Five New Year’s Resolutions You Should Keep
And Tips For Helping Your Resolutions Stick
‘Tis the season! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet, or are you in the mindset of “I won’t keep them anyway, so why bother”? Remember: even the smallest changes are worth it, especially if you choose a resolution that will boost your good health.
Some of the best (and most common!) New Year’s resolutions are those that help you improve your health. And for good reason: making small changes now can add up to big health improvements in the future, and it’s never too soon to get started. Consider the following:
- Get enough sleep. Over time, sleep deprivation can rob you of your looks, health and your brainpower. Studies have linked a lack of sleep to an increased risk for heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, memory and concentration problems, depression, a weakened immune system and a dulled appearance. In the short term, sleep deprivation can cause excessive hunger, agitation and an increased risk for car accidents. Most people need six to eight hours per night. To sleep better, keep your room cool and dark. Put pets and electronics in another room while you sleep.
- Know your numbers. Visit your primary care doctor or take advantage of biometric screenings if they’re part of your company’s wellness plan. It’s important to know your health numbers, such as your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and BMI. Taking action now to address abnormal values can work wonders for your future health.
- Choose physical activities you enjoy. Everyone knows it’s important to exercise. However, if you choose a physical activity that feels like a chore, you probably won’t stick with it long term. Find activities you enjoy that don’t feel like something you “should do.” You might choose hiking, dancing, swimming or skiing. As long as the activity gets you moving and raises your heart rate, it counts as exercise.
- Cook more, eat out less. The amount of calories, fat, sodium—and money—you can save by grocery shopping and preparing homemade meals is significant. Not to mention, preparing a meal together with family or friends can add to your social health, as well.
- Unplug daily. With all the gadgets and social media sites in existence, we can easily become stressed out by excessive connectivity. Set a time every day to unplug. That means no email, no internet and no cell phone (except maybe for emergencies). Let your mind relax and focus on your surroundings, your family, your friends, the outdoors… anything but being connected.
Tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions
Once you’ve chosen a resolution (or two), you can take steps to make it effective. To help you achieve any goals you set for yourself, choose to work on just one at a time. You just may find your success rate improves. Also, break larger goals down into smaller, less intimidating steps. For example, if you’ve resolved to cook more, spend no more than 15 minutes today choosing one new recipe. Then, maybe tomorrow or this weekend, purchase the ingredients you’ll need and prepare it.
Studies suggest other, slightly unusual, tips for keeping your resolutions: If you’re feeling unmotivated or lacking in willpower, try watching or listening to something funny. Research shows that when your spirits are lifted, your willpower may become stronger. Also, a quick burst of glucose, which your brain relies on for fuel, can help provide the encouragement you need to stick to your resolutions. Try a piece of fruit or a glass of juice.
Remember that with new habits, practice makes perfect. Therefore, the more you put your resolutions to work, the faster they will become new, healthy habits.