With 2019 just days away, it’s hard not to reflect on the past year and think about all the changes we want to make in the year ahead. For most of us planning for a whole year can be overwhelming and unrealistic. What if, instead of taking the next few days of planning to be happier and healthier in the next 365 days, we just start right now? What if we took things one day at a time, starting today to increase our health and happiness? Why give ourselves a whole year to ignore and forget what we really want now? Let’s do it. Starting today, starting now!

Unfortunately, many of us choose instant gratification and temporary bliss over things that would make us happiest and healthiest in the future. This is where we need to turn the car around and get it right. Yes, getting a new car is fun in the moment, but if you can’t afford it those bills will make you miserable and that will reflect poorly on your health. Yes, that huge cupcake would taste so good, but all those unnecessary calories could leave you feeling guilty and not falling in line with how you want to feel health wise in the long term. Ways to try to avoid instant gratification over long term pleasure is to ask yourself, is this really in line with how I want to feel? Is this in line with the goals I have set for myself and where I want to be? Is this going to make me feel guilty or worse about myself? Make choices that serve you best! Make the choice that will leave you feeling well now.

Since we are skipping the whole “New Year’s resolutions” let’s take a look at daily solutions. What can you do today to have an impact on your health and happiness? You know the things that you keep putting off until “tomorrow?” Well we all know that hasn’t been working, so let’s start “today.” Are you avoiding exercise? This is a huge mistake! Exercise comes with its own feel good endorphins that literally make you happy. Exercise also makes you healthy and, on top of that, reduces stress, helps you sleep better and so many more benefits. Stop skipping your workout and just do it already. You said you wanted to be happier and healthy, right? Start now. Do you keep saying you will start eating better tomorrow? Start today and you may even feel better by tomorrow. Make decent food choices, I know it’s hard but over time you really will notice you start to crave the foods that actually make you feel good. Eating well helps you have more energy, improves your mood and appearance and again, can help you sleep and now even help you work out better. So stop eating junk, it only makes you feel like junk, start eating well so you can feel well!

Have fun, yes, fun! What is something you enjoy doing? Why are you torturing yourself and keeping yourself from what makes you happy? Stop, that’s not nice and really you deserve to treat yourself better than that. Love sports? Join an intermural group – there is softball, soccer and basketball right in our area. Love to paint? Contact our local art studio or buy yourself some new paints. Love pets? Volunteer at the animal shelter. The list goes on, and yes there are many resources in our region that really can help us fulfill our favorite pastimes. Stop avoiding fun! When you start to indulge in what really makes you happy it is proven to help you be more productive at other tasks such as work, family life and relationships. So stop keeping yourself away from the fun and get going. Even just 15 minutes a day of an activity you enjoy can increase your happiness and health.

There is no way of going into a new year and not thinking about clichés, but if clichés didn’t have some truth to them, would they be here at all? When it comes to feeling happy and feeling healthy, I do think it is worth your investment. Really, what else is there that is more important than your personal wellbeing? As a Wellness Professional I can tell you my professional advice is, not much. I challenge you to take better care of you starting now, starting today. Science can now prove that happier people are also healthier people. There is no reason you or I can’t be one of those happy healthy people. I want you to wake up in the morning working on this daily new task, so say it with me: “The New Year is all about a healthier me, and it starts today!”