The turn of a new year is a common time for many people to take stock of their health and vow to make changes. If you didn’t set New Year’s resolutions, remember that you can always set resolutions for yourself no matter what time of year.
Here are some good resolutions to consider, plus some tips for sticking to them
Cut stress: Some stress is normal, but chronic, obstructive stress can negatively affect your health. It can lead to a higher risk or worsening of conditions like depression, obesity, heart disease, insomnia and many more. Consider ways to reduce stress, including better sleep and exercise habits, more structure in your day, a healthier diet, and more time spent on activities and with people you enjoy
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco: While some alcohol isn’t damaging to your health, too much can increase your risk of depression, seizures and memory loss. Long-term heavy drinking also leads to a greater risk of numerous conditions, including many life-threatening ones. Smoking, on the other hand, isn’t ever healthy. It’s a tough habit to quit, but keeping at it will show major benefits to both your health and your bank account once you stop buying cigarettes.
- Lose weight: This is one of the most common resolutions out there, and it can be tough to stick to. Be patient—don’t expect to see results right away, and do your best to avoid shortcuts. Keep a good support network around you to hold you accountable, and consider how to properly incorporate both exercise and diet into your efforts.
- Sleep better: Sleep can affect your health and have a big effect on your overall happiness, memory and even appearance. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can increase the risk of conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes. Do your best to account for your sleep habits. If you have a hard time sleeping, talk to your doctor. Your sleep problems may be caused by an underlying medical condition.
Stick to Your Goals
While starting a resolution is simple enough, sticking to it over a long period of time can be a challenge. Here are a few basic tips for staying accountable to your resolutions:
- Set manageable goals: One of the biggest reasons why these efforts fail is when people try to bite off more than they can chew, so to speak. If you set huge, lofty health goals every January 1, you place the bar very high for yourself—and leave no room for life’s natural roadblocks and setbacks. In the end, this often leads to a burnout pretty early in your efforts. Instead, set reasonable, manageable goals that you can work up to, and adjust these based on your progress.
- Find a support system: We may want to think we can accomplish these goals with nothing but our own willpower, but this isn’t always the case. Lifestyle changes are always easier if you have support coming from friends and loved ones. Enlist a few people close to you to keep you accountable, including your doctor if appropriate.
- Track your progress: Another good way to stay accountable is by tracking your efforts. If you’re trying to adjust your diet, for instance, use a food diary or an app to help track your calories and nutrients. Being able to chart your progress will often help you be more disciplined and stick with your efforts.
- Get regular checkups: Finally, a great way to stay on track with your health goals is getting annual or bi-annual checkups from your family doctor. These will help keep communication open and discuss any concerns you have about your health. They can also help you identify areas where you may want to put in additional efforts to get healthier and prevent diseases.
“Top 10 Healthiest New Year’s Resolutions.” Health.com. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20452233,00.html#new-year-healthier-you-0
“How to Help Patients Keep their New Year’s Health Resolutions.” Gebauer Company. https://www.gebauer.com/blog/new-years-health-resolutions