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Consistency is key to making lifestyle changes

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Have you heard of National Quitters Day in January? That’s when most people give up on goals they set just weeks earlier.
 
To avoid the pitfalls of making annual resolutions, add a dose of consistency into your plans. Here are tips to help you celebrate success every day of the year.
 
Remember your why. Your reason for a change should be meaningful to you. You may want to exercise more to feel better about your body. Why this is important to you may be because you want to be able to get down on the floor to play with your grandkids – and then get back up again. Or you may want the energy and balance to climb up the bleachers to watch your favorite sports team in action.
 
Set realistic goals. Set goals you can achieve for the rest of your life, not just for a limited time. Remember, there’s no quick fix with healthy living. Instead, strive for consistency as you age. Let’s say you don’t like eating vegetables, but you know it can prevent chronic disease. Try adding a bag of frozen riced cauliflower to your chili or soup. You won’t even taste it!
 
Make a habit stack. When you set a goal, pair it with a habit you do every day. That tricks your mind into making it an automatic routine. Here’s how it can work. While you brush your teeth, do calf raises or squats. Every time you shop for groceries, pick up a bag of frozen vegetables to use that week. Or before you reach for your phone in the morning, take two minutes to breathe deeply and calm your mind.
 
Don’t let perfection become the enemy of good. Slip-ups happen when it comes to resolutions or goals. You may make poor dietary choices or sleep through an exercise session. Acknowledge that it’s part of the process, not a failure. Making lifelong changes means your progress will ebb and flow throughout your life. Every day will not be perfect.
 
No matter when you decide it’s time to make changes in the way you live, your goals can become lifelong habits when you practice gentle consistency.
 
Emily Moore, ND, is a naturopathic doctor at Goshen Center for Cancer Care. She offers these tips to patients with cancer and other conditions. Dr. Moore specializes in naturopathic therapies to treat the whole person, not just the disease. Her therapies minimize side effects, optimize treatment outcomes and assist the body's natural healing process.

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