8 Ways to a Healthier You in 2019

It's New Year's Eve, and you and your friends are thinking about how this past year has gone. Somebody drags out their New Year's resolution list from January 1, 2018 and realizes that they didn't quite accomplish everything on their list. You start thinking about your own resolutions and realize that you put them on pause during spring midterms, halfheartedly picked them up during spring break, and left them in the dust in May. 

Most people quit their New Year's resolutions by the end of January, and this is usually because they bite off more than they can chew. Have you ever vowed to yourself that you'd run a marathon in the new year even though you can't even run for two miles without taking a break? Have you ever decided to go full vegan even though you eat meat every single day? It's human nature to want to accomplish amazing feats in short amounts of time, but we rarely are able to pull it off. This year, try making your resolutions simpler. Instead of solemnly swearing to have a six-pack by the end of the year, decide to eat full servings of vegetables three days out of the week. 

This list is full of easy ways that you can check off your New Year's resolution to become healthier in 2019. No, they won't make you look like Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman (only a personal trainer can), but they will make you look and feel so much better by December.

1. Drink at Least 64 Ounces of Water Daily

We all know water is really important, but few of us bother to drink as much as we need everyday. Water does the most for us; it helps speed up and regulate digestion, reduce bloating, improve organ functions, and increase physical endurance. For years we've all been told that eight cups of water a day is the standard for everyone, but actually we need to be drinking much more than that. The Mayo Clinic advises that women drink at least 11.5 cups a day and men 15.5 cups. 

Need help holding yourself accountable for drinking more water? Download a health app like WaterLogged that lets you log your water intake and sends you notifications reminding you to drink more water. Or, buy yourself this amazing water bottle by Hidrate that glows when you aren't drinking enough water.

2. Invest in a Fitbit

Unless you've got a physical disability or a grueling office job, chances are you move around more than you think each day. Especially as college students trekking across campus three times daily, we take a lot of steps. It's important to understand how much--or how little--you move each day as that will tell you how much you need to be eating each day to meet your health goals. And, even if you do have a physical disability or office job, it's still important to understand how much you move each day.

I know that new Fitbit models, like the Charge 3, can run on the pricier side. However, Fitbit also has many affordable models on the market, such as their Flex 2. Personally, I have a Flex 2, and it works amazing for me. Check out their website and invest in the Fitbit that's right for your lifestyle.

3. Make Smart Food Swaps

Do you love potatoes? Do you enjoy a juicy burger, crispy fries, and bubbly soda? Can you not imagine your life without pizza? Yeah, me neither. With so many delicious (and fatty) food options out there, it can be really hard to eat healthy. We're often told that we need to cut out all bad foods and exist solely on celery and dry chicken breasts. This is so far from the truth! You can easily make your favorite junk food healthier without sacrificing too much of the taste. Instead of beef, try lamb or turkey in your next burger. At the grocery store, put down the white potatoes and pick up the sweet potatoes. Before you guzzle down that Sprite, try cutting it with some plain seltzer water. You get the idea. Simple food swaps can go a long way in making you a healthier individual. And who knows, you may find you enjoy the healthier alternative!

4. Eat More (Sort Of)

Forget about eating three big meals a day. For years, nutritionists have been advocating for eating five smaller meals each day. This can be hard for some people who have varying daily schedules, limited dining hall swipes, or no time to sit down and make five meals every day. Not to worry! There are many ways to make the five-meals-a-day plan work for you and your lifestyle. Try meal prepping, grocery shopping instead of eating every meal at the dining hall, and packing all your food and taking it with you in the morning.

Pinterest is a great place to find ideas for easy meal prep. Also look out for handy blogs on meal prep and work lunches like Eat Yourself Skinny and The Lean Green Bean.

5. Clock Some Zzs

I don't know about you, but I love to sleep. If I had the time to sleep for ten hours a day, I'd do it. Of course, I barely have enough time to get in my nightly eight, but I make sure I set aside enough time to get enough sleep each night. As college students, we don't always manage to get enough sleep. Term papers, excessive readings, overloaded semesters, and roommate drama usually contribute to our lack of sleep. Yet, as college students, sleep is critical to our brain functions. Without the proper amount of sleep, we risk letting our grades slip, our minds sink into depression, and our death to come prematurely. Scary, right?

Even though scientists still don't understand sleep, they do know that we'll literally die without it. Adults are advised to get six to eight hours of sleep a night. Help yourself get more sleep by using the iPhone's bedtime feature, tracking your sleep with a Fitbit, or investing in a fancy alarm clock that wakes you at the right time during your sleep cycle.

6. Move Around More

Take a note from House of Pain, and jump around! Too cheesy? Sorry. Seriously, though, moving your body more each day helps you become fitter, healthier, and happier. Studies show that exercise helps control weight, combats serious health issues, improves mood, and gives you more energy. With all those benefits, it's a wonder more people aren't lacing up their sneakers and going for long walks.

Try moving around more in your daily life this year. Whether it be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, reaching 10,000 steps each day, running a marathon, or practicing yoga, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you get that body moving!

7. Don't Restrict Your Food Options

Earlier, I mentioned that making food swaps is a great way to help you get healthier. However, for some people, making food swaps leads into cutting out entire food groups, which is no bueno. When you cut out entire food groups, you've become a hyper-restrictive dieter, which usually leads to relapsing into eating junk food again. It really can be a vicious circle.

My advice to you is to make sure that you don't restrict your food options more than necessary. If you're going vegetarian or vegan, have a food allergy, or simply don't like some foods, that's totally okay. What's not okay is vowing never to eat another carb or gram of saturated fat again because deprivation never works in the long run. It's okay to treat yourself to some ice cream or pizza once in a while, just make sure you're not eating it too much. It's all about moderation.

8. Drop Bad Habits

No, I'm not talking about biting your finger nails or spending too much time on social media, although it wouldn't be a bad idea to kick those habits either. What I'm talking about here is bad habits related directly to your physical health, such as smoking, excessive drinking, and binge eating. It is so easy to fall into a bad habit, and it is equally easy to ignore how these habits ruin your physical health. What isn't easy is stopping these habits. However, this doesn't mean it's impossible. Maybe 2019 is your year to drop some of your worst habits.

Need help kicking away bad habits? Check out WebMD, James Clear, and Lifehacker for great advice.

I really do hope these tips help you become a healthier and happier you this year. Whether you decide to follow all or some of them, incorporating even just a few into your daily life will help you feel and look so much better. Good luck on your health journey during 2019, and watch out for more health content coming soon!