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Make New Year's Resolutions Stick!

New Year’s allows us a time to reboot … it’s life’s do-over button.

Make New Year’s Resolutions Stick

It’s that time of year, the age-old tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. I personally love this tradition. To me it’s a time to look ahead and decide who I want to be in the upcoming year and what I want to accomplish. It’s also an exercise in introspection, narrowing down what defines us, our priorities and what will help us be content and happy.

We all start out strong, resolve to do this or that- lose weight, budget better, get organized- but for many of us it’s long forgotten by March.

How do we make New Year’s resolutions stick? Why do you find yourself repeating the same resolution over and over, year in, year out?

Because instead of declarations, to make big life changes, we need an action plan, guidance and most of all support!

Keep reading for a step-by-step approach for New Year’s resolution goal-setting and a free journal template you can have emailed right to you, get started, click here.

How about this year we approach our resolutions a little differently? Instead of grand resolutions, set 3-5 priorities to focus on (career? Friends? family?). Next, identify actionable goals for each category. Third, what are the steps needed to take to get there? And finally, what are some setbacks you might anticipate?

Plan your action steps

  1. Identify your priorities
  2. For each priority, define your goals. The more specific the better.
  3. Outline, step-by-step, what you need to do to reach that goal.
  4. Brainstorm a few obstacles you anticipate may derail you.
  5. What tools can you use to keep accountable?

Want to make time for meditation and mental health? Schedule time in your day, find an app like Headspace that can help you, and set reminders to make it a habit.

Want to spend more quality time with your family? Take a hard look at your schedule for 2017 and ask yourself how you can manage your work schedule to be more available to them. Maybe that means shutting down your laptop at 7 pm sharp. Or maybe consider setting an automatic email responder to let clients know you’re unavailable on the weekend. Or it means planning quarterly getaways and getting scheduling work trips in advance around those.

Or perhaps, like most of us, you’d like 2017 to be the year you get in great shape. But before you write down “I want to lose weight,” or “I’m going to get in shape,” define exactly what that means to you.

Do you have a health condition you need to tackle? Or maybe you need to focus on weight loss around your midsection. Then follow through the steps: what has been slowing you down? Crazy schedule? Or maybe you don’t feel confident about your cooking skills. Whatever the block is, find a solution – schedule non-negotiable time for your workouts in advance or subscribe to a meal service or take some cooking classes.

Above all you’ll want to hold yourself accountable in some way. I’ve always found the buddy system to be the most effective. A friend or relative that’s invested in seeing you succeed can help keep you on track and check-in periodically, help you troubleshoot ways to get past areas of resistance.

You know what’s even more effective? Hire a coach to help you get there. The most successful people are those who identify the areas they need professional help with and invest in the support they need to succeed.

It’s not too late to make this your best year ever! Download your journal template.

January is a perfect time to take inventory and start to assess what you want the rest of your year to look like. Though, honestly, this is a good exercise to try any time of year.

Give it a try – get your favorite journal out or get the free journal worksheet template sent to your inbox, click here. I’ve put together questions to help get you started and guide you through the process.

heart latte art

Nutrition and Lifestyle for Heart Health

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of mortality worldwide – responsible for 17 million deaths last year, it’s expected to rise by another 6 million by the year 2030.

Those are staggering statistics, but don’t let the numbers scare you… a little education can go a long way in learning how to minimize your risks and improve your heart health, naturally.

The heart is the center of our cardiovascular system and beats an average of 100,000 times per day supplying oxygen rich blood to the whole body. Every day we make choices that have a profound effect on the health of this vital organ. Most cardiovascular or heart disease (CVD or HD) maybe linked to lifestyle risk factors such as lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, stress, and poor eating habits. Though there is a genetic component that might also play a hand.

The Silent Killer

One of the most common risk factors of CVD is elevated blood pressure or hypertension (HTN). Often called the ‘silent killer’, hypertension can cause significant damage throughout the cardiovascular and other body systems and ultimately results in over 80 million deaths each year.

Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted on the inside of blood vessels as the heart pumps the blood through the body. When there is resistance in the vessels, the pressure rises and hypertension results. The longer hypertension goes undetected and/or uncontrolled, the greater the damage to blood vessels and other organs. Hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, ruptured blood vessels, kidney disease or failure, and heart failure.

