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14 Small Changes That Add Up To Big Results

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January 7, 2014

Now that the holidays are over, it's time to get focused on the new year. Rather than creating a long list of resolutions (which can seem intimidating and unreachable), try to do something new each day. Small changes can add up to big results over time and are the key to creating lasting change.

Try one or all to reach your goal of a healthier you!

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1. Calm the monkey mind.

Meditate today only for five minutes. Don't worry ... there is no WRONG way to meditate. You just have to do it. Need guidance? Check out the Omvana app.

2. Make your coffee green.

Try matcha tea to get your caffeine fix in the morning. It's something I look forward every morning. It can create a calming ritual (and gets those biceps working as you whisk the tea into a froth).

3. Add a veggie to each meal.

We should be getting five to nine sevings of fruits and veggies a day. This isn't an invitation to gorge on the bounty of winter citrus fruits, however! Limit your fruit intake to two servings a day to avoid spikes in blood sugar. If you're already a veggie lover, try something new like kohlrabi, or a fennel basil smoothie to keep your taste buds guessing.

4. Ditch the gluten. At least for one day.

Notice if you have changes in your mood throughout the day or experience less bloating. With gluten intolerance on the rise, you may be causing inflammation to your body unknowingly. In my practice, patients have often told me they didn't realize how bad they were feeling on their current diet until they removed certain food triggers. Waking up puffy, achy, and congested doesn't have to be your norm!

5. Make your own nut milk.

It's simple and easy. Also it's much more delicious than store bought brands to use in your next cup of hot cocoa.

6. Schedule a playdate.

Invite yourself or a group of friends or family. Often we dread going to the gym and see it as work. But changing what we call "exercise" can have a profound effect on our actually doing it. Go ice skating or jump around on a trampoline. Not only will you increase your heart rate, but you're guaranteed to bring out your inner child!

7. Make a new playlist.

Make a playlist that embodies where you see yourself going in 2014. You can even make one for each area of your life—financial, love, career, etc.

8. Write a letter to yourself.

Set your intentions for the year and then seal it closed. Don't open until Dec 31, 2014. Give it to a trusted friend or lock it away from prying eyes. At the end of the year, it it amazing to see what we have actually accomplished just by putting the intention in black and white.

9. Turn off your phone.

Ideally for a day. Or maybe just an hour. That means no Facebook, email, Twitter, candy crush, Instagram or anything in between. Just BE. Often we unconsciously distract ourselves with mindless activity to avoid facing the truth of what is really going on in our lives. What happens when you just enjoy your own company or dinner with your partner and no one is checking their phone to fill in the the gaps? Magic.

10. Forgive.

Most of us have at least one person in our lives that we need to forgive if we are honest with ourselves. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out, tissue filled process. Just acknowledging the discord in the relationship and forgiving yourself for the role you played can be enough. Let it go and move on.

11. Try acupuncture.

Based on traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture can have a profound effects on your psyche and physical body. Using very tiny needles, it can change your body's response to healing and allow the new you to emerge.

12. Plump your wrinkles naturally.

Drink water. Then drink some more water. Most of us are dehydrated and don't even know it! More than 50% of our body is water so drink up. You should be drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water a day.

13. Get a tongue scraper.

Research has shown that many people's health is held in their mouth. Have you looked at your tongue lately? Notice a white or green coating? Or maybe a groove down the center or a bright red tip? This may be a sign of imbalances in your body such as leaky gut syndrome or yeast overgrowth. Find a functional medicine practitioner in your area to determine if this is cause for concern.

14. Smile.

At a stranger. If they are a cute stranger, I recommend "smizing"! (Smiling with your eyes) Seriously though, this simple and free act can literally change your biochemistry and the other person. Smiling activates the reward centers in your brain for that instant endorphin rush.

At the end of the 14 days, how do you feel? Add to this list and let me know!

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Tiffany Lester, M.D.
Tiffany Lester, M.D.
Functional Medicine Doctor

Tiffany Lester, M.D. is the National Clinical Director of Community at Parsley Health San Francisco, a groundbreaking new medical practice that focuses on nutrition, prevention, and wellness. She received her bachelor's in psychology and biology from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Lester combines the best of both conventional and functional medicine, navigating the complexity of the body to get to the root cause of disease. She is passionate about healing chronic disease through whole foods and teaching people how simple, small shifts can have an enormous impact on their fatigue, stress, and pain levels.