Now that 2022 is safely in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to think about 2023. With the new year comes a world of possibilities. From goals to new year’s resolutions, there are plenty of ways to live healthier in the new year. Let’s take a look at five of the best healthy habits you can start today to make this the best year yet!
Healthy New Year’s Habit #1: Healthy Eating
Whether your goal is to lose 20 lbs or you simply want to feel healthier and stronger, the first step to living healthier is eating healthier. What we eat (and drink) impacts everything from energy levels to how well we fight off infections.
What’s more, a poor diet can drastically increase your risk of developing obesity–as well as heart problems, diabetes, and even different types of cancer.
While the exact composition of a “healthy” diet might differ (depending on who you ask), there are a few constants.
•Try to limit (or cut out entirely) processed foods like breakfast cereals, savory snacks, and most products that come in a bag or box.
•Eat a variety of foods. No single food (except breast milk for babies) contains all the nutrients a human needs. Aim for a mix of the food groups, including a healthy portion of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein like milk and eggs, and whole grains.
•Skip salty and sugary foods–like fast food and candy. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day–with 1,500 the recommended limit for most adults–and no more than 24-36 grams of sugar a day.
•Eliminate unhealthy fats and oil. While it’s important to eat healthy (unsaturated) fats, it’s equally as important to avoid unhealthy fats–like trans fats. Too much of the latter can increase your risk of heart disease by 30%!
•Avoid excessive alcohol use. Alcohol is not part of any healthy diet–and per the World Health Organization, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, avoid alcohol entirely!
Healthy New Year’s Habit #2: Find Ways to (Productively) Manage Your Stress
From the everyday pressures of work and family life to moving to a new home, life is full of stressors. Learning to manage that stress in a productive way is a key to maintaining both good physical and mental health.
Chronic, unresolved stress can increase your risk of developing anxiety, depression, digestive problems, weight gain, and a number of serious health problems.
You may not be able to change your situation–or your stressors. But you can take steps to affect how those stressors impact you.
Here are a few suggestions for healthy ways to manage your stress.
•Eating a healthy diet and exercising
•Taking time for hobbies (like reading, journaling, and listening to music)
•Relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, or meditation
•Spending time with friends and family
•Volunteering in your community
•Making checklists and organizing what you’ve accomplished and what’s left to do
•Including humor, laughter, and joy into your daily routine
•Avoid unhealthy stress-management techniques like alcohol, drugs, or unhealthy eating.
If your stress has become unmanageable, make an appointment with your doctor or consider therapy or counseling. Know that help is available.
Healthy New Year’s Habit #3: Idle Less, Move More
The most popular new year’s resolution for 2023? More than 52% of people surveyed said they wanted to “exercise more.”
So what does that mean for you?
Should you implement a morning run into your daily routine? Get a gym membership and start going every day? Start doing calisthenics during your downtime at work?
Of course not.
It’s not realistic to expect to suddenly be able to go to the gym or set aside exercise time every day–especially if it hasn’t been a part of your lifestyle.
Start small and take active steps for daily progression. Don’t try to do it all at once–remember, almost 80% of people fail at their resolutions.
Here are a few healthy habits to help you be more active!
•Choose a parking spot further away from the entrance (at work, the grocery store, etc)
•Take the stairs instead of the elevator
•If you have a desk job, consider a standing desk
•Exercise (for example, treadmill/elliptical) while you watch television or read
•Aim for 10,000 steps a day–brisk walking can burn more than 200 calories in 30 minutes!
•Clean your home more regularly–this can even help you feel more organized & accomplished, and can be a huge boost to your mental health!
Healthy New Year’s Habit #4: Get More Sleep
Sleep is more important than you think.
Not only can it improve your mood, appearance, and decision-making, but it can also improve your overall mental and physical health.
Plus, lack of proper sleep increases your risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.
Here are a few tips for making a good night of sleep part of your healthy habits for the new year.
•Aim to go to bed and wake up at a consistent time every day
•Minimize distractions (like phones, television, etc.) before bed
•Exercise during the day
•Avoid eating & drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed
Getting more sleep can help you have more energy to stay active, make the right decisions when it comes to healthy eating, and help you think more clearly–and productively.
A healthy new year starts with a healthy night of sleep!
Healthy New Year’s Habit #5: Open Communication With Your Health Care Professionals
Let’s face it: not everyone likes going to the doctor. A study from the University of Chicago found nearly ⅖ of Americans have skipped going to the doctor–even if they thought it medically necessary.
Even seeing your primary care doctor once a year for your annual checkup can make a difference. Regular checkups–and good communication–can help your doctor identify minor issues before they become major problems.
Plus, treatment is often more effective when an illness is caught early.
Be sure to schedule a regular checkup at least once a year–even if you feel healthy or think you don’t need it. This is especially important if you recently gave birth, are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant soon!
Make Healthy Habits a Part of Your Daily Routine!
Setting lofty–or unrealistic–goals can be an easy way to set yourself up for failure when it comes to healthy new year’s resolutions.
Healthy habits, on the other hand, are easier to make a part of your daily life. According to most sources, it takes about 66 days for a habit to stick.
That means it takes about two months for your new healthy habits of 2023 to become a part of your routine. By then, you should already be noticing a trend of having more energy and feeling better–both physically and mentally.
Start your year strong and make 2023 the year you start living better!