We all think about making New Year’s resolutions, but if we really want to make changes, the key is to pick resolutions that we will stick with. We’ve checked out numerous healthy sites and here is a roundup of the 18 we think stand a chance of making it past the first week of 2014!
1. Change Your Health Outlook
Think about making small positive changes rather than taking an all or nothing approach. For example, instead of drinking a soda, opt for water. Instead of eating cookies take a piece of fruit. Simple things that over the long haul really add up and move you closer to good health.
2. Avoid Drinking Coffee All Day
Aim for 6 to 8 glasses of fluids per day. Have plain or lemon water, unsweetened juice, skim milk, or herbal tea, such as chamomile, peppermint, and fruit tea. But if you need that cup of coffee to get you motivated then have it, just not all day long.
3. Don’t Put Off Medical Checkups
If you have good healthcare coverage then use it. Get your annual physical and other check-ups that are covered by your insurance. And learn to talk with your primary care physician, this is one person you need to have a great relationship with. Prevention is always the best option.
4. Exercise Regularly
I know, who has time! It’s great if you have a gym nearby and really use your membership, but if you don’t, adjust your daily routine a little to incorporate some simple things—walking at lunchtime, stretching regularly throughout the day, and take the stairs when you can. Just build it up over time then get a bit more serious.
An ideal combination includes aerobic exercise, weight training, yoga, stretching, and recreational activities, such as dancing and swimming. Do the best you can, but do something!
5. Kiss Fad Diets Goodbye
Losing weight is a staple resolution, but we doom ourselves to failure with fad diets and unrealistic goals. Think more about what you eat, steer clear of empty calories, and instead fuel your body with healthy fats, whole foods, and smaller portions. Keep well hydrated and you will feel fuller longer.
And if you must snack, then reach for a Greek yogurt, an apple, a handful of nuts, or small piece of low fat cheese. Empty carbs and sugary snacks will not help you keep your weight loss resolution.
6. Get Cooking
When you do more of your own meal preparation you have total control over the quality and quantity of the foods you eat. Meals and snacks using fresh ingredients, spices, and herbs will save calories and money. If you make a little extra you can have leftovers for lunch! And you will be healthier for it. You don’t need a gourmet kitchen to make simple wholesome foods, so no excuses!
7. Eat at Least Five Servings of Vegetables and Fruits Per Day
It’s not difficult as a half cup of cooked vegetables, one cup of raw, leafy vegetables, or one small whole fruit counts as one serving.
8. Chew Your Food Thoroughly
Many digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort can be alleviated by taking the time to carefully chew your food. If you don’t chew food properly, your stomach and intestines have to break it down later. Also when you chew food, you eat slower and tend to eat less.
9. Limit Your Sugar Intake
Sugar increases triglycerides, cholesterol, and insulin, and can impair the immune system.
10. Read Food Labels
Become an expert, it’s so important to know what you are putting into your body. Look for hidden sugars such as corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, and lactose. Check the fat content, unwanted chemicals, additives, artificial sweeteners, and colors. Eating “as clean” as you can is a real health benefit.
11. Make Sleep a Priority
Restful sleep is essential for a fully functioning mind and body. Lack of sleep is also linked to putting on weight.
Many people can function on 4–6 hours of sleep, but 7–8 hours are recommended. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening, which can disrupt sleep.
In addition, sugary snacks before bed can affect blood sugar levels and disturb sleep.
Chronic stress is a killer—it can lead the way to poor digestion, a weak immune system, high blood pressure, and many other conditions. We all need to find more time to relax, but when time is short, slow down your breathing, take very deep breaths, and try out some meditation techniques to help relieve stress.
13. Unplug Daily
Being switched on 24/7 makes for more stress. A growing body of research suggests that media overload can increase your risk for depression, social anxiety, job burnout, and even allergies. So, unplug for at least 10 hours a day… this may be the hardest resolution to keep!
One way to reduce your stress level (and boost your mood) is to work on clearing out the clutter in your home. Living in the midst of clutter saps your energy. By cleaning up you open up your life for more positive energy.
15. Get Your Financial House in Order
Finances, or lack of can be very stressful. So there’s no time like the present to lay out a plan for saving more and spending less.
Establish an emergency fund, cut back your credit card spending, try living below your means and aim to save at least 10 percent of what you earn after taxes—more if you are over 35. Even if you can’t save that much, anything is better than nothing and it will certainly improve your peace of mind to have a nest egg for a rainy day.
16. Give Back
Donating time or money to people in need is not only doing good, it makes you feel good too. So plan to give back, unleashing your generosity may also unleash a lasting boost in well-being.
17. Develop and Nurture Your Support Network
No man (or woman) is an island. Maintaining meaningful and fulfilling relationships with family and friends nourish our heart and soul. Make time for a phone call if you can’t make a visit, make sure you remember to reach out on birthdays and important dates—or just because. Let those you care most about know you care.
18. Laugh More
We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues. Not only that, laughing makes you feel better and it can be very contagious—in a good way.
Eco18 is a collective of creative-writing individuals from different backgrounds with a common goal—to live a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Their combined expertise, humor, and opinions explore green and sustainable in a practical, fun way. www.eco18.com