New Year’s resolutions are a great way to set goals and intentions for the year ahead. However, in the past decade, they have taken a toxic turn. Instead of using resolutions to promote healthy habits, many people set dieting goals about eating less or cutting out food groups. However, these dieting goals seem almost contradictory. Besides the known fact that dieting and cutting out food groups does not work in the long run, the point of setting goals and resolutions is to add something to your life, not to take something away. This year, instead of using resolutions to cut things from our life, let’s create resolutions that add substance, happiness and new routines to our lives. Below I will discuss health resolutions that I am adding to my daily routine this year. You do not need to start these resolutions January 1st; routines take time to build and become permanent. The most important part is starting!
- Find a way of being active that you actually enjoy!
Adding exercise into your daily routine doesn’t mean you have to run miles on end or endure crazy hour-long HIIT workouts. Explore different forms of exercising and getting active, whether it’s yoga, hiking, long walks, surfing, pilates…the list goes on. There are so many ways to stay active that are not “traditional” styles of working out. You truly do stick with what you love because you go into the activity with a positive mindset. The hardest part is finding what that activity is. Another added benefit of exploring non-traditional ways of being active to maintain health is that you produce the feel-good endorphins, gain energy and strength, and reap all the other benefits of working out, without being hyper focused on the number of calories burned or the number on the scale.
- Eat more plants
Instead of focusing on what you can take out of your diet, focus on what you can add. Fruits and vegetables have so many health benefits, including the ability to reduce disease and inflammation, protect against heart disease and increase your fiber intake. Despite this, most Americans do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. By swapping unhealthy snacks for snacks that incorporate fruits and vegetables, you can easily alter your diet without restricting anything and getting stuck in the food elimination mindset that most resolutions are composed of.
- Cook at home at least a few times a week
There are so many benefits from cooking at home. Not only is it exciting to recreate foods you love and play around in the kitchen with your own recipes, you really feel a sense of accomplishment and independence from creating food by yourself (especially if it turns out really good). Cooking from home also allows you to dictate what is put into your food, and you are more likely to add less oil, salt, sugars and other additives when you are cooking for home rather than ordering take-out. The portions that you cook for yourself will typically be smaller, too. Cooking from home is so healthier, more affordable and a great way to bond with family and friends.
- Drink more water
Drinking water is such a simple and necessary task, but most of us definitely do not drink enough water throughout the day. As you are reading this, take a second to take a sip! Water is so crucial for the functionality of our body. Let’ add more sips of water this year! I recommend buying a fun, reusable straw to motivate you to drink more water this year.
- Take a second to journal or meditate
This may not seem like a health resolution, but your mental health is extraordinarily important for your body and brain to function at its best, especially after the year we have all had. Journaling your thoughts, emotions and sparks of gratitude only takes a few minutes and it can really change your outlook on your day. Meditating, sitting still and practicing mindfulness can improve your mentality and stress levels, as well as bring a moment of peace during our chaotic days.
You do not need to make big changes to create a healthier you this year. Focus on the small things you can add daily. Feel free to incorporate these into your life, and I hope everyone has a healthy and happy new year!