While many of us choose “losing weight” or “getting in shape” as our new year resolutions, focusing on weight loss isn’t the only way to improve your health and wellness. In fact, there are hundreds of goals you can set to improve your mind and body over the next year and beyond.
When creating your resolutions this year, focus on ones that will improve your general wellness and help you take steps to an overall healthier you. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T., meaning they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. You should also plan to track your progress and celebrate your milestones.
When it comes to accomplishing your resolutions over the next year, you don’t have to be perfect. Focus on making one or two small changes at a time and improving your health gradually, which will increase the likelihood of you sticking to your resolutions.
Here are our top 10 recommended new year health and wellness resolutions, as well as tips for reaching them.
1. Commit To a Healthy Eating Plan
This year, try to rethink dieting, which can be harmful to both your physical and mental health. In fact, those who lose weight through restrictive dieting typically regain up to two-thirds of the weight back within one year. It can also make it harder to lose weight in the future.
Avoid using restrictive measures and fad diets. Instead, try a healthier, more sustainable way to lose weight. For example:
- Rely less on convenience and fast foods.
- Cook more meals at home.
- Eat more whole foods and produce, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and poultry.
- Shop more at the grocery store or farmer’s markets.
Start slow and stay consistent, which can help make this resolution more sustainable. Focus on a diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods and low in heavily processed, sugary products.
Not only can this help you get to and maintain a healthier weight, but it can also help reduce your risk of heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, some cancers, and other chronic conditions.
2. Sit Less, Move More
Sitting too much can have negative effects on your overall health, including increasing your risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Whether you’re sitting too much because you have a sedentary job or you’re simply not as active as you should be, make a commitment this year to sit less and, therefore, move more.
Your resolution can be small, such as walking for five minutes every hour during the workday or taking a short walk during lunch, parking further away from the store, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
The key is to find a physical activity that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a gym membership or workout studio classes, but can be walking, biking, yoga in your living room, or something else. Whatever you choose should also fit easily into your schedule to prevent “I don’t have time” excuses.
You may want to consider hiring a personal trainer who can help you create a fun, sustainable fitness plan that you’ll stick to over time.
3. Schedule An Annual Visit with Your Primary Care Provider
Even if you’re feeling healthy, you should schedule an annual physical appointment with your primary care provider (PCP) each year. They can help check your physical and mental health, order regular blood work, and ensure you’re up to date on all necessary screenings based on your age, medical history, and current conditions. This can help keep you healthier longer, as well as help catch any conditions or problems before they become serious.
4. Take Steps to Reduce Stress
Stress can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms, such as:
- Aches and pains, including chest pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Headaches or dizziness
- High blood pressure
- Stomach or digestive problems
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling more irritable/angry
- Social withdrawal
These are just a few symptoms, but by taking steps to reduce stress, you can help prevent some of these problems. A healthy diet, exercise, and quality sleep can help reduce stress, but there are other things you can do, like:
- Meditation or yoga
- Mindfulness/breathing exercises
- Practicing gratitude
- Spending more time outside, such as walking, hiking, camping, or simply enjoying the sun in your backyard
- Practicing self-care or “me time,” including doing a hobby, taking an exercise class, preparing a healthy meal, going for a walk, or getting extra sleep. This doesn’t have to be something elaborate, but simply something you enjoy
5. Get More Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is essential for overall health. Lack of sleep can lead to serious health consequences, including increased risk of weight gain, heart disease, and depression. Examples of resolutions you can make to commit to better sleep can be to put your phone down or avoid blue light for at least an hour before bed, create a regular bedtime routine, avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime, or getting regular exercise during the day.
6. Cut Back on Unhealthy Habits
There are many unhealthy habits we can partake in such as drinking alcohol or soda, smoking or doing drugs, eating too much junk food or maintaining an unhealthy diet, watching too much TV, and others. Many unhealthy habits contribute to both physical and mental health conditions and problems, but they can be difficult to eliminate.
If your resolution is to decrease unhealthy habits, take it slow and one step at a time. Create small goals for yourself to meet over the year to avoid feeling overwhelmed or having to quit something cold turkey. This should help make your resolution more sustainable.
7. Boost Your Brain
Regardless of your age, you can commit to learning this year. Perhaps it’s going back to the classroom (physically or online) to ramp up your career or learn something new. There are dozens of mobile apps and online games you can play for a brain or knowledge boost each day. Even committing to reading more books can help keep your brain working.
Continuing to learn helps give a sense of accomplishment while you’re also gaining knowledge, meeting people, and creating possibilities for yourself; therefore, improving cognitive functioning and lowering the risk of developing dementia.
8. Save Money
Not only can saving money help ensure you’re prepared for the unexpected and are more financially secure for the future, but it can also help relieve stress. Some examples of resolutions you can work on include:
- Creating a budget.
- Cutting back on things you don’t “need,” such as subscriptions, memberships, eating out, or entertainment costs.
- Contributing to a 401(k) or other retirement plan.
- Learning about investing opportunities and how you can make your savings work for you.
- Developing an emergency fund.
9. Try Something New
The new year is the best time to start a new hobby, practice, or even career. Making healthy changes and bringing more positivity into your life can have a major impact on your day-to-day happiness. Consider taking a class, trying out a new job, reconnecting with old friends, or anything else you’ve been thinking about doing but perhaps haven’t had the time or motivation.
For example, if you’re unhappy with your job, consider signing up for a personal trainer program to start building a wellness-centered career for yourself.
10. Commit to Your Resolutions & Contact NPTIFL
If you’re looking for a qualified, educated fitness professional to assist you with your health and wellness goals and resolutions heading into the new year, contact the National Personal Training Institute of Florida.Fitness goals