For many people, a new year represents a fresh start. For some, this may mean setting health goals, such as losing weight, eating a healthier diet, and beginning an exercise routine.
However, most people give up their resolutions after a few weeks because the health and wellness decisions they choose are limited and unsustainable. For this reason, many people make the same resolutions year after year.
To break that cycle, it’s important to make resolutions that will not only enhance your health but also be followed by you for the long term. Here are 8 New Year’s resolutions you can keep.
1. Sit less and move more
Many people sit more than they should, whether it’s due to a sedentary work or simply being idle. Sitting for long periods of time could have negative effects on one’s health.
Making a resolution to sit less is a simple and achievable goal that can be adjusted to your own lifestyle. For example, if you work at a desk and spend a lot of time sitting, make a goal to go for a 15-minute walk at lunch or to get up and walk every hour.
2. Find a physical activity that you enjoy
Every New Year, people spend a lot of money on gym memberships, workout studio memberships, and online fitness programs in the hopes of losing weight in the coming year. Even though most people start off strong, most of them fail to turn their new routine into a long-term habit. Even so, there are ways to improve your odds of sticking to your exercise goals. To begin, pick an activity that you will enjoy and that fits into your schedule. Simple and long-term workout goals can include taking a half-hour walk, jog, or bike ride before work, or swimming at a gym on your way home. Then, rather than aiming for every day, choose an achievable goal, such as arranging to walk a few days per week. Making a more realistic goal can increase the likelihood that your new routine will stick, especially if you’re new to working out.
3. Get more restful sleep
People don’t get enough sleep for a variety of reasons, so focusing on your schedule and lifestyle to discover the best approaches to enhance sleep quantity and quality is critical.
Sleep is an important aspect of general health, and not getting enough of it can have major effects. Sleep deprivation, for example can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and depression.
Simple measures to enhance quality of sleep include limiting screen time before bed, reducing light pollution in your bedroom, reducing coffee intake, and going to bed at a reasonable hour.
4. Practice self-care
Taking care of yourself is not self-indulgent. It is, in fact, necessary for optimal health and well-being. This is especially true for caregivers such as parents and healthcare workers. Making a resolution to engage in self-care may require some planning for people with busy schedules and limited time. However, the time investment is well worth it. Self-care does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. It could be as simple as taking a bath once a week, going to your favorite weekly yoga class, preparing a healthy meal for yourself, going for a nature walk, or sleeping an extra hour. Making a resolution to spend less time scrolling through social media, watching TV, or playing computer games may help you feel better and be more productive.
5. Cut back on alcohol consumption
While alcohol can certainly be part of a healthy diet, drinking too much of it can be harmful to your health. Furthermore, drinking alcohol on a regular basis may prevent you from reaching your health and wellness goals. If you think cutting back on alcohol may be helpful for you, set a reasonable goal to keep yourself on track, such as limiting drinking to weekend nights only or setting a drink limit for the week.
6. Try a new hobby
It’s common for adults to let once-loved hobbies fall by the wayside as they get older due to busy schedules or lack of motivation. However, studies show that engaging in a hobby you enjoy can help you live a longer, healthier life. Make a resolution to try out a hobby you’ve always wanted to try — or to restart a hobby that used to bring you joy.
7. Visit your doctor
Getting examined regularly by your healthcare provider is important for many reasons. Having regular blood work and necessary screenings can help spot potential problems before they turn into something more serious. Though the frequency of your doctor’s visits depends on many things, including the type of medical care, your age, and your medical history, most experts recommend seeing your primary care physician at least once a year for a checkup.
8. Create a sustainable, nourishing diet
You may be making a resolution to eat healthier or lose weight year after year because you’re prioritizing short-term changes over long-term health benefits.
Instead of making a plan to follow yet another restrictive fad diet, this New Year, make a resolution to break the dieting cycle and create a sustainable, nourishing eating pattern that works for you. The healthiest diet is one that’s rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods and low in heavily processed, sugary products. A healthy, long-term diet should not only be nutritious but also adaptable, meaning you can follow it for life — no matter the circumstances.
A sustainable eating pattern can be maintained on vacation, during holidays, and at parties because it’s unrestrictive and suited to your lifestyle. Having a well-stocked pantry and fridge is necessary to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals. Adding more cooked and raw vegetables and fruits to your diet can go a long way towards improving your health in the new year. Numerous studies have shown that eating a diet rich in produce helps protect against various illnesses, such as diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers, and obesity, as well as overall mortality. Many people rely on convenience foods, such as packaged chips, cookies, frozen dinners, and fast food, for a quick meal or snack. Though these items may be tasty and readily available, they can have detrimental effects on your health if eaten too often. For example, frequent fast food intake is associated with poor overall diet quality, obesity, and an increased risk of numerous conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. To cut back on your consumption of convenience foods, make a resolution to prepare more meals at home using healthy ingredients. Whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and seafood, are high in nutrients that your body requires to function at its best.
According to research, eating a whole-foods-based diet could lower your risk of heart disease, body weight, and blood sugar levels, as well as lessen your chance of certain diseases including type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line
While most New Year’s resolutions are broken after a few weeks, the healthy resolutions listed above are long-term strategies for improving your physical and emotional health. Changing your eating habits and taking better care of your body and mind can have a significant impact on your overall health. Try out a few of the resolutions in this article this New Year to help make this year — and the years ahead — the healthiest and happiest ever.