As promised, this week I'm sharing my last 5 health promoting resolutions that have nothing to do with dieting or weight loss. In fact, these last 5 resolutions don't even have anything to do with fitness or physical activity. And if I'm honest, these are the habits I find most difficult to stay consistent with. Let's dive in, shall we?
Book the Appointments You've Been Putting Off. I know a lot of us (me included) are behind schedule for many of our preventative health appointments since the pandemic and the closure (and subsequent back up) of so many health services. This would include booking appointments at the optometrist and the dentist, scheduling a yearly physical, and/or going for routine blood work. It could also include preventative testing such as mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams, PAP tests, and/or other sexual health testing if applicable. While these things are often uncomfortable and usually require time away from our regular routines, preventative testing means we can catch and treat health risks earlier, which drastically improve our chances of a complete recovery. Take colonoscopies, for example: according to Cancer Care Ontario, 9 in 10 people can be cured of colon cancer when caught early (1). If booking certain appointments make you anxious, try booking them all at once. I find it helpful to have someone with me during difficult tasks (called body doubling), so feel free to enlist the help of a trusted loved one.
Improve Your Sleep Hygiene. Sleep hygiene is essentially the habits, behaviours, and environmental aspects of sleep that can be changed. This can include anything from your bedtime routine, your daily habits, and even the environment that you sleep in. If improving your sleep sounds appealing to you, start by auditing your current habits. Ask yourself things like: What time do you usually go to bed? How many hours are you sleeping daily (on average)? What time do you use screens until? What is your routine leading up to bedtime? Where are you normally sleeping? How dark is your room? What temperature is that room kept when you are sleeping? How noisy is it when you are trying to sleep? What are your stress levels like? When are you consuming caffeine (in relation to when you go to sleep)? How much caffeine do you consume daily (on average)? When are you consuming alcohol (in relation to when you go to sleep)? How much alcohol do you consume daily (on average)? Once you have an idea about your current sleep hygiene, choose 1 thing to work on improving. And remember, small changes are more likely to lead to lasting improvement!
Try Getting Organized the Night Before. Getting things ready the night before has been a game changer for me. My mornings just run that much more smoothly when I've gotten as much as I can done the night before. And for me, a less stressful start to my day means I'm heading into the workday feeling calmer, more in control, more patient, and helps ensure the success of my other health goals, such as eating health supporting meals and snacks and better managing my stress levels. Packing your lunch (and snacks) the night before, getting your coffee ready, laying out a place setting for your breakfast, preparing any breakfast things you can, even choosing what you're going to wear are all great ways to start. And I don't know who needs to hear this but telling yourself you'll fill up on gas tomorrow morning is NEVER a good idea.
Plan Your Meals for the Week. Similar to getting organized the night before, if you can take a few minutes once a week to plan out the next several meals, it can make a huge difference to your day. And if you happen to have made any nutrition-based goals this year, meal planning is a fantastic way to help ensure your success. Here's what works best for my household: over the weekend, we plan the following 7 nights of meals, based on what we have in our freezer, as well as what's on sale that week. I try to minimize cooking during the week, so I double the recipes whenever I can. In doing so, I've cut down my cooking to about 3 meals a week. Based on the menu, grocery shopping can be more intentional (and more budget friendly), I don't spend my afternoons trying to figure out what to make for dinner, and I don't have as many "I don't have any chicken thawed!" moments.
Manage the Media You're Consuming. This is a tough one! You might automatically think of social media, but consider news, television, and internet consumption as well. Managing your media consumption should start with an honest look at what types of media you are consuming, how much time you're spending on it each day, and perhaps most importantly, how it makes you feel before and after.
Whatever goals you decide to set yourself for 2023, set yourself up for success by keeping them realistic. Setting manageable goals will help improve our chances for success because we are more likely to keep doing them. And remember, making small, consistent changes will lead to big results!
Cheering You On,
1. Cancer Care Ontario. (n.d.). Screening for colorectal cancer. Retrieved from