By Chef Heber 

We just started a new year, which most of us relate with turning over a new leaf or starting something new. This time of year is so important because it gives us the opportunity to look forward with an eye of faith, and give our very best to become something new.

According to a study done by the Nielsen company a few years ago, the most common New Years’ goal is to get in shape and/or to lose weight – and it’s true! Who wouldn’t like to have the body of a Rockstar? Nowadays there are many “gurus” that promise instant changes if we follow their programs and/or diets. Like so many others, I have also fallen in these enticing traps.

However, after years of research and learning, I have discovered that to really reach our goals, especially those related to health, we must change the habits that are directly related to these goals. To accomplish something you have never accomplished, you must do something you have never done before.

Here is a list of 5 simple habits that you can start this Monday and that can help you accomplish your New Year’s goals!

Habit #1 Drink Water
It’s true and so simple! Our body is made primarily of water and it is more common than not that we live our lives in a state of dehydration without evening realizing it. A good rule of thumb to remember is that the body needs water before we feel thirsty. The recommended amount of water to start seeing rapid changes is to drink at least 96 ounces of water a day.  Just creating a habit of carrying a bottle of water around every day will help you get more water.

Habit #2 Stay Active
This is not news to anyone – but it goes beyond sweating for hours in the gym. We live in a time where we spend 80% of our days sitting. The truth of it is that our body is not designed for sitting. In addition, there are many studies that confirm that sitting for the greater part of the day increases men’s risk of prostate cancer, among other risks in both males and females. If you aren’t currently following an exercise program, you can start being more active by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, standing up and walking around for a minute or two every hour or doing 15 air squats to really get the blood pumping.

Habit #3 Activate Your Brain
Our brain is a muscle like any other, and just like our other muscles, if we do not use it, it won’t develop. One of the most essential ways to activate our brain is through good, old-fashioned reading. That’s right! Researchers at the University of Emory found that when we read, the connection between the left temporal cortex of the brain – the part associated with language reception – is activated. This heightened activity continues for several days afterward! Picking up a book can be easy – and you can start with just a few minutes a day. There are many reading materials available online or on your smart device if carrying a book around isn’t so convenient.

Habit #4 Eat a Plant-Based Diet
The word “healthy” is so relative and everyone seems to have their own definition. But science continues to prove that a diet based primarily on plants and complex carbohydrates is the best way to keep our body functioning to the best of its ability. Starting to eat a few more fruits or vegetables a day can be a great start while eliminating sugary treats.

Habit #5 Have Self-Compassion
If you waver from your New Year’s plan – don’t sweat it! You do NOT need a new year to start again, you only need a Monday! There is always a day to start over. And if you didn´t follow any of these basic habits on your Monday, don´t give up; continue with your habit plan on the next day. Changing habits is not simple. It takes time, but once they are part of your daily routine, significant changes come out.

Be easy on yourself, change can be hard, but you are on the right track!

Post Author: Heber Rivera

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