Warning signs for high blood pressure are rare (hence the name “Silent killer”) but can include headaches, blurred vision, lightheadedness, shortness of breath and nosebleeds.

Know Your Numbers

Hypertension is diagnosed by analyzing the 2 numbers in your BP reading:

  • Systolic pressure (the top number) is the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats (contracts).
  • Diastolic pressure (bottom number or think D for “Down”) represents the pressure in your arteries between beats.

Normal blood pressure is below 120/80

Prehypertension is 120 – 139 systolic or 80 – 89 diastolic.

Hypertension is 140/90 or higher

It’s also good to note that HTN is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome (or pre-diabetes) along with 4 other factors that include abdominal weight gain, elevated Triglycerides, and low HDL (that’s the good cholesterol).

The Potassium* Secret for Heart Healthy

You’ve no doubt heard the best thing to do when you have hypertension is to reduce the amount of salt/sodium in your diet. Did you know the average adult needs 4,700 mg of potassium daily compared to only 200 mg of sodium. Unfortunately for most of us, our eating habits give us way too much sodium – 3,300 mg a day – and not nearly enough potassium. This imbalance can increase your risk of developing hypertension.

What’s truly important for your heart, and a more accurate strategy to prevent high blood pressure, is to balance the relationship between potassium and sodium (salt) in your daily diet. Proper sodium-potassium balance is necessary for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, fluid balance, and the optimal health of all the cells in your body. In regard to the heart, potassium is particularly important for regulating heart rhythm and maintaining blood pressure.

By reducing your sodium intake, you are often correcting the sodium-potassium imbalance without realizing it. For the best benefit to heart health, eat more potassium-rich foods such as sweet potato, spinach, banana, peas, legumes, apricots, avocados, halibut and molasses*.

5 Heart Heart Health Tips

  1. Heart-healthy diet do’s: Eat a variety of fresh fruits and dark green veggies daily. Use plant-based oils for cooking. Eat mindfully, not on-the-run. Reduce or eliminate packaged foods, sugar, and red meat.
  2. Exercise: Walk, no need to run- as little as 30 minutes of daily, brisk walking lowers your risk for hypertension.
  3. Spend less time sitting: In a recent study, those who logged in more than 4 hours of screen time where at 125% higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Invest in a standing desk, take frequent moving breaks throughout the day, track your daily steps, or use a balance ball to sit instead of a chair.
  4. Learn to manage stress: Using healthy coping techniques, such as, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, and getting quality sleep.
  5. Supplemental support: Nutritional supplements** shown to support heart health include Hawthorn, CoQ10, Essential Fatty Acids, Magnesium, Garlic and B-vitamins. There’s heaps of research to support the use of these supplements and herbs effectively. Talk with your healthcare provider or nutritionist to learn what would be best for you.

*Because some blood pressure medications affect the potassium level in the body, be sure and discuss the best strategy for making this adjustment with your doctor.

 **Supplements you might have heard about—Natto-K (nattokinase), Guggul, or Niacin—should not be taken without the supervision of your health practitioner.


  1. Murray, M. “Hypertension” as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier. (chapter 174), 1475-1485.
  2. Johnson, R.L., S. Foster, Low Dog, T. and Kiefer, D. “Plants and the Heart” in National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2012. 100-101.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed on December 11, 2015.:
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  5. National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute. “Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure.” Updated September 2015.
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  12. American Heart Association. “Walking Can Lower Risk of Heart Related Conditions” Accessed on December 11, 2015.
  13. American Heart Association. “Potassium and high blood pressure.” Last Updated August 04, 2014. Accessed on December 11, 2015.
  14. Harvard School of Public Health. “Shifting the Balance of Sodium and Potassium in Your Diet.” Accessed on December 11, 2015.
  15. Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center. “Sodium (Chloride).” Last Reviewed 2008. Accessed on December 11, 2015.
  16. Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center. “Potassium.” Last Reviewed 2010. Accessed on December 11, 2015.
  17. Saba, Magdi M. et al., “Concepts of the Heart in Ancient Egypt” Med Sci. (Paris). 20, no.3 (March 2004): 367 – 373.
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