Happy New Year! The Live, Love, Leap guide to living a healthy, happy and prosperous life is back in action. After a brief hiatus from just about everything, health article included, I have some thoughts to share about starting anew and making 2018 the year of transformation.

Mindset is a crucial element. Nearly every health-coaching client I have seen post-holiday has a guilt-filled story about binging on processed foods and sweets. Enjoying those guilty pleasures over the holidays is part of what makes the holidays so much fun. And that joy overrides unhealthy foods, because it nourishes our hearts and our souls. Should we eat junk food all the time? Of course not. Should we allow ourselves to relax, de-stress and enjoy a food item or beverage not on the meal plan? Absolutely! Eat high quality, nutritious foods 90 percent of the time, and 10 percent of the time just go for it.

How can you enjoy your life without carrying guilt and shame about the foods you ate? Like I said before, mindset is key here. As we look down the 2018 road ahead, there are two paths we could take: the path of consistency or the path of intensity. Most people chose the latter path. But If you really want to make a long-term, sustainable health transformation, consistency is the answer.

Let’s start with movement. Ask yourself, “What will get me moving?” Physical activity can take simple and modest forms, like taking the stairs instead of an elevator to get to your office. Try a 30-minute brisk walk with a friend or dog, group exercise class, gym workout, run, swim, snowshoe, or anything else that works your heart, lungs and full body. Try doing it at the same time everyday. Think consistency. If you miss a day, laugh it off and start over again. It’s that easy. Lose the guilt and shame.

I have mentioned food in numerous articles because food is medicine. Sixty-five percent of Americans are overweight and sick with heart disease and diabetes, all of which is curable with whole food. Make a meal plan filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and water. These whole food items repair cellular damage created by processed and junk foods. Think about food that is just one ingredient, such as: rice, potato, chicken, fish, egg, apple, spinach, kale and so on. Whatever you decide to eat, stay consistent by eating more whole food than processed food and soon enough your body will experience significant positive changes.

What we think, affects the way we feel. Here are four amazing daily mantras to keep your head on straight. They come from the book,”The Four Agreements.” Be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. Life is hard, so have compassion for your fellow humans; we are all doing the best we can with what we got. Say these four agreements with intention each morning and afternoon. Take a deep breath and make it a ritual.

Imagine looking back on 2018 with 365 days of positive thinking, healthy eating and fun movement behind you. If you want to look back on 2018 and say, “Wow, that did make all the difference,” then I recommend you go to my website at ryanhoweshealth.com because I can help you stay consistent.