Happy New Year to all of our patients, families, friends, and followers! Like many other blogs out there, we are using the first of the year as an opportunity to help our patients and readers start fresh, initiate a new lifestyle and promote good health and habits for the year ahead. Some may say its cliche to begin a new health plan in January, but why not? Sometimes its just psychologically supportive to know you have a clean slate, and that this marks day 1 of a new journey. Day 1 of a new lifestyle. Day 1 of a new you. As a dental practice we try to go above and beyond in what we offer our patients when it comes to health. For us, it’s more than teeth, gums, and flossing. We like to look at how your oral health impacts your overall health, and how by beginning healthy habits you can really achieve great results.
When it comes to achieving long term success that will last, it’s not about the quick wins or the fad diets. You don’t need just a diet or fitness change but an overall lifestyle change. It’s when you achieve this that you’ll find lasting results. Our team at All in the Family Dental Care has worked with health professionals to put together a series of ways to change your lifestyle for the better. We hope the strategies outlined below will help you to become the best version of yourself, and we are here for any questions or feedback along the way.
7 Ways to Improve Your Lifestyle
Develop positive thinking. We put this first because we think it’s the keystone habit that will help you form the other important habits. Sure, positive thinking by itself won’t lead to success, but it certainly goes a long way to motivate you to do the other things required. Develop a personal mantra, meditate, pray, or do whatever it is that will make you feel at peace and have a clear mind.
Make a plan and stick to it. Your plan is a map that will guide you on this journey of change. When making your plan, be as specific as possible. Want to exercise more? Eat smaller portions? Detail out specifics such as the time of day when you can take walks and how long you’ll walk and document your meals, what did you eat and how much? Write everything down, and ask yourself if you’re confident that these activities and goals are realistic for you. If not, start with smaller steps. Have your plan easily accessible where you’ll most often see it as a reminder or use an app that can help track things like food and activity.
Start small. After you’ve identified realistic short-term and long-term goals, break down your goals into small, manageable steps that are specifically defined and can be measured. Is your long-term goal to be active 4 days a week over the next five months? A good weekly goal would be to start being active once a week, twice a week, and so on until you can build up to your goal. If you would like to eat healthier, consider as a goal for the week replacing dessert with a healthier option, like fruit or yogurt. At the end of the week, you’ll feel successful knowing you met your goal.
Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Start with one at a time. For instance if every day you get home from work and tend to snack or overeat, plan to go for a walk as soon as you get home instead. Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one goal or change at a time. As new healthy behaviors become a habit, try to add another goal that works toward the overall change you’re striving for.
Involve a buddy. Whether it be a friend, co-worker or family member, someone else on your journey will keep you motivated and accountable. Perhaps it can be someone who will go to the gym with you or someone who is also trying to stop smoking. Talk about what you are doing. Consider joining a support group. Having someone with whom to share your struggles and successes makes the work easier and the mission less intimidating.
Eliminate the non-essential. First, identify the essential — the things in your life that are most important to you, that you love the most. Then eliminate everything else. This simplifies things and leaves you with the space to focus on the essential. This process works with anything — with your life in general, with work projects and tasks, with emails and other communication. This will change your life because it will help you to simplify, to focus on what’s important, prioritize your goals and to build the life you want.
Kindness. Yes, kindness is a habit. And it can be cultivated. Focus on it every day for a month and you’ll see profound changes in your life. You’ll feel better about yourself as a person. You’ll see people react to you differently and treat you better, over the long run. It’s karma. How do you develop the kindness habit? First, make it a goal to do something kind for someone each day. At the beginning of the day, figure out what that kind act will be and then do it during the day. Second, each time you interact with someone, try to be kind, be friendly, be compassionate. Third, try to go beyond small kindnesses to larger acts of compassion, volunteering to help those in need and taking the initiative to relieve suffering. In the end, be sure to always practice the golden rule. Always treat others as you would want to be treated.
We hope that this post was informative and can help guide you to where you want to be in life. Good health is the most important thing in life, without it, where would we be? Feel free to share with us your stories and progress, or as one of our doctors how your oral health can help you along your journey.