Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.DHurray! It’s a new year and a new start to make resolutions to improve your health and general well-being. Last year's resolutions might have included losing weight, eating healthier, or starting a workout, but how many were over by the end of January? People often set unattainable and extremely restrictive health goals, which can lead to them breaking their resolutions after a few weeks. Keep reading to find out how to set realistic and attainable new year’s resolutions for a better you!
Eat more whole foods Eating whole foods will generally and significantly improve your health. Whole foods, which include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and seafood, are rich in nutrients that enhance your health and help you stay healthy. Studies show that eating whole foods lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. To achieve your new year’s resolution of eating healthy, start by adding one serving of your favorite vegetable to your daily diet.
Get moving A sedentary lifestyle can be an unfortunate side effect for many. Perhaps your job requires sitting at a desk all day, or maybe you are retired and staying home so high activity isn't necessary. Whatever the reason, the health implications of a sedentary lifestyle are evident in increased mortality rates. A simple, achievable new year's resolution to stay healthy is to spend less time sitting down. Consider taking a 15-minute walk during your lunch break or getting up and moving around for five minutes every hour. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will feel more energized and motivated to get up and move.
Consume fewer sugary foods Sugary foods and drinks are linked to many diseases, such as obesity, fatty liver, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. Reducing your sugar consumption is a smart move to stay healthy. Consider making it a habit to gradually reduce the amount of sugar you consume. For example, you could choose to reduce your soda consumption by one serving each day.
Get healthy sleep Lack of quality sleep threatens your health; it may increase your risk of heart disease and depression. The quality of your sleep may be affected by many factors, so look into your schedule and lifestyle to determine the best ways to improve your sleep quality. For example, you can improve your sleep by decreasing your screen time at night, reducing the amount of light in your bedroom, or reducing caffeine intake. Sometimes, your healthcare provider may prescribe melatonin to help restore healthy sleep patterns if lifestyle modification is insufficient.
Exercise regularly Like many, you may be tempted to sign up for expensive gyms, workout studios, or online fitness programs the moment January arrives. Though many start strong, most people fail to make their new routine a lasting habit. Instead of overwhelming yourself with unrealistic exercise goals, make it a habit to do an exercise you enjoy regularly. Your exercise routine may include riding a bike, swimming, or jogging. It may be overwhelming if you do it every day, so commit to just 30 minutes a few days per week. The key is just to be consistent.
Quit smoking Smoking poses a significant threat to your health, and quitting may be your best resolution to stay healthy. The moment you cease smoking, your body begins to make changes that improve your quality of life. Those changes include improved reproductive health, increased life expectancy, and better eyesight. Among options to help you quit smoking are the use of non-nicotine medications such as Chantix or bupropion and nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gum, nasal sprays, inhalers, and lozenges.
Cut back on alcohol Too much alcohol is a risk factor for conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, cancer, and memory impairment. Reducing your alcohol intake can drastically improve your health. However, it may be unrealistic to stop drinking alcohol completely, especially because the potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms may lure you back. Instead, limiting alcohol consumption to weekend nights or setting a drink limit is a more attainable goal.
Try meditation Try meditation to promote your mental well-being. Meditation is a helpful way to relieve anxiety and depression while improving your general well-being.
Limit processed foods Processed foods, such as packaged chips, cookies, frozen dinners, and fast foods, can harm your heart if you consume them too much. In addition, eating too much processed food is a risk factor for obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Learn how to step up your nutrition game, cut off your convenience food consumption, and make a resolution to prepare more meals at home.
Visit your doctor Visit your healthcare provider and complete your annual health screening. Regular health screenings can prevent and detect potentially fatal conditions before it is too late. Your recommended health screening will depend on your age and medical history. A new year's resolution to complete a checkup at least once a year is an excellent start to staying healthy.