Nothing says the new year is upon us quite like setting new year’s resolutions. And many of us scramble every year to pick that one resolution we can stick with like eating right, being healthier, and getting fit. Unfortunately many of us falter due to setting unrealistic goals or losing motivation when the going gets tough.
Renowned physician, Today show contributor, and Health magazine’s medical editor Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa better known as “Dr. Raj” joined me recently to share her ten tips for improving your overall well being, how to stay motivated when your willpower starts to weaken, how to conquer your health goals, and much more!
Candace Rose: What are your top 10 tips for beginning to improve your overall well being?
Dr. Raj: Well, first of all I want to stress the importance of making your goals achievable. And that means not setting your sights too high because then you’re just going to get discouraged very early on and pretty much just drop the goals. These are just some small changes you can make that can have some long lasting results in terms of overall well being.
- Number one is to disconnect from technology. This means you need to take a break 60-90 minutes every day from the smartphone, from the computer, the television. This will really give your mind and your body a chance to decompress.
- The second is prioritize your sleep. You want to get those seven to eight hours and many people don’t do that and they don’t think it’s important, but it is. You want to make your bedroom where you want to spend time, so that might mean changing your bedding, getting some room darkening shades or curtains- anything to enhance that sleeping experience.
- You also want to focus on your oral care. This is often an area that’s neglected by people. We do brush our teeth; but what are we brushing with? You want to choose a toothpaste like Colgate Total that will ensure the health of your gums, enamel and overall mouth.
- You also want to make sure you go to the doctor, and see the doctor when you’re feeling well. Many of us only go when we’re sick or when there’s an emergency. You really want to go when you’re well to be proactive about your health. That means getting checked for your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and getting any vaccinations you need or getting any screening tests like a mammogram or a colonoscopy. You want to make sure you’re getting there even when you’re feeling good.
- Another thing you need to think about is your posture. This is a small change you can make when you’re sitting at your desk, and many people are seated many hours a day. You want to make sure that both feet are firmly planted on the floor. You want to make sure your neck is in a neutral position and you don’t want to be straining it upwards or downwards to look at the computer, so adjust it and make sure you’re comfortable. This will protect your back for the long run.
- You also want to make sure there’s some stress reduction or relaxation going on in your life everyday. I think meditation is a great way to achieve this. 10-15 minutes a day- you can learn how to do it online or take a class, it’s very simple. Deep breathing exercises are a way to do it and it’ll really help your stress level which will then help your overall health.
- Exercise of course is a big thing, but sometimes when people travel they let that go; you want to keep your exercise routine up, so bring something small like a jump rope or resistance bands to keep up your routine while you’re in your hotel room is a great idea.
- And then in terms of your daily life, incorporating exercise. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking a few blocks away from work so you have to walk to the office. All these little changes can make a big difference.
- Sunscreen is an easy one. You want to use it all year round, not just in the summer. Skin cancer is the number one cancer in men and women. You want to make sure you’re doing that, as well as getting checks from your dermatologist. All these are fairly small changes but they can have a big impact.
Candace Rose: How can we stay motivated when our willpower starts to weaken?
Dr. Raj: “Well, motivation is difficult. And first of all understand that you’re not alone if you’re having those days of a little bit of weakness. First of all if you fall off the wagon, and you do have a piece of cake one day and that’s not part of your plan, that’s okay. Don’t get so discouraged that you throw away the towel. You want to by the next morning be re-motivated and start fresh.
The other thing is have a health buddy. This is someone who is going to go on the journey with you (a friend or a coworker), someone who can help keep you motivated, and it’ll also be more fun.”
Candace Rose: What are some of the surprising results from WebMD’s Healthy Lifestyle Attitude Behavior study?
Dr. Raj: “Well, they found out that 40% of women do make a health inspired goal but 14% of them actually stuck to that goal by the end of the year. So that was a surprisingly low number. That means that as good as our intentions are in January, by the end of the year many of us aren’t sticking to those goals. So again, finding something that’s going to work for you that’s achievable, that’s practical, that works into your lifestyle.”
Candace Rose: What can we learn from this when it comes to achieving our health goals?
Dr. Raj: “I think we have to learn that being healthy involves a lot of different areas of your life. It’s not just about diet and exercise, and you need to do this gradually. Take it slowly, but focus on it. Don’t get discouraged if you fall by the wayside a little bit, just get right back on the horse.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dr. Raj: “Yeah, well you can go to ColgateTotal.com to learn more about this campaign which is called You Can Do It, and get more information about being healthy.