FrostI recently read an article by a woman who was sharing an epiphany she had had about her health. Instead of obsessing about big transformations, she committed to five small changes she could realistically make and consistently maintain to boost her overall health.

I often get overwhelmed by the number of things I should and need to do to support my body. How can I do all of them and still fulfill all of my other obligations and have some old fashioned fun? (In fact, I think I ranted about this frustration to my dental hygienist the last time I was there…sorry, Vicki.)

Last year at my annual physical, I found out that my cholesterol was slightly elevated. My doctor felt that consistently taking fish oil might take care of it, but I didn’t completely follow through in 2009. Years of depression and anxiety, and treatment for that (absolutely essential at the time but coming with some significant side effects) have taken their toll in terms of my weight, energy and confidence.

My grandfather died of diabetes-related heart disease in his 50s. My sweet mom was treated for breast cancer last year. At the age of 41, I feel like I don’t have any time to lose in terms of making my health a priority. I am loving life (finally!) and I don’t want mine to be cut unnecessarily short.

Part of being an adult is facing the fact that no one is going to take care of me. If I want to be healthy, I need to take care of myself. And that means some hard work.

So, this idea seemed like a keeper.

Some of the changes I’ve successfully made over the last few years, thanks to the inspiration of my friend Colleen and Dr. Henry Emmons’ book are eating (a lot) more vegetables, incorporating quinoa as a protein source into my diet, taking daily Vitamin D3 (at least 1000 mg), incorporating more natural options as sweeteners in place of sugar, and tons of breathing for stress relief.

So, these are my “five small changes” for 2010…things that I have known are good for my health, but have not been able to consistently do. By focusing on just these five, I’m hoping I’ll have success.

1. Eat one tablespoon of flax seed each day, whether in a glass of juice, smoothie, or hidden in a meatloaf.

2. Get at least seven hours of sleep every night (ok, maybe not on Kierans Pub nights, but otherwise...)

3. Take my omegas in the form of fish oil capsules every day (1000 mg of Omega 3…add together the EPA and DHA to make sure you’re getting the total amount.)

4. At least 15 minutes of heart rate-raising exercise every day. Some days it will be much more than this (I have a 1.25 hour yoga class at least once a week), but making it a daily essential is a new commitment for me.

5. Floss every single day.

What are your five small changes?