The New Year is a perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months and assess which habits you want to take with you, and which ones you want to leave in 2013. Yes, resolutions can be hard to keep, but they don’t have to be.
It takes 21 days to make a habit and only one day to break it, so keep your focus. To ensure success, follow these simple rules:
Create realistic goals and strategies.
Set a goal you know you can keep. If you are trying to eat more vegetables, don’t start by gorging yourself. Pace yourself.
Keep it simple.
If you aren’t used to eating something, try gradually adding it to your diet. Not a fan of greens? Try mixing a small amount of frozen spinach to smoothies. Not sure you’ll like quinoa? Add a scoop to salads to help get used to the taste and texture.
We need to accept the fact that we followed the same lifestyle for a very long time and change isn’t always easy. Remember that it’s OK to slip up sometimes – just remember to get back on track.
Ready to get started? Here are five easy, heart healthy resolutions for every lifestyle.
1. Drink More Water
You’ve heard it time and again, but the fact remains: Drinking the right amount of water is a key ingredient in staying healthy. If you’re drinking more water, you’ll have less room for sugary sodas – which is a good thing. Many people forget the cheapest drink is readily available in our houses – water!
2. Go Green
Make 2014 the year of the kale chip – not the tortilla chip. By keeping your cabinets stocked with heart healthy fruits and vegetables you are in better shape to stick to your resolution. And if fresh doesn’t work with your schedule or habits, remember you can get frozen or canned. Just be sure to rinse canned fruits and vegetables, as they may contain added salts and sugars.
3. Eat Seasonally
Good for your budget and waistline, eating seasonally means you are getting food at it’s peak performance and flavor level. Additionally, you’ll be supporting your local community and farmers, which is always a great resolution as well.
4. Cut out Processed Food
Just do it. Decide that 2014 is going to be the year you say no to aspartame, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. In addition to chemicals you’re body doesn’t need or want, processed foods are full of added salt. Higher salt intake puts you at risk for high blood pressure. In fact, 75 percent of the salt in the average American diet comes from salt added to processed food and restaurant food, according to the American Heart Association. So take control and cut out salt wherever you can.
5. Eat More Fiber
Crucial to heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease, fiber is easy to add to your diet. Whole grains are filled with fiber, which makes digestion easier and helps you feel fuller when you’re done eating – both key factors in weight management.