Did you know that of the estimated 40 to 50 percent of Americans who say they make New Year’s resolutions, a quarter of them can’t even keep their resolutions for a week?  According to Dr. Andrew Weil*, “perhaps that’s because we tend to make grand plans that are difficult to achieve rather than take simple, realistic steps.”  He offers a list of five small changes that can pay off for your health in a big way in 2016.  I’ve summarized his list and added on my own advice, as follows:

  1. Take a breather…practice some form of slow, deep breathing for at least a minute a day, to instantly reduce your stress level.
  2. Keep a consistent sleep schedule…try going to bed the same time each night and waking up the same time each morning, even on weekends or during vacations.
  3. Eat more fruit and vegetables..including fruit AND vegetables with your breakfast (such as a delicious nutrient-packed green smoothie as pictured above) “can give you a head start on your daily quota of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.”
  4. Spend time outdoors..Enjoy the “benefits of fresh air and sunshine as you lower your blood pressure, pulse rate, and decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as increased immunity.”
  5. Eschew the news…take a “news fast” especially at night before going to bed.  Instead, listen to relaxing music (i personally love the music of Peter Kater and R. Carlos Nakai and keep lighting to a minimum.

Recipe for the smoothie pictured can be found here.

*Source:  Adapted from Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter, January 2016