Happy 2016! Wow time flies – and here we are. How are things going? Off to a good year? Started the year motivated, fired up, focused and on track? Or is the craziness of life already getting in the way?

The new year is an excellent time to set intentions for the year to come. However, we often set lofty goals and expectations without creating a framework to get us there. Or we think some quick fix strategy is the solution for the long run. When it comes to weight, health and living well it is really easy to say, “I am going to lose 10 pounds” or “I am going to workout more” or “I am going to lower my cholesterol” – but are you going to live your life in a way that will actually allow you to achieve your goals and be successful? 

How can you talk the talk…and walk the walk…so you are successful.

Here are 6 tips to set you up for a healthy year of living well. 

1. Get honest – Take a good long look within and decide what is working and what is not. What is one step you can make towards living healthier? One specific goal for you. Not 12. What is one thing you can do to get you in the right direction? Get honest, get real, set true expectations of yourself and choose one goal towards living a healthier life. One step in the healthier direction will take you further than you can imagine. 
2. Eat vegetables – No matter what food trend, superfood, low-carb/low-fat/functional/clean whatever meal plan you are on, vegetables need to be a part of it. Full stop. The key to eating healthily and achieving your weight goals includes vegetables. (BTW…If you cannot think of a goal from Tip #1, eating vegetables is a great place to start.)
3. Be kind – It is very easy to be hard on ourselves, to beat ourselves up that we are not achieving the all mighty “perfection” and that we didn’t meet all the expectations of our goals that were not achievable anyways. What is far more difficult and much more beneficial is being kind to yourself. And realizing perfection isn’t possible. What is possible, and desirable, is finding a balance.So If you used to drink 15 drinks a week, and set a goal to not drink for January and you have one drink on a Saturday night dinner with friends, do not beat yourself up for the glass. Be proud of yourself that you only had one glass, when you used to have 3-4. That is a significant success! (And if alcohol isn’t your vice, insert sugar, lack of exercise, fried foods etc…)
4. Decrease added sugar – This one is so simple but gets tricky out in the real world. So here is the deal, if you are not mindful of what you are eating and paying attention to the ingredients of the food you put in your mouth, you easily could be taking in so much added sugar that you might as well have an IV drip of simple syrup attached to you. Seriously. It can get that out of hand, and quick. Why is this important? Diabetes and metabolic related diseases are killing us and we do not seem to see how serious it is. So, if you want to live a long life and enjoy it, decrease your consumption of added sugar. Do not eliminate it. Decrease it. 
5. Sleep and Water – These two are the foundation of good health and seem to always fall through the cracks. I cannot express the important of both. 7-9 hours of sleep and figure out how much water you are currently drinking and slowly increase until urine is clear-ish and you are urinating often. Sleep and drink water. Sleep and drink water. They are game changers.
6. Enjoy it – The main reason resolutions do not work is because we force ourselves onto a plan that makes us unhappy and deprived, we fight as long as we can and then we break. If you hate kale, do not eat it! Find another vegetable you like. Or experiment with flavor to make veggies taste to your liking. If you despise running, do not train for a marathon! Find an activity that gets your heart rate up that makes you smile and you enjoy and look forward to. Dancing? Basketball? Hiking? Crazy aerobic classes with loud music? Go for it. And enjoy it. That is how it will stick. Make the process of good healthy and living well enjoyable. Imagine that?!?

And here is one more morsel….maybe you just choose one of the things listed above. Not all six need to start today. Just move in the right direction and as you build momentum and motivation it will come together.

Wishing you all a very happy new year filled with delicious food that makes you feel good and baby steps towards taking care of yourself every day.