Making these improvements to your health is a great first step!
It’s not easy to make New Year’s resolutions that stick. Many people make ambitious resolutions that last only a few weeks, while others have given up on making resolutions at all. This is because it is difficult to break bad habits, especially if you are trying to go “cold turkey” and make too many changes at once.
For this reason, we have compiled a list of 5 simple New Year’s resolutions that are easy to keep. They may not revolutionize your life, but they are a step in the right direction, and that’s the perfect place to start!
Tip 1. Sneak in extra exercise
Getting more exercise might be one of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make—and break. But nearly everyone can find the will power to sneak in these simple exercises:
- Take the stairs, not the elevator.
- Park in the farthest parking space and walk the rest of the way.
- Get a pedometer, and set daily goals for how many steps you take.
- Do a short exercise every morning, like 10 sit ups, pushups, or squats.
- Balance on one leg or do squats while brushing your teeth for 2 minutes.
- Use your breaks from work to stretch or take a walk.
- Try to fit in a short walk after dinner every evening.
- Do something physical while watching TV, like leg lifts, stretching, or sit ups.
- Play with your kids.
- Make a social event that involves exercise, like taking a walk, hike, or bike ride with a friend.
Tip 2. Add a little fish to your menu
Do a favor for your heart! Add fish to your diet at least once a week. Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which is a heart-healthy addition to your diet. But be careful. Some fish are contaminated with mercury, and should not be eaten frequently (orange roughy, halibut, shark, marlin, albacore tuna, swordfish, mackerel, and fresh tuna). Try these fish instead:
- Wild and Alaska Salmon
- Lake trout
Tip 3. Target one bad eating habit
Trying to eliminate all of your bad eating habits at one time can be overwhelming and hard to maintain through the whole year. Instead, just target one habit per month, and replace the “bad” food with a good food that you genuinely enjoy too. Here are some examples of healthier substitutes that you might like.
- Instead of red meats, try fish or poultry.
- Instead of fried foods, try broiling or roasting.
- Instead of ice cream, try low-fat low-sugar frozen yogurts.
- Instead of chocolate, try a banana with peanut butter.
- Instead of soda or alcoholic drinks, try unsweetened seltzer water.
- Instead of chips, try almonds or walnuts.
- Instead of fast food, find restaurants with healthier menu items.
Tip 4. Improve your sleep hygiene
If you are the type of person who feels tired every day, it may be time to take some steps to improve the quality and the length of your sleep. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can make you feel better throughout the day, and give you the energy to make positive improvements in your life. Try these tips:
- Make your room conducive to sleeping. Try to eliminate excessive light, noise, and clutter, so that your mind can drift into sleep.
- Try to go to bed a half hour earlier than usual.
- Give yourself time to decompress a half hour before bed; do something relaxing, and avoid stressful thoughts.
- If your partner keeps you awake, see if a white noise machine helps.
- Cut out the naps if they are interfering with your nighttime sleep.
- Avoid alcohol, large meals, and caffeine too close to bedtime.
- Cut back on screen time before bed. Try to turn off your TV and other electronics about a half hour before bed.
Tip 5. Relieve your stress with a quick stress buster
Are you living with too much stress in your life? Stress can be detrimental to your physical and mental health if you don’t get it into check. Here are some ways to decompress that you can fit into even the busiest of days:
- Deep breathing is important! Find time each day to stop what you are doing and take 3 to 5 deep, slow breaths.
- Take a walk around the block to get some fresh air and clear your head.
- Change your position frequently throughout the day, to avoid muscle tension.
- Do a short exercise to relieve tension, like 20 jumping jacks.
- Give yourself at least 10 minutes of “me” time to read a magazine, listen to your favorite music, or just relax.
- Get a 20-minute chair massage to relax the muscles in your neck and upper back.
Tip 6. See your primary care doctor
Even if you feel in good health, you could have medical conditions that you are not aware of, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or thyroid disease. The sooner you discover these illnesses, the sooner you can start getting treatment. This is why it’s a good idea to get an annual physical. Don’t put it off. Schedule your checkup this week!
These New Year’s tips are provided by the American College for Medical Careers. ACMC is located in Orlando, Florida and provides career training in the field of healthcare. Contact us today to learn more about our programs in dental assisting, medical assisting, health information technology, medical coding and billing, diagnostic sonography, and cardiovascular sonography. And Happy New Year to you!