6 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to make some changes in your life. There’s something appealing about a fresh start with a fresh calendar, and it makes sense to take advantage of that extra dose of motivation. Add a healthy New Year’s resolution to your list, and next year you’ll be glad you did!

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are centered around getting healthier. According to a Nielson survey, staying fit and healthy was the most number one resolution for 2015. If you want to improve your health in 2016, here are some ideas for healthy New Year’s resolutions.

According to the American Lung Association, 480,000 Americans die from tobacco use. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and other health consequences. Quitting smoking is a resolution that can greatly improve your health.

Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. The biggest problem with this resolution, however, is that it is often vague. To make sure you see this resolution through, set goals, give yourself a timeline, and figure out what you need to do to make it happen. Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Decide to lose 10% of your body weight through healthy diet and exercise, or plan to lose 20 lbs by cutting out processed foods and sugary drinks. Ask your health care provider for a specific weight loss plan and add accountability by setting a goal for your next appointment.

Exercising more is a goal that almost seems too easy. That’s why it’s one of the most commonly dropped New Year’s resolutions. It can be hard to get motivated to exercise, and easy to find excuses. People don’t always realize how time consuming it can be to go to a gym, so they find themselves not following through on this resolution. Again, if this is your New Year’s Resolution, set yourself up for success by giving yourself a specific, measurable goal, like taking a walk four days a week or hitting the gym after work every day.

Sometimes just being more active is a more attainable goal. It can be hard to go from 0 hours of physical activity to exercising every single day. Making a resolution to simply be more active can be a great first step to a healthier lifestyle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get at least 2 1/2 hours of physical activity each week. Here are a few ideas to get more activity into your daily life:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Stretch for 10 minutes after every hour that you work.
  • Park farther away from buildings to increase your walking distance.
  • Bike to work.

Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, eating better might be on your list of New Year’s resolutions. A healthy diet is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. Not sure where to start? Here’s some information on choosing a healthy diet. One simple change that can make a big difference: get five servings a day of vegetables. Try our veggie breakfast ideas to get a running start.

Everybody wishes they got more sleep, but not everybody realizes just how important adequate sleep is to your health. The exact reasons for why we sleep aren’t known, but what is known is that sleep is necessary, and sleep deficiencies have a negative affect on our health. Getting more sleep is a great New Year’s resolution. Take steps toward meeting that goal by building some wind-down time into your evening. Stop eating after dinner and stay away from lighted screens (like your computer, your phone, and your TV).

You can’t go wrong in choosing a New Year’s resolution that will benefit your health, but if you want to make sure that you actually achieve your goals, you have to set realistic expectations. Define your goal clearly and make sure you know the steps you need to take to reach that goal. Meeting with your primary care physician can help you make the right decisions towards wellness and a healthy lifestyle.