Updated Dec. 9, 2007 – Summer’s heat is long gone. Winter's cold is chilling the air. The feeling of change is in the air. So, why not take a fresh look at the resolutions you set this year to see what you need to tune up for next year?
Whether you signed up for “A Healthy BET Fitness Challenge” or made a New Year’s resolutions to get fit, chances are your goals could use some tweaking. Take a few minutes now to look at where you began the year, how far you’ve come and where you’d like to be.
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Take care of number one
Many of us take such good care of our families and all those around us that we forget the most important person to care for – ourselves. But if you’re not at your healthy best, you’re not going to have the full energy and resources to help your loved ones, either. When was the last time you had a medical checkup? Are you on track with self-tests, such as a monthly breast self-exam – or, if your doctor has recommended them, blood sugar tests or asthma checks?
Give your medical records a check-up. If you’re due for a routine physical, dental checkup or regularly scheduled tests, like a blood pressure or cholesterol screening, make those appointments today. Write the appointments in your calendar – including the follow-ups this year and next.
Nourish your body
Make a commitment to eat more home-cooked, healthy meals by doing some advance planning. Set aside time on the weekend to batch-cook a few healthy staples that you can use all week long; roast or steam vegetables and potatoes; broil a chicken or two; wash and dry salad greens and store in a zip-close bag lined with a paper towel to keep your salad fixings fresh for up to a week. Don’t forget to boil up a pot of leafy greens (add smoked turkey or a chicken leg for flavor), or cook a batch of brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.
Resolve to sit the family down for meals together at least a few times a week and everybody will benefit. Studies show that children in families who eat together regularly tend to eat more healthfully, getting more fruits and vegetables and fewer fried foods and sodas. They also report significantly less substance abuse, better school performance and fewer emotional problems than those who don’t.
Soothe your soul
Between job demands, taking kids to school and activities, planning and cooking meals – not to mention housework chores – your day is already chock full. With all the stresses a “normal” day can bring, it’s easy to forget that your body needs some quiet time just to take stock, reflect and breathe. Taking some time back for yourself can help you feel more in control, and give you some perspective on the day’s demands. You’ll feel more balanced – and better able to cope.
Set aside some “me time” every day, even if it’s only five minutes. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably and take some deep, calming breaths. No time? Try getting up 15 minutes earlier, or carve out time for a calming bath or shower before bedtime. Why not combine your personal time with healthy activity? Go for a walk with inspiring music in your headphones, or do stretches or floor exercises while enjoying your favorite TV or radio program.
Give your body the moves it needs
Your body craves daily movement, just like it craves good food, fresh air and sunshine. You can make a commitment to be more active every day. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of any activity that gets your heart pumping faster, whether it’s walking, jogging, biking or dancing more!
Keep an exercise diary, if you’re not doing it already. It can be as simple as writing on a calendar you’re already keeping, or use a separate, daily journal or notebook. Give yourself credit for the activity you do, and you’ll help motivate yourself to do more.
You’re worth it!
Just by reading this article, you’ve already taken five minutes to do something good for yourself today. Congratulations! Nurturing yourself can be that simple, and that empowering. Here’s to your fresh start on a healthier, more balanced life. It all begins with you. (For more help, read: 5 Ways To Bust Out of Exercise Barriers.)