Start fresh — your month-by-month guide for a great 2019
It’s a new year — and the perfect time to turn over a new leaf. But New Year’s resolutions are often short-lived, sometimes producing more guilt than results.
This year, try setting a specific goal or pick an issue you want to tackle each month. That way it will be simple to measure results, and you’ll have more variety. Here’s a month-by-month guide so you can make healthy lifestyle changes throughout the year. Bookmark this guide and remember that small changes can add up to big results — and better health.
- Practice mindfulness in January. From yoga to meditation to being aware of negative self-talk, mindfulness is a great way to start 2019. By learning to be aware of your thoughts and how they affect you, you can build resiliency for tough moments. You can even take a class to develop your ability to be mindful.
- Show your heart some love in February. To keep you — and your loved one’s — heart healthy, focus on smart habits. From a family bike ride to choosing whole-grains food and veggies, plan on working toward a healthier heart.
- Walk it out in March. The weather’s starting to get nice in Georgia, with average daytime temperatures of close to 70 degrees. Challenge yourself to hit 10,000 steps a day. Staying active will help you relieve stress and reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases.
- Embrace nature in April. Warmer days mean blooming azaleas and dogwoods — a beautiful time to be outdoors. With an abundance of amazing and accessible parks, hit the trails and enjoy the beauty of the South in the spring.
- Focus on veggies in May. It’s growing season in Georgia — a great time to plant a themed garden, like a pizza-topping or edible flower garden. Don’t have a green thumb? Then try a plant-based diet. You can find many delicious recipes on our Food for Health blog.
- Drink more water in June. It’s summer and temperatures are rising in Georgia. Whether you’re exercising outdoors or simply relaxing at home, it’s critical to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Getting enough water will help prevent kidney stones, headaches, mental fogginess, and, most importantly, dehydration, a common problem in the South.
- Fill out forms in July. This month, take time to get your children’s medical forms completed. It’s a simple, but important item to mark off your to-do list. And it will keep you from rushing once the school year starts.
- Take a class in August. The kids are (finally) back to school. Take time for yourself and enroll in a health class. Learn the basics of yoga, mindfulness, healthy cooking, or dozens of other skills taught at a medical office near you. The best part? Many are available at no charge.*
- Sleep more soundly in September. Getting enough sleep can often be a challenge. Making simple changes to your routine, like setting a consistent bedtime and avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening, can help you get the rest you need.
- Cut down on sugar in October. Yes, Halloween means more sweets at home and the office. So before October 31 arrives, try reducing the amount of sugar you eat. A good step? Cut out soft drinks. Or eat a healthy and filling breakfast, like steel-cut oatmeal with fruit, so you won’t reach for doughnuts at a morning meeting.
- Change up the classics in November. From pecan pie to barbecue (tomato or mustard base!) to homemade biscuits, Southern food is delicious — and can also be decadent. Try swapping out a high-fat ingredient for something healthier, like using yogurt instead of sour cream for appetizers. Or include healthy options, like a kale quinoa salad, at your next feast — so you can fill up on healthy food and still enjoy your favorite recipes.
- Tame your stress in December. It’s the best time of the year. But it can also be quite stressful. With the holiday rush, it’s especially important to carve out time for you — and your favorite activities. Consider taking our online Relax program, where you’ll find strategies for coping with and managing stress.
*Some classes may require a fee. Classes vary by location.