Happy New Year! 2019 has officially arrived and with it, so have millions of resolutions. People everywhere are using the new year as an opportunity to commit themselves to new habits, rid themselves of old habits and embark on hopeful adventures during the next 12 months. In fact, according to Marist Poll, 44% of Americans plan on making a resolution for 2019. Of these individuals, 13% vow to exercise more, 12% want to quit smoking and 10% resolve to lose weight.
That’s a whopping 35% of respondents whose sole focus for their resolution is a healthy habit. Needless to say, we care about our health. However, there is more to health than simply losing weight. If you want to create a healthy New Year’s resolution you can actually stick to in 2019, here are some ideas to get started.
1. Get better sleep.
One of the simplest ways you can start the new year off on a healthy note is by getting better sleep. Dr. Nathan Samras, a primary care physician at UCLA Health, says, “Insufficient sleep can decrease the immune system’s ability to be as strong as it should to fight common illnesses such as head colds and other viruses. It can also increase the risk and severity of various mood problems including anxiety and depression.” This means, if you want to live a healthier and happier lifestyle in 2019, then the first step is going bed—for longer, deeper, better sleep.
2. Watch what you consume.
This one seems obvious, right? If you want to be healthier, then you must lose weight, which means dieting. Well, not exactly. In fact, diets don’t work more often than they do. According to UCLA, the vast majority of people who go on diets will regain the weight shortly after, or more. Instead, this year, resolve to watch what you consume. Take note of your eating and drinking habits, and then slowly take intentional steps toward healthier alternatives. For instance, instead of drinking a beer every evening, consider a water, fruit juice or alcohol-free drink. When you watch what you consume, rather than simply dieting, you will have a stronger chance for a healthier lifestyle.
3. Practice mindful eating.
One way to watch what you consume is to practice mindful eating. Nowadays, it’s common practice to chow down on a meal with our eyes glued to a screen. But, eating while distracted can actually lead to overeating, which results in unhealthy weight gain. Johns Hopkins dietitian and research nutritionist Diane Vizthum says, “When you eat mindfully, it’s easier to notice when you feel full, plus you’re more likely to enjoy the foods you eat.” Make a resolution this year to slow down and pay attention to your food by pausing between bites.
4. Meditate often.
However, there’s more to health than simply physical wellbeing. This might be surprising, but meditation can actually have a huge impact on your overall health. According to one study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers discovered that just 30 minutes of meditation every day improved symptoms of depression and anxiety in participants after eight weeks. When your mind is healthy, your emotions are healthy and even your physical health can improve. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, consider adding meditation to your daily routine in 2019.
5. Take more steps.
Chances are if you own a smartwatch, steps might already be on your mind. And even if you don’t, taking more steps every day is still a helpful way to lead a healthier life. Shannon Fable, the Director of Exercise Programming at Anytime Fitness, says, “Instead of worrying about working out during the week, I want my clients to turn their focus to accumulating more steps during their day-to-day activities. Even 500 extra steps for five days will lead to significant changes.” Instead of stressing about working out and losing weight, simply start by scheduling more time in your day for steps.
6. Remember gratitude.
Finally, remember how we said mental and emotional health can impact the physical? Here comes the important resolution of remembering gratitude. Make a resolution in 2019 to journal every day about the the things in life which bring you joy, the people who have a positive impact and the moments you want to remember. Daily gratitude journaling helps develop a better sense of balance and perspective, which can enhance your wellbeing. Give it a try this upcoming year and see how your health improves.
There’s more to health than simply losing weight and quitting smoking. Health involves all of the mental, emotional and physical attributes which influence your wellbeing. As you develop your healthy 2019 resolutions, keep these tips in mind, so you can feel healthier and happier throughout the new year.