and physical and mental clutter and toxicity.  These things weigh you down, making it difficult to move forward.

A new you requires a new approach.

Take Charge of your Health in 2017 

You can do it.  No matter how many times you’ve made resolutions and didn’t follow through, this is a new year.  When you were just a baby learning how to walk, you fell down thousands of times, but you still kept trying.  You kept your eye on the prize and never quit.  And look how great you walk today!

This year, approach your health goals with the enthusiasm, optimism, and expectations of a toddler.  Throughout the year, you will stretch, stride, thrive, learn, and grow into being your best.

A Clean Slate 

One big mistake that we all make is simply assuming that waking up in the New Year gives us a clean slate.  Perhaps we were misled somewhere along the line.  When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, there is no magical spell cast upon us.  Contrary to popular belief, the slate does not clean itself.

This is where most people fail.  They jump into their new resolutions with both feet, but forget that they are dragging all of their baggage from the previous year with them.  Just like you can’t build a castle on quicksand, you can’t build your health on a toxic foundation.

In Eastern tradition, much of the work to prepare for the New Year takes place in the final month of the old year to ensure a fresh start.  In our Western culture, this very important component is overlooked, setting us up for failure.

Clear up your clutter 

This year, before even deciding what your resolutions will be, take some time to attend to the clutter in your life.  This includes physical clutter in your workspace, home, and car, as well as the emotions in your mind and toxins in your body.

Scan your entire world, taking note of the things left unfinished, objects you no longer use, and items that no longer serve your needs.  Finish the projects if they are worthwhile, and discard the rest, along with the items that are just taking up space.  To avoid being overwhelmed, start with one area, like a desk or a closet.  Donate, give, or throw away things that you no longer need.  Once all the clutter has been cleared then move on to the next.

In addition to those physical spaces, it’s equally important to clean up your mental/emotional space.  Review your relationships.  Think about those who you associate with.   Are they supportive, kind, and motivating?  Do they help you to learn and grow?  Does spending time with them bring you joy and peace?  If not, do what you can to resolve any issues, forgive, let go, and move on.

Don’t forget to evaluate the single most important relationship in your life:  the one you have with yourself.  Are you clear, honest, and kind?  Or do you beat yourself up and call yourself names?  Learn to love yourself, including your so-called “flaws.”  That which makes us unique is also what makes us beautiful.  Let go of old labels and self-limiting thoughts.  Saying things like, “I have a sweet tooth,” or “I always cheat on diets” become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Instead, embrace new challenges, celebrate your own successes, and look at any shortcomings as an opportunity to grow.  Much more good can be done with self-love than with incrimination and blame.

Create a Health Wish List 

Once your slate is clean, take out a piece of paper and list the things in regards to your health that you would like to accomplish in 2017.  Don’t edit or limit your list, just write down whatever comes to mind, even if it seems too lofty or unattainable.

Have you always dreamed of running a marathon?  List it, even if you currently can’t run around the block.  Maybe you’d like to fit back into your wedding dress, but none of your past diet attempts have worked.  Put it on the list.  Want to reverse your type 2 diabetes, live pain free, clear up your skin, be less dependent on medication, or fix your digestive problems?  Put it on the list!

Know your Why 

Once you have made your big lofty list of 10 or so ultimate health goals, take a few moments to really think about each of them.  Write down your reason for each goal and why it is important for you to achieve it.  How will accomplishing this goal change your life?  Will it influence how others view you and how you view yourself?  What impact will it have on your family and friends?  What opportunities will open up for you, and what experiences might you miss out on if you fall short of your goal?

Be sure to take a pen and paper and write out each of these goals along with why they are important to you.  Don’t skip this step.  Don’t do it in your head.  Putting the words on paper allows you to complete full thoughts and to focus on each item in its entirety.  The actual act of writing it out on paper really makes a difference in your success.

The research is conclusive.  A recent study done at the Dominican University in California involved goal-setting with 267 participants.  The research concluded that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

Choose the three goals on your list that have the greatest importance in your life.  Once achieved, these goals will have the greatest impact on your life and make achieving many of your other goals easier.

Take the time to pull out a new piece of paper and rewrite your top three goals and why they are important to you.  You will be referring back to this list often throughout your journey.  Make a copy and keep it in your wallet or purse.  Keep a copy in your desk drawer, and post a copy on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator.  Read the list in its entirety at least once each day.  Each time you see it, you will have a renewed focus and commitment to achieving the items on it.

