With the end of the year approaching, millions of people are making their lists of resolutions — inspired to spark positive change, hoping that the next year will be better than the last. If you’re like 41% of Americans, a renewed approach to a healthier lifestyle may be a top priority for you. While it’s easy to list off health New Year’s resolutions, many people struggle to follow through with their plans once the glow of a fresh new year wears off. In fact, only 9% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them and feel that they successfully achieved their goals by the end of the year.
Despite having the best intentions, people fail to make good on their plans because of one problem: They don’t set realistic healthy resolutions. In order to start implementing gradual and significant changes in your personal health, it’s essential that you choose goals that are attainable and tailored to the variables of your life.
In addition, the longer your list of resolutions is, the harder it’ll be to commit to them. So it’s best that you stick to one or two throughout the year. Haven’t got any idea where to start yet? Try out any of these five New Year’s resolutions you can actually keep for a new year, new you.
5 Health New Year’s Resolutions to Set for 2022
1. Take a Break from Your Digital Devices
Being perpetually online and glued to the screen 24/7 has been linked to a myriad of physical and mental health problems, including depression, disruption of sleep cycles, obesity, and increased levels of anxiety, to name a few.
If you want to start the new year healthy, limiting your screen time is a great place to begin. Turning off your devices for a couple of hours each day will reduce your overdependence on technology and allow you to connect more with the people in your life.
If this tip seems impractical, start somewhere simple. Put your phone on silent for 10 minutes every day and do another activity you enjoy, like reading, yoga, or spending time with your dog. Put your phone away when you eat meals and avoid checking it an hour before you go to bed. Once this becomes a habit, you’ll be able to gradually increase the time you spend away from your screen.
2. Practice Mindful Eating
Dietary changes often top many people’s lists of New Year’s resolutions, and often, it’s impossible to stick to them because people want to do a complete 180, which is hard and unrealistic.
The key to improving your diet is being aware of and changing how you eat. Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as chewing thoroughly during meals and eating without distraction, focusing on what goes into your mouth and how it makes you feel, listening to physical cues, and stopping when you’re full.
Since mindful eating can help reduce binge eating and overeating, research has shown it can help regulate body weight and assist in weight loss, even without calorie counting. Mindful eating has also been suggested to reduce stress, improve digestion, and improve food satisfaction.
3. Get More Quality Sleep
While seven to nine hours of sleep per night is considered the norm, 35.2% of American adults report getting less than seven hours of sleep on average. Adults who suffer from sleep deprivation are at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
The start of the new year is an ideal period to assess and change old habits that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. In 2022, consider going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night. Once you get used to this routine, gradually add up until you get seven or more hours of sleep. A full night’s sleep offers you a ton of benefits, including a boost in immunity, improved executive function, better memory, and increased physical performance.
4. Incorporate More “Me Time” into Your Daily Routine
The demands that the world makes can sometimes be overwhelming. Taking some time each day to unwind and recharge your batteries can help alleviate stress, improve productivity and creativity, and help you focus on what truly matters.
Self-care and me-time may look different for everybody. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can experiment with meditating before your day starts; reading a book, comic, or your favorite magazine; going for a walk; taking a long bath; or trying out a new hobby or a workout class.
Ultimately, no list can tell you what you should be doing for yourself. The primary and only requirement is that you look forward to that time of your day where you get to reward yourself with some peace of mind and enjoy your own company, even for just a couple of minutes.
5. Be More Active
Many people are under the assumption that the only way to be physically active is to visit the gym daily, which can be intimidating — and sometimes the very reason why people find it hard to commit to this New Year’s resolution throughout the year.
Being physically active can go beyond the gym and sometimes be just as simple as having 30 minutes to an hour dedicated to walking around the block or standing each day. Sitting for long periods has been linked with obesity, premature degeneration, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke. If your job requires you to sit at home or in front of a desk for hours, find ways to incorporate physical activity during breaks or days off. Take the stairs as often as you can. Clean or declutter your house. Ride a bike to work or to the grocery. Enroll in a dance or a yoga class, even at home.
Either way, try to commit to at least three hours of exercise per week. The recommended amount of exercise may vary from person to person, but two-and-a-half hours of exercise already goes a long way and can positively impact your overall health.
Set small goals. Make sure they’re measurable. Challenge yourself without beating yourself up. You can do this! Try out one of these five New Year’s health resolutions and let me know how it goes.