Make a plan you can stick with
New Year’s resolutions can sometimes be hard to keep, especially if our goals are too lofty or ambiguous. Whether those resolutions are big or small, most people struggle to commit to them long-term because their goals aren’t specific enough. If you need some inspiration, here are 10 healthy New Year’s resolutions and how to keep at them all year long.
A great way to improve our health is by practicing gratitude. Through gratitude, we can sleep better, lower our cortisol levels, and are less moody. There are many ways to develop a daily gratitude practice. At the start of every week, list 20 things you’re grateful for and post the list somewhere you’ll see it often.
If your new year goal is to reduce stress, try taking a walk. By walking for just 10 minutes every day, you can improve your mood. To make your walk even more effective, try a walking meditation, which has been proven effective in reducing depression. To practice walking meditation, focus on every sensation in your body with each step. Through sight, sound, and touch, tune into your body and surroundings completely.
Trying to squeeze exercise into a busy schedule is difficult. Set a small, realistic goal and make it fun. Are you meeting a friend for coffee? Suggest going for a walk instead. Need your kids to burn some energy? Play frisbee at the park with them. Get creative with your workouts and you’ll have a better chance of following through.
Meditation has several health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and improving memory. If you’d like to meditate more during the year, commit to a specific amount of time. If you’re frustrated by the lack of time to dedicate to meditation, change your expectations. You don’t need that much time to practice, especially at first. Try meditating for five minutes when you first wake up. Set a timer, relax, and focus on your breathing.
While modern life requires many of us to spend most of our time indoors, spending time outside can improve our health. When you’re outside, you absorb vitamin D, which can decrease depression and protect against illness, such as osteoporosis. Natural light boosts your mood, reduces brain fog, and speeds healing. Make sure you spend 15 minutes outside every day, even when it’s cold!
Sleeping at least seven hours per night is imperative to good health. If you want to get better sleep, try creating a sleeping ritual. This can include anything that relaxes and primes you for a good night’s rest. Reading, drinking chamomile tea, and listening to relaxing music are some examples of what can be included in your sleep ritual.
It’s hard to kick a sugar habit but eating too much can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Since limiting sugar is tough, take baby steps. Replace soda with herbal teas. If you have a dessert every night, eat a piece of fruit or cheese instead of cookies or other confections. Be sure to check the ingredients in the processed foods you eat. Sugar can be lurking in places you don’t usually expect.
Dehydration is the cause for a lot of health woes, such as dry skin and brain fog. Daily requirements vary from person to person due to a number of factors, such as weight and activity level. However, generally, healthy people can follow their thirst to stay adequetly hydrated. If your urine is pale yellow, you’re most likely getting enough. Starting your morning with a glass of water upon waking can put you on the right track to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Gut health has garnered a lot attention recently—and for good reason. Research shows our microbiomes have wide ranging affects on our health, impacting our anxiety levels, immune response, likelihood of developing disease, and more. By consuming more prebiotic and probiotic foods, we can increase the good bacteria in our gut flora. Add prebiotic and probiotic foods, such as garlic and yogurt, into your daily diet to improve your gut health.
It’s easy to grab fruit on the go, but it isn’t as simple to grab some vegetables when you’re on the run. To eat four or five servings each day, prepare them when you have some down time and snack throughout the day. Cut veggies, like peppers, cucumbers, and mushrooms, ahead of time to add to your omelet in the morning. Add greens to your smoothie and order a side salad with your meal.