Is It Healthy to Make New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you planning on making healthy New Year’s resolutions this year? Changes to diet and exercise are consistently among the most popular New Year’s resolutions in the United States. Some people vow to run every day, go to the gym three times a week, or join a health club. Others will try a new diet, swear off sodas, or aim to lose 20 pounds. Maybe you’re going to stop smoking cigarettes, quit drinking alcohol, or make some other healthy lifestyle change.

These are all admirable goals that can contribute to better health, but there’s a problem with New Year’s resolutions — people don’t always seem them through.

It’s not that New Year’s resolutions are bad for you or unhealthy. New Year’s resolutions are about making a positive change to better your health or quality of life, which is a great thing.

However, people sometimes choose ambitious health goals without coming up with a plan to achieve these goals. This means that those healthy New Year’s resolutions are often short-term changes, at best, rather than lasting habits.

New Year's resolutions don't have to be radical lifestyle changes. Identify reasonable health goals and work towards establishing healthy habits. Click To Tweet

Think long-term rather than a quick fix

Fad diets produce quick results, but these results are typically short-lived. You want sustainable habits. Instead of a fad diet try focusing on proper portion size, make half your plate fruits and vegetables, and make exercise a part of your normal routine.

Choose attainable health goals

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Make sure that your health goals are realistic. People often give up on their New Year’s resolutions because they’re too difficult to keep up with. Be honest with your current lifestyle and make changes with will improve rather than overhaul your current routine.

Make a plan

Radical lifestyle changes rarely stick. If you normally live a sedentary life and eat mostly ready to eat convenience foods, it’s going to be very difficult to suddenly run every day and eat a vegan diet. Make small changes that contribute to a larger health goal.

Start by walking for 30 minutes every day and giving up frozen dinners or fast food. Build on these healthy habits as you go.

Write down your health goals

Display your health goals in a place where you can see them every day: your refrigerator, your work computer, your phone, or your bathroom mirror. This helps you remember your goals and helps you stay on track.

Reflect on your health goals

Don’t just look back on your goals a year from now. Think about them once a month, once a week, or even on a daily basis depending on your goals. Are you on keeping up with your goal? Is there something that you can do to improve?

Establish healthy habits

The important thing to remember about New Year’s resolutions is that you want to make lasting changes rather than temporary adjustments. If losing weight is your ultimate goal, choose healthy habits that will help you accomplish this goal: regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and a nutritious diet.

Here are a few examples of healthy habits that can help you reach your health goals this year!

  • Move more, sit less. The latest revision to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans states that there is no minimum duration for physical activity — every minute of activity counts towards your daily total. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day!
  • Eat your veggies. You eventually want half your plate to be produce at each meal. However, if you aren’t in the habit of eating vegetables, start by eating at least one type of vegetable with every meal.
  • Drink water. Drinking plain water helps maintain good health and a healthy weight. Water is a calorie free beverage that can help keep you from drinking carbonated and sugary beverages.
  • Choose a healthy, active hobby. Hobbies that keep you physically active are a great way to improve your health. Try things like hiking, cycling, paddling, running, tennis, dancing, and team sports.
  • Keep a health log. This can be an app or an old fashioned paper journal. Track things like how much activity you’re getting, how much you’re sleeping, what types of food you’re eating, how you’re feeling, and any health symptoms you may have. A health log gives you a better picture of your habits and daily routine, and it can give your doctor a better understanding of your health.
  • Regular visits with your primary care physician is a another good habit that can greatly improve your health. Request an appointment with a doctor in Northwest Arkansas today!