Funny how each New Year’s dawning brings with it a sense of anticipation. What is it about going from December 31st to January 1st that has us all a-watchin’ and a-waitin’, a-hopin’ and a-prayin’ for a better year than the one that just past?

Possibly it is the brand new calendar we’ve pinned up on the wall, or the sense that there is some cosmic “do over” or reset button that has just been pressed. Whatever the reason for our expectancy, it is definitely the beginning of something new, and if we choose, we, too, can start anew.

Today I hope to encourage you to cultivate three foundational, health-breeding habits this New Year. Then you won’t just be a-hopin’ and a-prayin’ for better health, you will be a-thinkin’ and a-actin’ to make this year one of your healthiest!

1. Sleep Well
Be intentional about getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Turn down the lights in your home one hour before bedtime so you can begin to make a full supply of melatonin. This way you can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep ‘til morning.

2.  Move Well
Exercise like your health depends on it—because it does! From dementia to obesity, cancer to arthritis…all of these health problems can be warded off, and some even reversed, if regular exercise was included in your week. A weekly goal of 150 minutes spent participating in some form of movement (which would cause your voice to become a bit “huffy” if you were attempting to carry on a conversation simultaneously).

3. Eat Well
The foods you ingest today are the building blocks of your ‘tomorrow body’. How well/how long do you think you can survive on white bread and pasta washed down with apple juice? Whole grains, lean proteins, fresh, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates are the staples of a healthy diet.

When these three habits are established, an occasional late night out, missed week of exercise, or a sugary snack treat will not cause your health to veer off course.

I wish you all a happy, HEALTHY New Year!