Learn the HOW

Now you have a clear picture of where you want to go and why you need to get there.  All that’s left is to figure out the “how.”  In some cases, this could be very easy.  For instance, if you eat doughnuts for breakfast every morning and your dinner is handed to you through your car window in a paper bag, it might be pretty clear that these two habits need to change if you are going to improve your health.  You could adopt a real food diet, eating only natural, whole foods.  But here is the tricky part: Which foods should you eat, when should you eat them, and in what amounts and ratios in order to get the best result?

Maybe you are already eating healthy foods and still aren’t getting the results that you had wished for.  What if you are following your doctor’s instructions, but your condition is not improving? What if you are putting in the time at the gym, but your fitness isn’t improving?

Could the problem be that you just do not know the HOW?  Maybe the reason why you haven’t achieved your goals in the past isn’t a lack of willpower or commitment.  What if you simply were not taking the right steps to achieve your goal?

It’s not your fault.  There is so much conflicting and misleading information out there.  On top of that, each one of us is quite unique.  We all have different biochemistry, have been exposed to different environments, and require different things to help us operate on an optimum level.

What is the secret to learning the HOW that will get you to your goal fastest? 

TEST, DON’T GUESS 

Sure, you can do your own research and create a plan to vastly improve your health by following a few universal guidelines.  Limit your intake of sodas, juices, and alcohol.  Avoid genetically modified and packaged foods.  Do not consume hydrogenated oils.  Do not eat processed sugar.  Eat more vegetables.  Opt for organic, free-range, wild, and grass fed.  Get 7-8 hours of sleep, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and walk more.

These general guidelines can move you dramatically closer to your goals, depending on where you are starting from.  However, in order to truly unlock your optimum health, you will need a more specific plan that identifies which foods to eat and at what proportions, what type of physical activity you should be doing, at what intensity and for how long, what supplements you should be taking to support your body, and what type of stress reduction activities you need to implement.

Stop randomly trying things

You could embark on a long and frustrating journey of trial and error randomly selecting diet plans and exercise programs endorsed by celebrities, bloggers, and TV doctors.  When one program doesn’t produce results, you can move on to the next.  Unfortunately, this approach can be equally as hard on your mental state as it is on your metabolism.

Functional laboratory tests can identify many hidden stressors that could be sabotaging your success in achieving your ultimate goals.  Food sensitivities, intestinal barrier dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, immune dysfunction, liver toxicity, or parasite, yeast, and bacterial infections are factors that can compromise your results, even in the most dedicated individual.

When examined in context with your lifestyle, health history, and stress levels, your test results can help a trained practitioner customize a complete program to move you in the direction of better health and ultimately achieving your goals.

Enlist the Help of an Expert 

Your goals are important to you.  And of course, health is your most valuable and prized possession.  Without your health, you wouldn’t be able to achieve the things you want to in your life and support your family in doing the same.

Is 2017 the year you finally take control of your health?  

If you want it, then YES!  2017 is your year.  Set yourself up for success by enlisting the help of an expert who can help you understand your current health condition, or your starting point.  You need to know where you are starting from if you want to get to where you are going.  Have you ever tried to get directions to point B without knowing where point A is?  It would be virtually impossible.  The same is true for your health.

Once you know where you are starting from, your expert FDN practitioner can coach you through each step of the journey.  The best part of it all is that along the way, you will be learning to listen to your body and getting educated on a complete system of self-care that you can use over and over again to meet your future health goals and help your family achieve theirs, as well.

Of course, your unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices were not formed overnight, and likewise, healthy habits take time and hard work, especially in the beginning.  Health is a lifelong process, and an unbelievably rewarding one.  Having your FDN health coach and mentor at your side can help you make it through the difficult times, renew your focus, and remind you the importance of each step you take.

We can accomplish much more when we are encouraged, healthy, and happy.  Surrounding ourselves with positive mentors and role models can make even the most difficult to reach goals more attainable.  Are you ready to finally follow through on your resolutions in the New Year?

New Year, NEW YOU!  Your greatest moments are still ahead.  Enjoy and celebrate the opportunity to live, learn, and grow.  May this year be your best year yet!

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