As 2017 begins, we feel that we need to be realistic about our goals and intentions to start anew. Many times we try to change too much at once, and then we ultimately become frustrated with our own inabilities to embrace change. Result? We give up and are left short of attaining our goals.

Mary Blackmon, Founder of Farm Star Living, states, “My goal is to have and promote a healthy lifestyle – for not only myself, but for whomever wants one. However, I want it to be something that is actually attainable, and one that truly can transform from the inside out

It starts with commitment. But, ‘how long do I need to be committed?’ You’re not alone in asking this question.

It was once believed that good habits take about three weeks to take root. But we hate to tell you, that’s wishful thinking. That theory was disproven with follow-up research – for many people, sticking with new habits varies depending on your personality type. A new habit can form as quickly as three weeks or potentially up to almost eight months. And, don’t hate us, but it does require work. And commitment.

But, there’s a silver lining and it may make all that work worth the effort. Blackmon shares one of her most personal experiences, “I was a smoker, and I had a very hard time quitting. Then I realized the best way to get rid of a bad habit, like smoking, is to replace it with a good habit and ‘reward’ myself positively. So every time I had the urge for a bad habit, I would swap it for a ‘good’ thing

It not only worked, but inspired Blackmon to create a healthier lifestyle and ultimately her first Internet venture Spa-Addicts. Derived from replacing bad habits with good ones, Spa-Addicts offered spa services at deep discounts, unheard of in ‘02. She says you never know how just changing one bad habit can change so much in your life. (The business lasted for 10 years until she took over her family farm, resulting in her new passion and development of FarmStarLiving.com). Plus, she’s been ‘puff’ free for 15 years.

She believes that the best way to really attain a lasting healthy lifestyle is by adding good habits to your routine slowly, one habit at a time, until each has taken root and become routine.

Thus, we suggest concentrating on one new habit per month. This way, by the end of this fabulous New Year before us, you will have mastered and attained many new and good habits, which hopefully will have replaced any old, bad ones. (Unless you’re perfect and don’t have any!)

We hope that one day you’ll wake up realizing you’re a much healthier, better you and that this month-by-month healthy and wellness guide will prove to be a valuable road-map to help you become your best you yet.

A healthy lifestyle requires a healthy mind, body and spirit, and we hope that these month-by-month tips will help you get there. We are cheering you on, one day at a time. And remember, a year is simply comprised of 365 days so do remember to take it just as that – one day at a time. Just live each day in the best way that you can – from morning to evening, and before you know it, this will have been your healthiest year yet. Cheers to your 2017.

 

Happy New Year!

 

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JANUARY: Fill Your Plate with More Vegetables.

Fresh farm-grown food is on the rise and in greater demand. If you’ve not yet started to pile your plate with veggies, then start this month. How? By putting more vegetables on your plate - more than all other items. Yes, protein is important – it helps keep us full, is essential to our muscles and gives us energy – but we can never have too many vegetables. Especially green ones and those with bright colors.

Why? You will notice a difference in how you feel and in your waistline, as vegetables help improve our health and help reduce overall calorie intake. It’s important to mention that vegetables also help ward off illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer. So, start with this simple change of meal focus. Yep, eat your veggies. (Check out our Food for Health Guide to get the health benefits of each of your favorite vegetables).

 

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FEBRUARY: SWAP Your Sugars

With this month being all about the chocolates and sweets associated with Valentine’s Day, it is easy to be tempted to munch on chocolates and candies all month long. However, regular enhanced sugar intake is extremely unhealthy and can even be outright dangerous. Sugar is the cause of many diseases like diabetes, it increases the aging process by affecting your skin’s cellular decay, and causes significant weight gain. And that leads to a host of problems.

While cutting everything out may not be doable, why not try to swap those sugary cakes, muffins and pies for alternative dessert options that are still sweet and delicious, but in a much healthier way. Savor the sweetness of a dried fruit, plum, prune, berry, orange, a banana, an apple. Of course, SunSweet should be your go-to for healthy and delicious snacks.

Then, while you satisfy that sweet tooth, you will also help keep the doctor away. The benefits of fruits are vast – they have essential fiber and vitamins for staying healthy, looking fresh and radiant, and in contrast to sugary cakes and desserts, they are ‘natural’ and from the earth. That outweighs the benefit of a fat-laden sugary substance dramatically, and you’ll notice the good, healthy results by incorporating the ‘swap’ on an ongoing basis. Start this month with little swaps as frequently as possible.

 

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MARCH: Stretch

Are you coming out of the winter fog? Well, start to stretch those muscles and flex your flexibility! Stretching is a super beneficial practice that many of us often leave out of our daily routines. It is important we add this exercise in as a constant – especially if we’re active or frequently stressed, because it provides us a way to relax the body and the mind.

Flexibility can keep us feeling youthful, although it gets more difficult as we age. Stretching regularly – starting now - can help us remain flexible later in life, which in turn will keep us from getting stiff, having back troubles and even losing our balance and falling. Being flexible doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen. So start this new habit now, so that by the time it really matters, you’ve already overcome the problem before it ever started.

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