Set Your Priorities

Achieve your goals with an action plan.

Reaching your goals can be exhilarating, whether it is on a personal or business level. Setting goals and priorities that align with your values is a good way to stay focused on the things that matter.

Want to become a better parent, a healthier person or more successful at work? Ask yourself this: What am I doing towards my goal? Are my priorities and values aligned to help me reach my goals? Do my lifestyle choices align with my goals?

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without them, you lack focus and direction. Simply saying “I want this or that” doesn’t really work.

The most essential part of goal-setting is prioritizing your goals and having focus. Have you ever decided to accomplish multiple goals at the same time? It is necessary to select and determine which goals are the most important to you and why.

People are different; what motivates me might not necessarily motivate you. This is why only you can decide what your goals are and how you are going to achieve them.

Set yourself up for success with these 5 steps:

1. Set goals that motivate you.
This means setting goals based on what is important to you. What are your priorities? Set goals based on those, and it will act as your motivation. If you don’t like the goal or believe in it, then it shouldn’t be a goal at all.

2. Set SMART goals.
Yes, you’ve heard it a million times, but it works! Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Clear goals give you direction and focus. Measure your success by creating a timeline. Make sure your goals are achievable; if you have no hopes of achieving them, you will not have confidence.

3. Write down your goals to make them “real.”
Use positive language, like I “will” instead of “would like to.”

4. Create an action plan.
Think about your priorities & how are you going to align them with reaching your goals. Think about the small steps you have to take towards your goal.

5. Be accountable and commit.
Here’s the truth: you will not always be motivated and you will not always be “in the mood.” But you need to always be committed. Being accountable means that you realize that you are the only one in charge of reaching your goals.

Discipline and commitment are the keys to success, and through them, habits are created – habits that don’t die out half way through the year, that last you for life, that become a part of you. This is the “secret” to succeeding.


12 Months to a Healthier You – A Mai Kholief Initiative

TOPIC OF THE MONTH: Reduce the risk of diabetes.

Why is it common that we all have at least one family member that suffers from diabetes?  What have we been doing wrong? Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing diseases in the world. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which is mainly diagnosed in children. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, mainly affects adults over the age of 40 and is a consequence of both genetics and lifestyle habits.

Did you know that 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2? When you think about it, this comes as no surprise, especially with increased consumption of fast foods and sugar-dense diets. This, added with the exponential growth of technology, specifically social media, which has brought us a lot closer together at the expense of keeping us physically further apart, is almost the perfect recipe for an unhealthy lifestyle. screen_shot_2017-07-12_at_3-30-49_pm-1

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes include:

  • Constantly feeling very tired and thirsty
  • Cuts & wounds take longer to heal
  • Blurred vision
  • Losing weight without trying

The World Health Organization estimates that over 382 million people over the world are diagnosed with diabetes. This represents around just over 5% of the world population. Now, when you realize that a whopping 23.9% of Saudi’s population is effected with diabetes (almost 5 times the global average!), you can start to grasp the gravity of the problem.

Why is the rate of diabetes high in Saudi? For many of the same reasons that the obesity level is so high: we have become less mobile, and we are on a ‘constant feast’ of high glycemic index carbs – foods that raise blood sugar levels too quickly and are then followed with a ‘crash’.

Healthier food options include oatmeal, sweet potatoes, lentils and legumes, which all help maintain blood sugar levels. Increased mobility can be in the form of taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking on any of Jeddah’s famous ‘Mamshas.’ Exercising should be a part of everyone’s life – find something that motivates you and stick to it. o-how-to-cook-oatmeal-facebook

To reduce your risk of type 2 Diabetes:

  • Get checked regularly by your Doctor
  • Move more often
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat more low glycemic index foods

Yes, you choose your lifestyle! Research continues to confirm that your health and well-being is about 75% lifestyle and 25% genes. Taking responsibility for your health is the most important step to lead a healthy lifestyle. By avoiding your responsibility, you become part of the problem, but by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, you play a direct part in the solution, not only for yourself but for those around you.mamshaaaaa

The International Diabetes Care Center (IDCC) in Jeddah provides support in managing diabetes.

Location: Prince Sultan Rd., Next to Jarir Mall
Tel: 920004478
Facebook: idccksa

Take the Challenge!

Cut out one “sugar habit” from your diet for a month, and let us know how you did!


12 months to a Healthier You

August habit: 10,000 daily steps towards health.

Taking 10,000 steps a day is a basic requirement for optimal health, like drinking adequate amounts of water each day.

In order to stay fit, you still need to exercise in addition to daily walks. I always say walking is not sufficient exercise. To me, it is more of an essential movement. For optimal health and fitness, strive for 10,000 daily steps every day in addition to a regular exercise program including high intensity training and strength training.

How can I know how many steps I take every day? In my opinion, one of the best monitors is FitBit, which tracks how many steps are taken each day and you can program it to track your walking/running distance, endurance training, strength training along with calories burnt during all these exercises. Recent research showed that wearing FitBit also helped overweight postmenopausal women increase their daily activity levels by nearly 40 minutes (789 steps) a week.

