When it comes to making positive changes, the key to success is to start small and be consistent.
We’ve compiled five common gut-health goals — and our top tips for mastering them.
Remember, it’s about progress…not perfection.
Resolution 1: Get more/better sleep
Try tuning in to your body’s internal clock.
Your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is regulated by receiving normal exposure to light during the day and to darkness during the night.
Disruptions to this rhythm can lead to sleep disorders, as well as mood and learning deficits.
Make it a point to get outside during the day for a walk and turn all of your devices off at least 30 minutes before bed. The blue light emitted from screens can suppress the release of sleep hormones, making it harder for you to get the high-quality shut-eye your body needs.
Resolution 2: Follow a healthier diet
Focus on adding in rather than cutting out.
We’ve all experienced it: The more you deprive yourself of goodies, the more you seem to crave them. It’s tempting, especially after the holidays, to swear off sweets entirely, but try cultivating a healthier mindset around food by following a gut-microbiome diet and adding in more fruits and veggies, rather than cutting out all treats.
Schedule a weekly grocery run or delivery so that you always have fresh produce on hand. Or, try meal prepping in advance to cut down on cooking time.
After filling up on nutrient-dense, satisfying food, you might find that you don’t want that second cookie after all.
Resolution 3: Be more physically active
Start by creating some accountability, perhaps by making a standing appointment with a friend or a trainer for exercise.
It’s much harder to hit the snooze button on your goals if you know a friend is counting on you, or you’ve paid for expert help.
Write every appointment down and give it the same priority you would give an important meeting.
Resolution 4: Nourish your body and soul
It’s all about finding your flow.
Flow-state activities, or activities that put you “in the zone,” bring your focus into the present.
Common flow-state activities include:
- Playing music
- Yoga, and
These activities are intrinsically rewarding because you enjoy doing them.
Resolution 5: Have more energy
While it’s tempting to rely on caffeine for an energy boost, the truth is that rejuvenating sleep, adequate exercise, and proper nutrition are better ways to create and maintain normal energy levels throughout the day.
In terms of nutrition, try having a handful of small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones.
Make sure these “mini-meals” are nutrient-dense and low glycemic. Eating this way will provide your brain with a steady supply of nutrients, decreasing your perception of fatigue.