The 15 Best New Year’s Resolutions for Your Health

Are you unsure which of your priorities is most important in the New Year? Do you have plenty of dreams for the future, but not many concrete plans?

Check out these 15 resolutions you can make to improve your physical and mental well being during the next 12 months and beyond.

Resolutions to Improve Your Physical Health 

  1. Eat right. Focus on adopting healthy eating habits rather than resorting to crash diets. Learn to eat more slowly and reduce your portion sizes.
    • Eat a variety of foods with plenty of complex carbohydrates, fresh vegetables and fruits. Add in some lean proteins and healthy fats to complete your meals.
  2. Exercise daily. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every day. Round that out with training for strength and flexibility.
    • Find a variety of activities that you enjoy, like brisk walks and biking.
    • Get an exercise ball or treadmill that you can use at home on busy days or when the weather outside is unpleasant.
  3. Get adequate rest and sleep. Insufficient sleep can make you more vulnerable to weight gain and many illnesses. Different individuals need different amounts of sleep, but the conventional eight hours is a good rule for most people. If you constantly feel drowsy, try going to bed earlier.
  4. Take care of your bones. Almost half of all women over 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture. Men can be at risk too. Eat plenty of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Get some sunshine and lift weights or do other resistance training.
  5. Practice good posture. Strong abdominal muscles will protect your back from injury and help you look younger.Get used to pressing your navel towards your lower back and keeping your shoulders relaxed. Breathe from your abdomen rather than your chest.
  6. Quit smoking. You probably already know all the dangers of smoking, including lung cancer and premature aging.
    • Many people make several attempts before quitting for good so be open to various cessation methods. Your doctor may be able to help you find the right plan for you.
  7. Drink alcohol in moderation. Some people may need to avoid alcohol all together. Others can stay safe within the general limits of one drink a day for women and two for men. Avoid alcohol before bed so you get good quality sleep.
  8. See your doctor. Regular checkups enable early treatment to keep small health issues from growing worse. If you can’t afford health insurance, you may be able to get some free or inexpensive screenings at local pharmacies and health fairs.

Resolutions to Improve Your Mental Health

  1. Manage stress. Keeping stress under control lets you enjoy life more. Set aside time each day for meditation or listening to soothing music.
  2. Build healthy relationships. Develop a strong network of support. Communicate openly and with respect.
  3. Monitor your thoughts. Think positive. Divert your attention away from nonproductive worrying by brainstorming creative solutions to challenging situations.
  4. Practice positive self talk. Be a good friend to yourself. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.
  5. Be compassionate.Show compassion to yourself and others. Be aware of the suffering in the world and look for ways to alleviate it.
  6. Engage in lifelong learning. Keep your mind sharp by giving it constant challenges. Take adult education classes or listen to foreign language tapes.
  7. Consider counseling. It’s wise and courageous to ask for help when you need it.Professional counseling or spiritual practices may help you bounce back from unfortunate events like divorce or unemployment. They can be useful for smaller things, too, like if you’ve just had a rough week.

While many New Year’s resolutions get discarded faster than the dried out Christmas tree, there are ways to make them stick. Set specific goals that are meaningful and attainable for you. Improving your physical and mental health is a great gift for yourself and your whole family.

Relieve Stress and Anxiety with Exercise

Life can be stressful and full of pressure. Business meetings, deadlines and the fact that you must get a workout every day are never-ending pressures that force their way into our lives. Exercise makes us look good, stay fit, and helps our mental outlook. Aerobic exercise also reduces half of the anxiety we experience from day to day. Of course running will not remove all the obstacles in a day, but it sure helps the way you see them. There are several reasons exercise reduces stress and anxiety:

  • Improved Mood: Aerobic exercise produces chemicals that make you “feel good”. Increased blood flow helps tremendously. Better outlook, less stress, and less anxiety.
  • Increased Energy: Exercise in the morning helps you have an energy boost all day. If tired at first – keep going – the energy will come. Eat right, and stick with it!
  • Better Sleep: Sleep recharges you body, clears your mind, and allows you to process information from the day. Frequent, better quality sleep, on a regular basis will help you cope. (No aerobic workouts close to bedtime.)
  • Clarity: Our mind is our command center and working out is essential to keeping this part of our body in line. Think of it as maintenance for the most important parts. It helps us to see the work and tackle it instead of stressing and being anxious about the work. It helps you be more efficient and waste less steps. It also helps you clear your mind and loose all the distractions.

If you are not able to do a typical aerobic, or other workout, you can try yoga. This type of workout can be done at home as well. There are even “hot yoga” classes. Yoga helps you pump oxygenated blood through your system and loosen up all of the tension and shortening your body experiences. There are many stress releasing movements that will really help you clear your mind and wash away stress. You can also do these stretches in your home.

The main idea is to get started. You will see the benefits and you WILL notice a difference in your life.