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.

A Parent’s Guide to Meditating With Your Toddler

A growing number of parents are looking for ways to share their stillness practice with their children. Here are some benefits of meditating with your toddler, along with suggestions for how to get started.

Benefits of Meditating With Your Toddler:

  1. 1. Spend time together as a family. Anything you do with your child gives you a chance to connect and strengthen your relationship. Toddlers mimic everything they see so they may already be curious about your meditation sessions.
  2. 2. Help your child to focus. Children have limited attention spans, but their powers of concentration will gradually improve with practice. Start off small to avoid frustration.
  3. 3. Make time to relax. Even short breaks will give you and your family a little more peace on busy days. If you battle over nap times, turning the TV off and sitting down together may make it easier for your toddler to fall asleep.
  4. 4. Take a more constructive view of time-outs. Meditation can help you present time-outs as a helpful tool rather than punishment. Sitting down together when you’re both happy will help your child see how taking a few minutes to calm their mind makes them feel better. Eventually, they may resist time-outs less even when they’re upset.
  5. 5. Encourage lifelong health. Many studies confirm that regular meditation improves mental and physical health. You’re helping your child get an early start on techniques that will make life easier during adolescence and adulthood.

How to Meditate With Your Toddler:

  1. 1. Be a calm role model. Small children are very responsive to their parent’s emotional state. When you develop a tranquil mind, it’s much easier for your child to feel secure and peaceful.
  1. 2. Keep your expectations realistic. Most toddlers live in a whirlwind of activity. Expect to be quiet and still for just a few minutes at a time. You and your child will enjoy your sessions more if you make the inevitable distractions part of the fun.
  2. 3. Open and close with a song. Pick any tune with cheerful lyrics that’s easy to sing. It will help you both get you in the mood.
  3. 4. Practice deep breathing and good posture. Learning to breathe correctly and sit up straight are great habits to master early in life. Even small children can learn to breathe slower and from their abdomen.
  4. 5. Buy some fun props. Even on a small budget, you can pick up some items that will stimulate your toddler’s interest. Get a bell that they can ring to call you both to attention. Go shopping together for a small cushion in their favorite color.
  5. 6. Use simple mantras. Help your child pick out words that will be meaningful for them. They may want to recite words like “peace” or “happy.” Make a game out of it.
  6. 7. Visualize. Take turns guiding each other through simple visualizations. You can each take turns naming people who you love including grandparents and family pets. Try describing an imaginary garden and fill it with pretty plants, water, and rocks.
  7. 8. Discuss your experience. You’ll both get more out of your sessions if you connect them to your daily lives. Talk with your child about how meditating makes them feel. Encourage them to make suggestions for additional activities.
  8. 9. Look for guidance. In most communities and online, there are many resources where you can find helpful instructions. Yoga studios and community centers may offer classes especially for parents and children. You can get books at your local library or search for websites about meditation and yoga for children.

Meditation is an effective way to help you and your toddler enjoy greater peace of mind. Start off gradually and keep it playful and you’ll both grow to love your “mommy and me” meditation sessions.