Healthy New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
Paraphrased from Healthline.com
A new year often signifies a fresh start for many people. For some, this means setting health goals, such as losing weight, following a healthier diet, and starting an exercise routine.
However, more often than not, the health and wellness resolutions chosen are highly restrictive and unsustainable, leading most people to break their resolutions within a few weeks. This is why many people make the same resolutions year after year.
To break that cycle, it’s important to make resolutions that can not only improve health but also be followed for life.
Here are 23 New Year’s resolutions you can actually keep.
1. Eat more whole foods
One of the easiest and most sustainable ways to improve overall health is to eat more whole foods.
Whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fish, contain a plethora of nutrients that your body needs to function at an optimal level.
Research shows that following a whole-foods-based diet may significantly reduce heart disease risk factors, body weight, and blood sugar levels, as well as decrease your risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source)
What’s more, adding more whole foods to your diet can be done slowly and consistently. For example, if you’re not used to eating vegetables, start by adding one serving of your favorite veggie to your diet every day.
2. Sit less and move more
Whether it’s due to having a sedentary job or simply being inactive, many people sit more than they should. Sitting too much can have negative effects on health. In fact, it may be linked to an increased risk of overall mortality (4Trusted Source).
Making a resolution to sit less is an easy and attainable resolution that can be tailored to fit your lifestyle.
For example, if you have a desk job that requires long periods of sitting, make a resolution to go for a 15-minute walk at lunch or to get up and walk for 5 minutes every hour.
3. Cut back on sweetened beverages
Cutting back on sweetened beverages is a smart idea considering that sugary drinks are linked to an increased risk of obesity, fatty liver, heart disease, insulin resistance, and cavities in both children and adults (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
Though quitting sweetened beverages cold turkey is always an option, gradually minimizing your intake may help you kick your sugary drink habit for good.
4. Get more quality sleep
Sleep is an essential part of overall health, and sleep deprivation can lead to serious consequences. For instance, lack of sleep may increase your risk of weight gain, heart disease, and depression (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
There are many reasons why people don’t get enough sleep, so it’s important to focus on your schedule and lifestyle to determine the best ways to improve sleep quantity and quality.
Decreasing screen time before bed, reducing light pollution in your bedroom, cutting back on caffeine, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour are some simple ways to improve sleep hygiene (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
5. Cook more meals at home
In fact, a study in 11,396 adults found that those who ate 5 or more home-cooked meals per week were 28% less likely to be overweight, compared with those who ate fewer than 3 home-cooked meals per week (17Trusted Source).
Start by making one meal a day, then increase the frequency over time until you’re making the majority of your meals and snacks at home.
6. Spend more time outside
Making a New Year’s resolution to spend more time outside every day is a sustainable and healthy goal that can benefit most everyone, no matter where you live.
Taking a walk outside during your lunch break, hiking on weekends, going camping with friends, or simply soaking in the beauty of your backyard or local park are all ways to incorporate nature into your daily routine.
7. Try meditation
Trying out this practice is a perfect New Year’s resolution because there are many ways to meditate, and it’s easy to find books, podcasts, and apps that teach you how to start a meditation practice.
8. Take a vacation
Taking a vacation — even a short one — may have significant and immediate positive effects on stress levels and may enhance well-being (35Trusted Source).
In the new year, make a resolution to take a vacation with friends or family members, or on your own. Whether you travel to an area you’ve always wanted to visit or simply plan a staycation at home, taking some time for rest and relaxation is important for health.
The bottom line
Though most New Year’s resolutions are only kept for a short period, the healthy resolutions listed above are sustainable ways to improve your physical and emotional health that can be followed for life.
Creating a healthier relationship with food and taking better care of your body and mind can drastically improve your health in various ways.
This New Year, try out a few of the resolutions in this article to help make this year — and the years that follow — the healthiest and happiest possible.