It’s that time of year when many people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and what changes they want to make in the coming year. Statistics show that while 40 percent of people make resolutions, the majority fail within the first month, and only 8 percent end up achieving their objective.
Rather than resolving to change several things at once in your life on the first of the year, consider choosing one thing to work on and break it down into actionable steps that will help you reach your goal. Here are three lifestyle habits to consider in your quest to begin the new year happier and healthier.
1. Eat Better
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development predicts that 75 percent of Americans will be classified as either overweight or obese by 2020. Instead of struggling to lose weight by going on the latest crazy diet fad or taking over-the-counter supplements that promise results that rarely deliver and are potentially dangerous, resolve to make better food choices instead.
Spend time making a menu plan each week. Meal planning helps you eat better because instead of wondering what you are going to make each night or deciding fast food is easier, you know exactly what you are going to prepare each day that week.
Meal planning allows you to make healthy food choices on paper, compile your grocery list, and then purchase the items you need to make everything. If you notice your plan has an emphasis on refined carbohydrates or meat, which is high in saturated fat, you can adjust your plan accordingly.
For example, you could incorporate Meatless Mondays. Cutting your meat intake just one day a week can be good for your health as well as your pocketbook. Another idea is eating fish or seafood every Friday. Perhaps you need to reduce your alcohol intake or lessen how often you order takeout.
For some people, their first goal might be as simple as drinking more water, not buying processed foods, or learning how to cook easy, satisfying, and healthy meals. Consider your needs and make an attainable goal to eat healthier.
2. Start Exercising
You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive workout clothes and pricey gym memberships to begin exercising — all you need to do is get moving! If you normally take the elevator at work, start using the stairs as an alternative. Don’t tell yourself you are going to walk 5 miles every day, or something else unattainable.
Instead, begin by walking around the block in your neighborhood each night after dinner. Check with your neighbors to see if any want to join you — an accountability partner makes everything easier.
If you are overweight or have joint problems from chronic illnesses such as arthritis, you can still develop a workout routine. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that can strengthen and tone your muscles as well as boost your lung capacity and cardiovascular system.
And while costly home gym equipment and memberships are an option, plenty of free choices are available. For example, you can turn on your television and find hundreds of exercise videos on YouTube or other platforms. Another idea is simply making a playlist of your favorite songs and dancing around your living room for 20 minutes to get aerobic exercise.
3. Quit Smoking
Anyone who smokes cigarettes knows it isn’t good for them. And while it is a difficult habit to break, it’s certainly not impossible. Your doctor can recommend smoking cessation programs, techniques that have helped others break the habit, and even prescribe medications that reduce the urge to smoke.
If you are currently a smoker, this lifestyle change can make other changes, such as exercising and eating better, that much easier.
Decide to make one change, break it down into actionable steps, and once it becomes a habit and you’ve met your goal, pick the next change you want to make. By not trying to change your entire life at once, you’ll be more likely to make lasting lifestyle changes next year. If we can be of any assistance in helping you meet your New Year’s resolution healthcare goals, contact us today.