Healthy habits key to achieving lifestyle goals

Goal-setting is required to help stick to our New Year’s resolutions. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Goal-setting is required to help stick to our New Year’s resolutions. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
How are those New Year’s resolutions tracking?

When we want to live our dream life, there does need to be a focus on health and wellbeing so that we have all the health and energy to make our goals happen.

The common denominator in all high achievers is they set goals. They aren’t complacent, they are always striving for something better and more rewarding. They have both short and long-term goals and these are in sync with each other, heading in a positive direction.

Some simple steps to support us to achieve our goals include:

1. Sleep - really prioritise this. Work towards reducing caffeine intake dramatically and remove sugar, processed foods and alcohol for a specific time period to see if this helps you. You may need to replace your pillow or mattress if it’s been a while. When we sleep better, we get up refreshed, feel like exercising so then we eat better, have more balanced blood sugar levels, mood and energy and by the end of a productive day, you sleep well again.

2. Nutrition - there is no avoiding this one - it is plain and simple, when we nourish our bodies with plenty of vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, eggs, nuts, seeds and lean cuts of meat and seafood, we function better. We look better. We have better energy. It is worth it. Ditch empty calories in drinks and choose mainly water and herbal teas. Look for variety and choose seasonal fruits and veggies to get the most nutrients. Organic chicken liver pate is a wonderful source of brain-supporting nutrients and iron so could be added to a shared platter. With the increasing rise in price of basic whole foods, planting a few vegetables in raised beds or pots has never looked more appealing. Storing vegetables cut up in the fridge can improve snack choices; Adding greens such as zucchini and spinach to smoothies helps to improve intake also.

3. Movement - crucial for mental as well as physical wellbeing. It can be as simple as a few short walks around the neighbourhood and build up from there. High-intensity exercise as well as restorative exercises like yoga will challenge the mind and the body and have been shown over and over again to improve health outcomes. A pedometer or watch which gives you your daily step count can be a great tool for keeping you accountable. Aim for 10,000 - 15,000 steps most days.

4. Mindfulness - we are so stimulated by devices so adding some peace and quiet into each day is useful. This may be a cup of herbal tea on rising, while sitting quietly in the living room watching the sunrise, or through a guided meditation app such as Smiling Mind, as you wait in the car at school pickup or even walking in silence, without podcasts and music.

5 Self-talk . - Stop the negative talk - how you talk to yourself impacts your wellbeing. ‘You’ve got this’ and ‘Just keep going’ can be the push we occasionally need.

6. Surround yourself with uplifting people. Research has shown we become the average of the five people we spend most time with. Do a quick audit to see if you are spending time with people who will inspire and support you.

7. Be grateful. There is beauty all around us.

8. Habits - what we do daily decides our future. If we want change, we have to make changes. Habit-stacking can be useful i.e.. find things you already do and add something to it; for example, after going to the toilet, always follow up with a large glass of water to encourage you to drink enough throughout the day.

Adding fruit or greens to smoothies helps to improve our nutrient intake. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Adding fruit or greens to smoothies helps to improve our nutrient intake. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Summer Smoothie

1 cup coconut water

½ cup kale leaves, stems removed

½ cup spinach leaves

½ cup frozen berries 

Mint leaves

1 banana

1 tsp hemp seeds

Optional - protein powder to make it more sustaining

Add to a blender and mix until smooth then enjoy straight away.