I have never been a fan of New Year's resolutions because as Christians we begin anew every day. We don't do it just once a year. No matter how badly we mess-up at any given time, in Christ we can be forgiven, and find in Him the strength and the power to overcome.
We don't have to wait until Jan. 1 to start over. Thanks to the grace of God, we can start fresh with every new sunrise.
Nevertheless, the collective conscious of our nation, even the world, addresses the concept of self-improvement at this time of year. So why not take advantage of this attention to getting better and point-out some of the changes we can make that will yield the greatest results.
1. SLEEP. Get at least eight hours a night. Sleep deprivation is linked to overeating, reduced cognitive function, and lower immunity.
2. EXERCISE. Shoot for an hour a day, six days a week, both cardiovascular (breathing heavily) and weight training. Exercise reduces stress, which is a known killer. It also makes your cells functionally younger, aids in weight management, and improves balance. Weight training especially improves bone health and increases metabolism.
3. WATER. Drink about 64 ounces each day. Schedule it so you don't forget and spread it out. For example, drink a bottle in the morning with your vitamins, another before you eat lunch, and a third when you work out in the evening.
4. SUPPLEMENTS. Start with a multivitamin, make sure to add calcium, Vitamin D, fish oil (with at least 750 mg. of DHA) to reduce inflammation, coconut oil (1-2 TBSP a day) for brain health and to fight infection, two baby aspirin to reduce inflammation, vitamin C which helps fight colds, CoQ-10 for heart health (for people over 40).
5. PRAYER. It lowers blood pressure and reinforces the feeling that we are connected to something bigger than ourselves, which is proven to improve longevity. Most importantly, PRAYER WORKS and is a blessing to you and to God.
6. TRUST. In God, that is. This is the opposite of worry. Worry causes stress, which is a known killer. Jesus COMMANDED us not to worry. It's a sin. Sometimes we forget that. Think about these scriptures:
• Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your path. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
• Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. ~ Matthew 6:33
• All things work together for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28
7. LOVE. Connecting with others is great for your overall health. It lowers your stress level and has been proven to increase longevity. Focusing on giving, rather than getting, increases positive emotions and increases your immune system.
8. NO TRANS FATS. These food additives are poison, if you ask me. They have been linked to obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Do not believe the "no trans fats" label on the package because most times it's not true. Read the list of ingredients. If you see a "HYDROGENATED" oil, don't eat it!
Again: the key word is "hydrogenated," which is easy to remember when you know that a trans fat is a fat that has been chemically altered by infusing it with hydrogen. Trans fats are not natural, they are man-made. They have no business inside our bodies.
9. NO SUGAR. I could go on for days about what's wrong with ingesting sugar. But suffice it to say, the less the better. Not just table sugar, any sugar. White, brown, even pure honey that the bees make in your own back yard. You don't need sugar. In fact, eating too much sugar is ruining the health of our nation, even the world.
Don't eat anything with HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in it, or any other syrup, sugar, fruit juice concentrate, etc., anything that is classified as a sugar.
10. FLOSS. Believe it or not, neglecting to floss has been linked to heart disease and cancer and other health concerns because it causes deadly inflammation. Flossing daily prevents gingivitis, gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay.
These things take discipline! But God has given us a spirit of discipline. Ask for His help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is His will for us, after all. Stick with it for three weeks. That's the length of time psychologists estimate it takes for form a habit. Once you last three weeks you will notice how great you feel, and look, and it will motivate you to continue.