How do I celebrate in a healthy way all year long?
As hispanics, we live to celebrate all aspects of life. But, can we be healthy and celebrate at the same time? How can we make sure that healthy habits and changes last forever?
We’re never going to stop enjoying life - that’s in our blood. But, we can learn to make small modifications to the way we celebrate. Even small changes can help us avoid the health problems and chronic illness that so often plague our hispanic community.
There is hope. Studies prove that genetics play a smaller part than habits when it comes to health. Studies by the Harvard School of Public Health, in conjunction with academics from Mexico and Italy, have shown that our style of life - things like diet, tobacco use, alcohol use, obesity, environmental toxins, psychological stress, working at night, and physical activity - can change our genetic patterns. In other words, these outside factors can affect how our genes manifest.
Our habits really do control our health. The healthy choices we make today can help us have a better quality of life while avoiding the premature aging of our body and mind.
Every single one of us, at one time in their life, has shown the ability to make positive changes, even if it’s only for a week or a month. If you can make the small changes, you can make the lifelong ones!
How to make changes last:
- Find your Why. What are the reasons you want to make a change? Better health to enjoy more time with your loved ones? To restore your self esteem? To be a good example to kids or grandkids? To travel? To fight aging? To be more productive? The more you find your motivation, the closer you’ll be to making permanent habit changes.
- Be honest with yourself. Don’t make radical promises to yourself that you know will be difficult to keep. Even though your ultimate goal might be radical change, it’s always better to make small changes, little by little, to reach it. Drastic changes have a high chance of failure, leaving you back where you started.
- If you’ve found a routine to improve your sleep, eating habits, exposure to toxins (of all types), or physical activity, work on making that routine a weekly or monthly habit. Or begin to adopt aspects of that routine permanently as you feel comfortable.
- Keep a log, journal, or diary of your success! That’s where you can put your short, mid, and long-term goals. That’s also where you can write down the changes you want to make in all areas of your health and wellness: sleep, eating, exercise, etc. Write down what works and what doesn’t. Refer to it each day or week to help you stack on track to a better life.
- If you eat or drink too much each time you let yourself celebrate, try to find healthier substitutes for those situations. That way each weekend you don’t throw away all the gains you’ve made during the week.
- If you want results, find “accountability partners” that will help you stay on track. This can be your spouse, a sibling, friends, children, or a group of people who share your same goals. Sometimes it’s important to avoid people or situations that cause you to make poor health decisions.
- Don’t let one slip up stop you. Pick yourself up and recommit to your new habits. Consistency and perseverance are what truly create long term change.
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