Are you eager for a fresh start in 2021? As we leave behind the past and look to the year ahead, you may have a number of goals and aspirations. Many people choose the New Year to mark the start of a health and wellness journey. Crash diets and extreme exercise plans can fizzle out and leave you frustrated, but small changes and healthy nudges can do wonders in your overall wellness. We’ve rounded up 21 manageable resolutions that you will be able to stick with, January through December!
1. Cook At Home
Studies show that people who eat home-cooked meals are less likely to be overweight. Why not take advantage of the quiet January days to try a new recipe or two, like a hearty vegetable soup or a slow-cooker pot roast. You’ll be healthier for it – and you’ll save some money!
2. Limit Screen Time
Technology is a natural part of modern life, but you’ll rest easier at night if you “put your phone to bed” in another room while you relax and wind down before falling asleep. Commit to reading a chapter or two from a favorite book before bed rather than scrolling on your phone or tablet.
3. Take Vacation
This year, try to use every vacation day that your employer allows. Even if you’re unable to travel, rest and time away from work is a critical component of your overall mental and physical health. Especially after a stressful year, a few days away from your regular responsibilities can work wonders.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Without quality sleep, it’s impossible to be at your healthiest. Problems with sleeping can often lead to emotional issues as well as weight gain and increased risk of heart disease. A variety of issues can lead to lack of sleep, so it’s important to get to the root of your issue. Settle in early, limit caffeine and screen time, and make sure your bedroom is calm, soothing, and dark.
5. Drink More Water
Many adults are at least mildly dehydrated, and are probably unaware of it. Any level of dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Experts recommend a daily water intake of 15.5 cups for men, and 11.5 cups for women. Increase your daily water intake, and enjoy the energy boost and glowing skin!
6. Eat More Whole Foods
Try to introduce more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish into your diet. These nutrient-dense foods help to maintain a healthy body weight and prevent obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. If you’re new to whole foods, start slow: add a vegetable side to your dinner plate.
7. Go Natural
Harmful chemicals are found in many household cleaning products, makeup, soaps, and detergents. Switching to natural products will create a safer environment for you and your family. Don’t get overwhelmed by the cost and amount of items that need replacing- simply replace products one at a time, as needed.
8. Wear Sunscreen
Sun protection is not just for summertime! One of the single most important self care practices you can implement is as simple as selecting a moisturizer or foundation with built-in SPF. Protect yourself from skin cancer and prevent premature signs of aging by being wise around the sun.
9. Walk More
Even in the bitter cold of a midwestern winter, a brisk walk outside does wonders for your mental and physical health. If you feel too busy to take a stroll around the block, try to create natural opportunities to take more steps. Park in the farthest row at the grocery store or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
10. Visit Your Doctor
Even if you’re feeling great, it’s wise to visit your general practitioner for a yearly physical examination. Regular screenings and blood tests can serve to prevent potential problems.
11. Eat a Quality Breakfast
Many busy adults will skip breakfast or eat something hurried on-the-go. Often, these options are less healthy than a batch of overnight oats or a make-ahead egg bake. Prepare breakfast or the week ahead and know you’re starting each day right.
12. Floss Daily
It takes almost no time at all to floss, and it’s an easy habit to form. Regularly brushing simply isn’t enough to clean your teeth well at home. Preserve your smile, and do your part between visits to your dentist.
13. Make Time For Others
Spend time checking in with friends and family, or invite them to join you on your health and wellness journey. Do you have a buddy that would love to join you in drinking your recommended amount of water per day, or join you for daily walks?
14. Choose Physical Activity You Enjoy
Physical activity doesn’t have to happen in the gym. Ask yourself what you actually LIKE to do, and do more of it! Whether it’s hiking, walking, yoga and meditation, pickleball with a friend, or swimming laps, find what you love and do it. If it’s an activity you truly enjoy, you’ll be able to stick with that workout.
15. Go Easy on Alcohol
Alcohol can certainly fit into a healthy diet, but it can also be a hindrance to achieving your health goals. Pay attention to the number of drinks you enjoy per week, and ask yourself if it might be healthy to limit your weekly intake or restrict drinks to weekend nights.
16. Eat Colorfully
Start to replace your go-to processed foods with healthy produce and protein. Focus on creating a plate that is colorful; green spinach, yellow eggs, red peppers, and more. A colorful plate is more likely to have a well-balanced amount of fruits and vegetables.
17. Cleanse Nightly
Don’t rush your skincare routine in the evenings! Wash your face nightly to improve your skin health and remove impurities that can cause painful blemishes. Follow your cleansing with a night cream or moisturizer to help your skin restore itself overnight. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day!
18. Practice Self Care
What restores you? A warm bath, a quiet night with a favorite book, chatting with a friend, or an hour with a punching bag? Pay attention to whatever makes you feel calm, centered, and cared for- and make sure you do it!
19. Eat Fish
If you like fish, try including it in your weekly diet 1-2 times per week. Rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and low in fat, fish is a no-brainer dinner choice for those pursuing a healthy lifestyle!
20. Practice Meditation
Meditation can have a great impact on your mental health. Not sure where to start? Try downloading a simple app that will guide you through the process.
21. Focus on Gratitude
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, or like you’re not doing enough. Take a moment each evening to journal or talk through the things you’re grateful for in life. This will help to center you, comfort you, and bring your focus to the most important things.
As we pursue health and wellness in the new year, let’s cheer for one another! A healthy lifestyle is important, and we all do it a little differently. We’re here for you as you tackle your wellness goals, one day at a time!