Make Your Health a Priority in the New Year with These 17 Healthy Habits
Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions — but how many people actually keep them? A recent study shows that 80 percent of people abandon their resolutions for healthy habits shortly after the new year, and only 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. However, when your goal is to get healthy and stay healthy, there’s simply no other option than to stick with it!
If your New Year’s resolution is to create healthy habits for yourself, try incorporating these 17 ideas into your day-to-day life to help you improve your overall health and wellness.
1. Avoid Drinking Calories
Our daily drink choices are an easy way to unknowingly consume extra calories.
A common scenario is ordering a specialty drink from your favorite coffee shop. While it may taste good, many of these drinks have several hundred calories along with a multitude of other unhealthy ingredients. To avoid this high-calorie intake first thing in the morning, stick to a regular cup of coffee with cream, or make a habit of drinking your coffee black.
2. Restrict Caffeine Intake
Don’t make a habit of depending on caffeine to perk you up throughout the day. Drinking too much caffeine can have adverse side effects, and cause digestive issues as well as high blood pressure. Instead, speak with your doctor to determine what is causing you to feel tired and discuss healthy solutions.
3. Monitor Alcohol Intake
Over time, excessive consumption of alcohol can wreak havoc on your body. More than eight alcoholic drinks per week are considered excessive consumption in women. For men, the number is 15 drinks per week. Chronic drinking at this level can cause irreversible damage to several organs, especially the heart and liver.
Be aware of social drinking, too. When drinking socially with friends and family, you may consume more alcoholic beverages than you would normally. Don’t be afraid to limit your drink intake and say no to others if you’re trying to limit your alcohol consumption to create healthy habits.
4. Drink More Water
More water is always good for you (and your urinary tract, too). Water is important because it delivers nutrients to the body’s cells. Unfortunately, most people have a bad habit of not drinking the recommended amount of water per day. To make sure you’re drinking enough water, try adding reminders to your calendar every couple of hours, or tracking your daily water intake through a helpful app.
If water alone isn’t appealing enough, try adding lemon, orange, or lime to your water for extra flavor. The citrus will also help reduce your chance of forming painful kidney stones.
5. Avoid Processed Food
Chemically processed foods contain artificial ingredients that are very low in nutrients and fiber. A diet mainly consisting of processed foods is not sustainable, and will cause a myriad of health issues as well as worsen conditions such as overactive bladder.
A general rule of thumb is to eat meals or snacks you have to make yourself. Rather than snacking on a pre-packaged protein bar, eat oatmeal with fresh fruit instead to help you stick to healthy habits when it comes to eating.
6. Cut Down on Sugar
Sugar is tough to avoid. After all, it’s found in virtually every processed food nowadays.
Start by cutting out obvious sources of sugar, like desserts. If you have a sweet tooth, challenge yourself to indulge in only one dessert every few days. Or, tell yourself you can only eat a treat if it’s homemade.
Cutting down on sugar will help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation throughout the body, plus improve mood and energy levels.
7. Eat More Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are packed with vitamins and minerals that do wonders for the body. Aim for at least two meals per day that contain green leafy vegetables.
In addition to your greens, eat an array of colorful vegetables such as sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and carrots. These vegetables are full of vitamins and antioxidants that are proven to benefit your body and its functions.
8. Eat Wild-Caught Fish
Fish is an ideal source of Omega-3’s and healthy fats, especially if it’s wild-caught. In comparison to farmed fish, wild-caught fish are higher in quality and produce greater health benefits. Some of the healthiest fish you can find at your local store include Alaskan salmon, mahi-mahi and rainbow trout.
9. Take a Daily Probiotic
Probiotic supplements can help regulate digestive, urological and genital health. Choose a slow-release probiotic to make sure the bacteria strains survive the journey through your digestive system so its benefits aren’t wasted.
10. Don’t Shop When Hungry
Beware of grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You’re more likely to choose frozen or pre-packaged foods from the store for a quick meal when you’re hungry.
A healthy habit to start implementing is to have a snack first so you’re less likely to reach for packaged, processed foods you can eat as soon as you get home.
11. Shop Local
Locally produced meat, fruit, and vegetables have higher nutritional value and may contain fewer pesticides. They also require less travel time and therefore taste fresher.
Some grocery stores have special sections that contain local-only products. You may have more luck finding a wider variety of options at your local farmer’s market though!
12. Cook Your Own Meals
Cooking helps you feel more connected to your body when you know exactly what you’re putting into it. When cooking your own meals, you have full control of the amount of salt, fat, and sugar that goes into what you eat. While it may take longer to prepare, it’s important to remember that the homemade version of your favorite meal will always be healthier than its restaurant counterpart.
13. Don’t Skip Meals
Don’t forget to eat whole meals, especially on your busiest days. Food is fuel for your body and you won’t get far without it. You can feel nauseous, weak, irritated and foggy if you skip meals. Eating full meals can also regulate your blood sugar and stave off health issues like diabetes.
To make sure you always eat a full meal, try meal planning or packing homemade snacks if you’re always on the go.
14. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep repairs your body’s cells and helps your brain function properly. If you have trouble sleeping, try creating a nighttime routine for yourself to ensure you are getting enough REM sleep to feel refreshed the next day.
In many cases, electronics and screens prevent us from having a good night’s sleep. Removing electronic devices from your bedroom will prevent you from staying up late and looking at screens. This gives your mind and eyes an opportunity to rest and increases your chances of restful sleep.
15. Reduce Stress
Stress can manifest into physical signs in your body. High stress levels can increase inflammation in the body and interfere with your immune system and digestive tract. Make sure to pause throughout the day and allow yourself a moment to relax to keep your stress levels down.
16. Be More Active
Working out at the gym isn’t the only way you can achieve an active lifestyle. Smaller tasks such as parking further away, taking the stairs, walking the dog and mowing the lawn can help you stay active and combat a sedentary lifestyle.
Unfortunately, our muscles hold onto a lot of tension throughout the day. It’s always beneficial to release tension and get your blood flowing by taking the time to stretch your body.
Take five minutes in the morning and evening to stretch. This will not only warm up your muscles for the day ahead but also allow you to release any tightness.
If you implement these 17 healthy habits into your daily life, you’re bound to have a healthier you in 2020. For even more health and nutrition tips, download our Nutrition and Lifestyle Guide below.
Happy New Year!