Like most people, when the New Year comes around I take a personal inventory of the things I can or should be doing better over the next year. My resolutions are often based around having a better work/life balance or organizing my space better, like the garage or that long overlooked drawer in my office with papers that need to be filed.

Resolutions are a lovely thing, and oftentimes very ambitious. How many people make New Year’s resolutions? How many keep them? For how long? 40 to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. By far, the top three New Year’s resolutions are: weight loss, an exercise program, and quitting smoking. Also popular are resolutions dealing with better money management and debt reduction.

The following shows how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:
– past the first week: 75%
– past 2 weeks: 71%
– after one month: 64%
– after 6 months: 46%

In other words, half of the people who make good resolutions at the beginning of a new year have given up on them by the end of June. This translates into half of the people that started a commitment for a better lifestyle actually succeed. Which half do you want to be in? It’s not necessarily going to be easy to succeed, but it will be easier if you are prepared.

In my profession as a Whole Health and Wellness Coach, I don’t really make resolutions around exercise, food or discipline relating to a healthy lifestyle, it is simply a way of life that I practice daily and naturally. This is also true when it comes to my use of cannabis. However, I do get questions from my clients about how they can do this as well. My first piece of advice to them, and to you, is to start slowly. I will break this down into small, manageable (and attainable) goals.

DON’T JOIN A GYM WITH A 1 YEAR COMMITMENT 

Don’t get me wrong; I love the discipline and commitment that folks have who regularly hit the gym. In fact, some people feel worse if they miss a day or two of working out. More power to you if you do! I am talking about those of you that are joining a gym out of the blue to honor a New Years resolution. It is a well-known fact that gym memberships are at their highest in January when everyone commits to more exercise and a weight loss program. By October, only 22% of members that began in January are still actively using their membership. Don’t be one of those people. You can still exercise, still lose weight and maybe still attend a gym, just make it work for you and your lifestyle. Don’t set yourself up for failure, and don’t be a statistic.

DO COMMIT TO A MANAGEABLE EXERCISE REGIMENT

Exercise is a wonderful experience to incorporate into your life. However, it does not necessarily mean getting up at 5:00 am to hit the gym before work, or rushing to the gym after work before you head home. If you do want to join a gym and think you may enjoy that as part of your lifestyle, start small and purchase only a day or week pass. You can, however, add interesting movement to your life doing simple and beneficial exercise. Starting slowly is the most important piece of advice I can give. Here are some examples:

These ideas are not anything new, we all know that moving is better than not moving and exercise is better than no exercise. However, the lifestyle changes that we need to make do not require expensive workout gear, extreme training (unless you really are extreme training) or gym memberships. All you need is already around you and inside of you. Think of every possible opportunity you have in the course of every day as a chance that you get to move your body, engage with the world and use the everyday tools around you to accomplish some very realistic healthy goals. It is not life altering but rather “life engaging”. So get out there, plant a garden, mow your lawn, play with your kids, walk to the store (if you carry a backpack you will be rucking – even better!), stretch your arms up to the sky and dance your way to the fridge for your next healthy snack! 

SPEAKING OF HEALTHY SNACKS – THE WEIGHT LOSS RESOLUTION

Take a look at your dinner plate and instead of looking at it the same old way, try this: look at it as though it were a color palette. Is it mostly white (pasta, rice, potatoes, meat) or is it filled with vibrant colors and textures like higher alkaline veggies such as leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, beets, green peppers, zucchini and more?? If you are consuming the traditional American diet, that is likely not the case. Try adding a few of these beneficial veggies to your regular meals slowly but surely and then increase gradually. Remember, baby steps and water, water, water. It is so important. Your water can come from live fruits and veggies, tea or healthy fresh juices (no processed beverages).

As far as meats and dairy, try to slowly cut back at the same time as you are adding more fruits and veggies to your diet. It may seem like an awkward exchange, but over time your body will adjust and you will actually begin to notice the changes. Take your time with this and introduce and eliminate foods slowly so you don’t get discouraged.

AND FINALLY, WHAT ABOUT CANNABIS?

If quitting smoking is on your list of New Years resolutions, you may not be talking about cigarettes. If you are smoking cigarettes, quitting as soon as possible is the obvious choice to better health. Smoking cannabis is the most popular method of consuming cannabis. So how do we maintain the healing properties of cannabis and give up smoking? This may be the perfect time to consider alternate ways to ingest. As I mentioned earlier, I do in fact include cannabis as part of a whole, healthy lifestyle but my choice to not smoke it is deliberate. Cannabis infused edibles are a great way to enjoy the healthy benefits of cannabis without smoking. Another option may be to apply cannabis infused topicals to your skin. Cannabis acts like many other topical medications in that it can be absorbed through the skin in the form of patches, salves, creams or balms. Sublingual delivery is also an option and so is capsules. It is socially acceptable, discreet, and is a very effective way to absorb the beneficial cannabinoids directly through the blood vessels in your mouth.

I hope that we addressed some of the ways you can work your New Years resolutions into your lifestyle without disrupting your entire routine, still attain your goals and become healthy. Most importantly, above everything else, is the commitment to start, to try to be committed just enough to make small but meaningful changes each day. That is the key to small victories, which will lead to giant, massive accomplishments.  Good luck and Happy New Year!

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