“Dr. Mantell, 2017 is going to be my healthiest year ever,” many folks say about this time of the year. “Yep, I’m going to lose weight, exercise more, have better relationships and I’m not going to sweat the small stuff anymore.” Then sometime in mid-February, when these yearly “Re”solutions begin to fade, it’s back to that loss of confidence, uptick in body weight, feeling blue, and your doctor suggesting once again a new medicine or another for your blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes.
When a sustained healthy lifestyle is your medicine, focused on the body, mind and spirit, you may not only prevent diseases, but also help your physician help you better treat your:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- High cholesterol
- Sexual health issues
- Many cancers, including breast and colon
With sacrifice, commitment, focus, accountability partners, a schedule, faith, and integrity, you can surely take steps to transform your health in 2017 and beyond. Willpower is not enough – science has taught us that willpower alone will never achieve goals. A deeper, more meaningful self-compassion anchored focus, “wellpower” according to Pam Peeke, MD, is what it will take to make 2017 the healthier year you desire.
One step to take to right now to create an optimally healthier 2017 is to tell yourself: “This year, I will love myself, find the best in myself, focus on what I can do and what I am achieving, and be my biggest cheerleader—daily, three times a day—my mind will be focused on asking myself what can go right for me regardless of what’s in front of me.”
- Choose the Technicolor™ optimally healthy version of yourself that you daydream and visualize continuously in a present, not future, positive, not negative way (“I am fit,” “I am no longer taking blood pressure medication.”). Be sure you know what it is that you feel makes you feel alive.
- See yourself already aligned, doing, acting, and being your new version through careful, patient, relaxed mindful and meditative visualization – not promising that you will, but that you already are working from your innate strengths.
- Stay aligned with this new vision by acting from the viewpoint of this new you and be sure you are adding value wherever you go.
- Use your feelings as guideposts to whether or not you are aligned with your new chosen version of yourself. Feel good? Cha-ching! You are aligned with your purpose.
Looking for a few more sure-fire ways to move into, and maintain optimal health in 2017?
- Eat well and don’t – ever – diet. That means eating a Mediterranean nutritional program, rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies, “good” (unsaturated) fats, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Move well, but not too much. Each and every day. That is, if you want to improve your sleep, agility, coordination, endurance, strength and balance. Oh, and if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, and depression. The target is a minimum of 30 minutes a day of brisk walking, 5 days a week, breathing hard and perhaps some sweating, along with strength training several times a week.
- Prevent stress, don’t just manage it. That means thinking in ways that see what good can come from challenges. Mindful meditation, yoga, enjoying time with good friends who lift you up, finding meaning in life, feeling pride in your accomplishments – these will help create positive emotions and in turn dial down stress before it starts. Remember, “the link is what you think.”
- Be sure you have a positive relationship with a primary care physician whose philosophy is that “exercise is medicine.”