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Your Health In The New Year

It’s 2023! A new year to reflect, learning from the past and to set new goals. A new year with some hurdles such as we are all still coping with the pandemic. Life can sometimes still seem uncertain as we face new variants, vaccine and booster recommendations, and safety concerns related to travel and socializing. Additionally, trying to keep ourselves healthy to fend off the typical cold's and flu's, which don’t seem so typical anymore. We’ve had both times of grief and of celebration. For many it has provided a chance to look inward and find out what is truly important to us. The new year can be a time to reflect on what’s working well and ways in which we would like to grow. So let’s welcome the new year with hope, optimism, aspirations and inspirations! Often, we realize that improving our diet, exercising more, and reducing stress are valuable changes we can make for ourselves and our families. These lifestyle factors are important for disease or condition reduction and equally important to optimize while being treated for conditions to improve quality of life and improve clinical outcomes. The benefits of maintaining these healthy lifestyle changes can last a lifetime and improve all aspects of your life. To make any New Year’s resolution succeed through the year and beyond, you can start using S.M.A.R.T. Choose goals making them: Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant, Time-limited For example, a SMART goal for healthy eating might be: Eat (3) servings of vegetables and (2) servings of fruit every day for the next month. Starting slow with baby steps; early success is integral for motivation! Build on those changes over time. Ask yourself, “Is this change something I can maintain over my lifetime?” This helps to turn these New Year’s resolutions into lifelong habits. Here are some additional tips to help you succeed. • Add accountability: Let a spouse, friend, support group, or medical provider know your goal(s) and check in with them about your progress. • Monitor your progress: Record the data! Be a scientist and track whether you’re meeting your goals. Use the feedback to adjust goals to be more realistic if they are not being met or to set yourself more challenging goals if you find you are feeling strong and have met said goal. • Reward your successes: Be your own cheerleader and find ways to congratulate and reward yourself for meeting these goals. • Forgive yourself: Small setbacks, or “bad” days, are just opportunities to reflect on what did not work and plan for a more successful tomorrow. Finally, as you learn how to work towards new goals and a healthier lifestyle, remember to practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself, be in the present moment, and remember that you’re not alone. Integrative Medical Associates and Dr. Shaw send you the healthiest and happiest of New Year’s wishes. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or need assistance with your health goals.

Kindest Regards, Integrative Medical Associates David Graeme Shaw M.D.

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