Family Health Resolutions – 2018

What is a resolution anyway? A resolution is firm decision to do or not do something. To achieve a resolution, you need to reduce or separate it into achievable components, i.e., goals. Are you thinking about your family’s health resolution instead of just your own for 2018?

January 1 will be upon us sooner than we realize and working together on goals to accomplish your resolutions is very helpful. As a family, it’s not just about you, but your loved ones too. For best results, work on your resolutions together, chopping them up into smaller parts so you can achieve them – choose just a few and make them both specific and manageable. For example, choose specific workout days, don’t just say we’re going to work out 3 days per week. With that being said, let’s looks at some general resolutions/goals for the family.

• Activity – spend time outside together – walking, playing, etc. and, don’t let the weather bum you out;
• Add fresh fruit to your daily menus;
• Avoid white breads etc. in favor of whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereals – they digest slower with less sugar spike to your blood levels;
• Do not eat fast food more than twice each month – pizzas, hamburgers, etc.
• Eat together – talk about what’s going on with each of you, what you want to do as a family, etc.
• Gym or Play Time – find somewhere that allows the entire family to participate in a physical activity – if you have young children, find a place that offers child care or after-school programs. Many gyms now do this;
• Organize your pantry – remove all foods that do not fit with your new plan – those high in fat, sugar, or just not as healthy as they should be;
• Participate in a joint project such as a 1-mile walk/run event or even longer if your family members are able; and
• Plan a family vacation – one that keeps all of you active.

• Be active – find an activity or sport that you enjoy and participate in it at least three times per week;
• Small and Slow – take small steps slowly as you begin. Do not over-exercise. Work first on creating an exercise habit before going all gung ho and torturing yourself because of pain and a work load you didn’t anticipate. Achieve one small goal at a time then, increase your intensity as you go to your next goal;
• Treat yourself – have a nice treat once or twice per week, for both yourself and family, however, do not use food as a reward. An example would be a family pizza, etc. and,
• Variety of foods – provide foods from several food groups at each meal. Focus on less processed foods, especially fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and cereals.

• Ensure they wear safety gear, especially for biking, skating, skateboarding, etc.
• Find activities – choose those your kids enjoy such as a ball sport to enter them in, dance, biking, etc. for at least three times per week;
• Focus on nutrition – ensure they drink milk and water for strong bones in lieu of soda or fruit drinks;
• Outdoors – on bright sunny days have your kids wear sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, etc. and dress appropriately for the weather, but don’t let the weather prevent the activity; and
• Walk or bike to school if it is safe to do so.

• Ensure they are active, either in family activities, or physical activity during or after school;
• Limit TV time – limit to 1-2 hours at most each day. The average teen watches 35-40 hours of TV per week, which is a great de-motivator. Let’s put this in perspective. Unless the teen is watching educational TV such as National Geographic or history programs, the time spent is a colossal waste. Let’s compare the time. If you earnestly practiced a guitar for ½ hour per day for 7-days per week (3.5 hours), within one year your teen would be at a semi-pro level on this instrument. Thus, assuming 35 hours of TV per week, what could he/she do with the remaining 31.5 hours? The human mind is capable of so much learning, but not from 35 hours per week of TV;
• Reduce stress – when you notice your teen is stressed, find out why and help them cope. Help them to find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal, or discussing problems with a parent or friend. This is especially important in the world of social media where bullycide, many forms of bullying, and other degrading actions are now so prevalent;
• Sleep – make sure your teen gets adequate sleep every day. This will help them be able to handle daily stresses much better, as well as contract fewer sicknesses and will enhance overall performance; and
• Watch their nutrition – like adults, add vegetables and fruits each day, but have them avoid high sugar and fat foods.

Whether you’re the adult, kid, or teen in the family, working together in healthy activities and nutrition is fun. Psychologists suggest that spending time together as a family makes the family unit stronger and that working on specific goals makes it stronger still. May you and your family have wonderful holidays and may you begin your 2018 health journey together.

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