healthy, exercise, outdoors

It’s no secret that ‘getting healthy’ tends to sit at the top of most people’s New Year’s resolutions. But why do so many of us struggle following through? The top two reasons the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail are because the resolutions we choose are too big and thus feel unattainable, and there’s no structure in place to help maintain and track changes.

The key to making healthy habits stick is to break your overall goal down into small steps that are positive, specific, and achievable. Here are some healthy habits to consider adapting for the New Year and beyond:

  1. Start your day with a glass of water.
    Drinking water will help energize you, improve your complexion, and help regulate your blood pressure. A good goal amount to aim for is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So someone that weighs 150 pounds should drink at least 75 ounces of water per day. Carry a reusable water bottle with you and/or set alarms as reminders to make it easier to remember to stay hydrated.
  2. Walk for 10 minutes at a time.
    Instead of overwhelming yourself with the goal of “exercising more”, start with something small and manageable. Start off by walking for just 10 minutes a day. As time goes by, you can increase the amount of time you spend on each walk or add more 10-minute walks in your day. Getting just two hours of exercise a week can have a positive impact on your heart health, lung capacity, blood pressure, and weight.
  3. Swap one takeout meal for a home cooked one.
    Cooking meals at home, versus ordering takeout, allows you to have more control over the ingredients and calories you’re consuming. Try meal-prepping on the weekends and freezing meals to eat throughout the week if you’re generally short on time. If you typically rely on takeout for the majority of your meals, start small with the goal of cooking one meal a week. Once you get the hang of your new habit, up your goal to include more home cooked meals.
  4. Make a doctor appointment, even if you think you’re fine.
    Visit your doctor or health care provider for wellness screenings and routine care. Spotting potential health problems and concerns before they become more serious is a great way to keep you healthy. 
  5. Wash your drinking cup and coffee mug every day.
    There are a lot more germs lurking on the items you use every day than you realize, especially items that stay wet. Keep items like towels clean by hanging them so they’re spread out instead of folded or hanging from a hook to allow them to dry completely between each use. Get a fresh towel every 2-3 uses. If you’ve been sick, quarantine your toothbrush so it doesn’t spread germs to any nearby toothbrushes and replace yours once you’re feeling better. Wash and completely dry your cup and mug daily, even if you aren’t sick and only drink water out of it.
  6. Go to bed at the same time every night.
    Sleep is just as important to your overall health as nutrition and exercise. Most adults need 7 hours of sleep each night in order to perform at their best, fight off infections, and improve their overall health. To create a healthy sleep routine and reset your schedule, go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Make your bedroom as dark as possible and put down the electronics a few hours before bedtime to prevent the blue light from your devices from interfering with your sleep cycle.

    Making small changes in your day-to-day life can add up to significant results. Remember: on average, it takes two months for a new behavior to become a habit. Envisioning the happiness, gratitude, or sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when these small changes become a regular part of your routine, can help keep you motivated and on track. Stick with your new goals and your future, healthier self will thank you!