Try simpler resolutions and stick with them!
If your New Year’s resolutions usually fail before February rolls around, you might want to try a different strategy. Some people find that choosing smaller, more manageable resolutions is the way to succeed. Making small changes to your daily habits can gradually lead you to a place where you are ready for a larger change.
Take a look at these five resolutions, and see if they could improve your lifestyle.
#1. Add some more steps to your day
Many of us need more exercise, but can’t seem to commit to going to the gym often enough. Being out of shape can be discouraging, and the more we avoid the gym, the less we want to go. One way to gradually get back into shape is to add more walking to your life. For most people, walking is an easy exercise, so lace up your shoes and try it! Here are some tips for “sneaking” some extra steps into your day:
- Start out aiming for 1 to 2 miles per day (20 to 40 minutes), and then increase it as you get in better shape.
- Take the stairs, not the elevator! If you work on the 30th floor, you can still take the elevator to 25 and walk the rest of the way.
- Pick parking spots that are far away.
- Find a friend who likes to walk and walk together.
- Take a short walk before or after dinner to get your digestion going.
- