Healthy New Year’s resolutions you can achieve

Vicki Hayman

A new year often means a fresh start for some people. This could mean developing new health goals, such as starting an exercise routine, eating a healthier diet, or losing weight.

People often choose wellness and health resolutions that are too restrictive and are difficult to sustain over time. Many people give up on their goals after a few weeks, but then try the same resolutions using the same strategies year after year. 

To break the cycle of setting goals and trying to achieve them in ways that are not sustainable for long term, try setting resolutions that will help you make a lifestyle change you can keep. Here are ideas for New Year’s resolutions you can actually keep.

1. Choose a nourishing diet plan for a lifestyle change, not a crash diet

Don’t put fast, short-term change as a priority over long-term health benefits. Losing weight slowly, using healthy methods is more likely to be sustainable versus drastic, crash diets. With crash diets, the weight may come off quickly, but it usually comes back on just as easily.

Instead of choosing another yo-yo diet cycle, make a resolution for healthy, sustainable weight loss by choosing a balanced way of eating that will work for you and your lifestyle. It’s important to eat whole, nutrient-dense foods and skip sugary, processed foods. When you commit to healthier eating, you will be surprised at how adaptable it can be, which will make it easier to stick with the resolution.

2. Avoid processed convenience foods 

Packaged foods might taste good, but they are not good for your health. Packaged chips, cookies, frozen dinners, and fast food meals might be convenient, but they can have long-term negative impacts on your health if eaten regularly. 

3. Eat whole foods

By choosing unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and meat, you will be giving your body the nutrients it needs to function and improve overall health. Whole foods are as close to the way they occur naturally and don’t have added fillers, sugars, and preservatives that are bad for our health.

A simple way to eat more whole foods is to gradually add one or two whole foods to your diet each day in place of processed foods. For example, choose a green salad over a side of French fries. Minor changes all add up over time.

4. Reduce your consumption of sweetened beverages

Sugary drinks have been shown to increase obesity, heart disease, cavities, and insulin resistance. Replace sugary drinks with water infused with fruit or mint. Hot or cold tea with lemon is also a great substitute. You don’t have to quit cold turkey. Gradually reducing your sweetened drinks until you eventually eliminate them will help you kick the habit and stick to it!

5. Commit to cooking more meals at home

Homemade meals allow you to control the ingredients in your foods. Choose whole foods with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to fuel your body with a high-quality diet. If you start this goal by making at least one healthy meal a day at home and gradually increasing your meal prep and time in the kitchen, you will end up with lower body fat and better overall health than if you were grabbing convenience foods on the go.

6. Keep fresh, healthy foods on hand

Regularly shopping for fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein makes it easier to make healthy meals at home. When the ingredients are at your fingertips, it is less tempting to order take-out or microwave processed foods. Making a list and only buying what is on it helps with budgeting, reduces food waste, and makes it easier to select healthy choices to stock your kitchen.

7. Get better sleep 

Sleep is essential to our overall health. Sleep deprivation is harmful to our minds and bodies in many ways and can cause long-term problems. For everyone, decreasing screen time at night and creating a dark sleeping area can improve sleep. It is also a good idea to avoid caffeine in the evenings and create a routine to follow with a consistent bedtime is also beneficial to getting better sleep. 

8. Get up and move!

With more people spending time in front of computers and televisions at work and home, many people spend more time sitting than being active. A simple resolution to sit less and move more can be easy to incorporate into your day. By making a conscious effort to move at least five minutes an hour, you increase activity. 

9. Participate in a physical activity you enjoy

People often start the new year by purchasing gym memberships and online workout plans with a resolution to shed body fat by working out. To have a greater chance of sticking with your new physical activity, choose one that you truly enjoy and will fit into your budget and schedule.

10. Get regular checkups from your health care

It is vital to get a checkup yearly for routine blood work and screenings. By doing so, potential health problems can be detected early and treated before they get worse. Your health care provider can also help with weight loss management and advice on the best physical activities for your needs.

The best health resolutions are those that are sustainable and can create long-lasting lifestyle changes. Committing to small, positive changes will help you achieve your health goals this year!

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