Once again, it’s New Year’s health resolutions time. Unfortunately, most of us end up quitting them by February or March. How can you stop that from happening to you? Do away with New Year’s health resolutions altogether!
Instead, commit to a complete lifestyle change. Follow these New Year health tips to start changing your life today, one step at a time.
Decide to plan.
That’s the first (and often the hardest) step. You’ll need to set aside time to do this. Write down your priorities and choose the ones to focus on during the busy holiday season. Seeing them in writing can help you stick to realistic expectations. Next, break them down into manageable steps. Assign a budget and time for each step. Stick to your plan.
Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activities like brisk walking. For many, that’s 30 minutes, five to six times a week — but you can break it up into 10-minute increments and spread it out more. Hint: Whenever you shop, start by taking a brisk 10-minute walk in the store or mall. Then you’ll know where to find things when you start shopping.
Celebrations bring us together. Whether it’s a family reunion or a company holiday party, socializing can help us relate to each other better — and that’s healthy. You can join in the celebrations of the season or create your own. Keep it simple or go all out. So what will you celebrate today? Maybe the completion of your planning session?
Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and seafood.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Buy, wash, cut up and portion fruits and vegetables in bulk. Make at least half your grains whole. Choose whole-grain breads, pasta and cereal. Eat fish twice a week for heart health.
Make your next medical appointments.
Regular healthcare, including dental and vision examinations, is important for the prevention and early detection of diseases and their complications. The earlier diseases are diagnosed, the easier they are to treat.
Cultivate an “attitude of gratitude.” It can boost your mood, improve your relationships and help you feel more satisfied in life. Spend just 15 minutes a week writing a thank-you note to someone about something you truly value. Keep a gratitude journal. Smile and say, “Thank you!”
Eat less sodium, saturated fat and sugar.
Compare food labels to make healthier choices. Up to 75 percent of your daily sodium comes from restaurant and processed foods. Eat home-cooked meals from smaller plates (8-9 inches across). Drink water instead of sugary drinks, and use low-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk. And of course, limit sweets.
Remember you don’t have to be perfect.
Choose just one or two of these New Year health tips to work on for a period of time. Keep a food and activity journal or some other kind of journal to mark your progress. If you’re doing well, celebrate. If you’re not, start over again with planning — including a plan to overcome any roadblocks.
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