With a new year looming, resolutions may be top of mind. The best method for making changes is to plan ahead and take baby steps. A complete overhaul of your life is unrealistic and not sustainable. However, making little changes – such as eating more vegetables, walking 1000 extra daily steps, or taking leftovers for lunch to reduce food waste – are small goals that can be introduced slowly over time.

Maybe you’re not sure where to start. Here is a list of the top 10 Carrot Goals for a healthy and happy 2019. Pick one that applies to your life and start a small change. Once that sticks, maybe you can pick another goal too!

  1. Get more physical activity. Aim to be active for at least 150 minutes a week. Exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer, relieves stress, and improves mood. Increase exercise slowly by 10-minute increments. Start by walking and tracking your steps with Carrot!
  2. Swap the pop. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugar in the Canadian diet. All of that sugar isn’t good for our health, so replace one sweet drink each day with water. If plain water is a bit boring, spruce it up with sliced cucumber, lemon, lime, mint or a cinnamon stick.
  3. Find stress-busting solutions. Too much stress can affect our mood, sleep and overall health. While some stress is inevitable, you can learn how to manage it. What works best for you? Maybe it’s meditation, yoga, being with friends, watching a funny movie or exercise. Start by setting aside 10 minutes of “me time” daily.
  4. Add more vegetables. With a carb-and-meat heavy lifestyle, it’s easy to forget that half of the plate should be filled with brightly coloured vegetables – anything from artichoke to zucchini. Add an extra half-cup serving of vegetables to your day. Gradually increase until your plate is half-filled with veggies at every meal.
  5. Reduce the waste. Canadians waste billions of dollars’ worth of food each year. It wastes money, fills garbage dumps and harms the planet. Keep an eye on what you’re wasting, so you can buy and prepare less food. If you have dinner leftovers, pack them for lunch the next day.
  6. Eat for disease prevention. A diet filled with whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, fish, whole grains and healthy oils has been shown to reduce your future risk of heart disease, dementia and many cancers. Slowly swap processed food meals for whole foods instead.
  7. Become smoke-free. Cigarettes are linked to 24 different health conditions. The health benefits of quitting begin within hours of your last cigarette. Make a plan of action to quit. Maybe it’s talking to your doctor, quitting with a friend, calling a helpline or getting a nicotine patch. Take the first step.
  8. Improve sleep habits. Eight hours a night is your long-term goal. How close are you? Step one for getting a better sleep is to turn off your TV and power down your devices. Avoid screens for at least two hours before going to bed.
  9. Be cyber-safe. If your password is 123456 and your anti-virus software is long-expired, you are putting yourself at risk of a cyber-attack. Protect yourself. Update your anti-virus programs and choose passwords that include a hard-to-crack string of letters, numbers and characters.
  10. Enjoy social connections. Happiness is about sharing laughter and love with friends and family. Take a break from the hectic pace of life to reach out to friends, grab lunch together or go for a walk. You’ll be glad you did.

Which goal are you going to aim for? What’s your first step?

Cara Rosenbloom

Author Cara Rosenbloom

Registered Dietitian Cara Rosenbloom is the president of Words to Eat By, a Toronto-based nutrition communications company specializing in writing, recipe development and nutrition education. Read her blog and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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