It’s a new year and a chance to make a fresh start. January is a time when many of us wipe the slate clean and make the decision to change the way we take care of ourselves. As a doctor, I have seen patients make sweeping changes all at once and have also seen many patients commit to minor changes. No matter your approach, there are a few key steps that could make all the difference.
- See a Doctor.I can’t stress the importance of this simple step. If you want to feel better and get healthier, you need to first make sure nothing is standing in your way from a medical perspective. There is nothing more frustrating than making a change and not seeing results. Often times there can be health issues at play that need to be looked after in order for you to move forward with your goals. Routine blood work, checking your heart rate and blood pressure and providing a urine sample are key steps in first assessing your health.
- Set Realistic Goals.Once you have assessed your health, set your goals based on those results. It’s easier to make changes when you have a solid reason to back up your actions. I have seen many people come into my office who want to lose weight but when test results show a hormone imbalance, their goal need to be adjusted.
- Take Your Vitamins.When you’re on a new path to wellness, making sure you’re getting the appropriate nutrients is key. If you’re deficient in iron, no amount of healthy eating and exercise will give you more energy. You may need an iron supplement or other vitamins in order to actually start feeling better.
- Commit to the Cause. Many people who decide to make a health changes do so because of a newfound belief system. Maybe you want to focus on eating only grass-fed meats because of how the animals are raised. Perhaps dairy is something you want to avoid because of its effect on inflammation. Whatever the reason, immerse yourself in the cause. Watch Netflix documentaries, read blogs or join a discussion group to keep the evidence coming. This will help you stay focused on your new goals.
- Measure the Results. Nothing is more motivating than feeling better! Take note of the milestones that you accomplish and acknowledge your hard work in what it took to get there. Maybe you can climb stairs faster, you’re sleeping better, you have more energy, or maybe your clothes fit differently. Take careful note of these successes and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.
2019 will be a year of accomplishments and a year of change. I have always believed there is so much good we as individuals can control when it comes to our own health. I applaud you for making the decision to get healthy and look forward to seeing your success firsthand in the coming months! Happy New Year.
Dr. Stella Jansen van Rensburg