Is walking 10,000 steps really required? Yes! A recent study found that daily walking for an hour reduced the risk of stroke for men over the age of 60 by as much as one-third, and it doesn’t matter how brisk the walk was. As far as fitness goes, walking will only help you out if you are starting out extremely out of shape. Therefore, a regular exercise routine is required to stay fit. Walking is an essential maintenance activity that will allow you to be healthy into old age.stairs-1800

Keep this in mind: Since walking isn’t really exercise and you should be doing it every day, you don’t have to worry about being sore or wanting to give your muscles a break to recover.

According to UK’s National Health Service, the average person only walks between 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. You don’t have to walk 10,000 steps in one go; break it down as you see fit. If you work in an office environment, make sure to get up and walk around every 15-20 minutes. This will also help you take a break from the awkward office posture and allow better blood flow and a clear mind.

Want to burn more during your walks? Ordinary walking does not qualify as high intensity training, however, there is a way to turn it into one. Try high intensity interval training where you walk for 30 seconds and walk briskly or jog for another 30 seconds.

Traveling? Make sure to pack comfortable sneakers and walk as much as possible for transportation. Spending the summer in town? Strap on a pair of comfortable shoes and enjoy the sales while shopping in an air conditioned mall.

Staying active and healthy is your responsibility. It might be challenging at first to maintain a healthy habit, but taking a step each day will absolutely get you a step closer to be healthier versions of YOU!


12 Months to a Healthier You

June Habit: Guilt free indulgence, this Ramadan.

This Ramadan, your post-iftar eating habits can either help you make massive strides towards your health goal, or it can lead to laziness, and even sickness. Take advantage of this holy month, and be good to your body and

If you are like me, you will crave any form of dessert after iftar. While this is normal, satisfying your sweet tooth is a dangerous game, but it is not off limits. There are several ways to enjoy a deliscious dessert without jeopardizing your overall long-term health goals.banana

If you make smart choices you won’t have to give up sweets entirely this Ramadan.

Remember this: What one person considers “healthy”, might not be suitable for another. Someone who actively avoids gluten may not be too concerned about sugar content, whereas another individual who avoids carbs might still indulge in dairy products. The goal is to pre-assess the dessert against your own health objectives.chocolate

Middle Eastern desserts are traditional in Ramadan, but, along with other sweets, they are saturated with sugar and fat. These sweets are considered empty calories because they offer very little (if any) nutritional value.berry

Portion Control and Total Daily Intake are your new best friends. Have one small piece of your favorite dessert to satisfy the cravings, but don’t make a meal out of it. Make note of the entire sugar intake of the day, not just per-meal intake.

A small piece of dark chocolate is a great option. You can also opt for other treats with nutritional value, such as fresh fruits or Greek yogurt.12-months

Fruit Parfait Recipe for a Healthy dessert this Ramadan:


1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup or your favorite fruits
1 cup of granola or oats


  • Cut your fruits into thin slices.
  • In serving glasses, or bowls, arrange the layers in the following order: yogurt, granola, yogurt, fruit and so on.
  • Top it off with a drizzle of honey, a dash of cinnamon and roasted almonds.

This delightful treat makes a great & nutritious snack filled with protein, carbs and fats and is quick to put together.strawberry

You can have your cake, and eat it too. Here are a few other tips to keep it healthy in Ramadan:

  • Follow the sunnah when breaking your fast by having dates and water.
  • Eat fruits on an empty stomach instead of after your meal.
  • Opt for healthier dessert options.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eat small meals.
  • Engage in exercises like brisk walking.
  • Don’t skip suhoor!


12 Months to a Healthier You

Detox, the right way!

As part of the 12 Months to a Healthier You campaign, this month is all about detoxing. We are continuously bombarded with the latest juice detox fads, which usually lack any form of scientific evidence, yet we are still swayed to try them out because of the associated simplicity, and allure of the promise of a ‘quick-fix’.

Until there is substantial scientific evidence that juice fasts contribute to better health, we should avoid anything that puts the body through immense strain. Unfortunately, new trends have even taken it a step further by linking detoxing with weight loss. Keep in mind that any “weight loss” during such fixes (typically for 3 days) mostly just get rid of water weight, and the weight will just as easily return a few days after the detox is over.

Cleanses are usually low in protein, but we all need a daily supply of protein to build healthy immune cells and muscle recovery. Consequently, you do not lose fat and you do not become healthier with a juice fast.

Rather than opting for a quick fix, make lifestyle changes that last. Go for natural and organic foods that will reduce the intake amount of processed preservatives. One of the easiest ways to clean out your system and remove toxins is by drinking plenty of water. Adding lemon to warm water first thing in the morning is not only refreshing, the Vitamin C helps boost the immune system.

Detox towards a healthier you by making small changes that have an everlasting effect.

My favorite ways to detox:

  • Drink more water.
  • Exercise more.
  • Eat more greens.
  • Opt for organic foods when possible.
  • Get a good and intense massage.
  • Replace sugary drinks with green tea.
  • Incorporate superfoods such as quinoa into your meals.
  • Cut out refined sugars.
  • Eliminate foods with additives and preservatives.
  • Go meatless once a week.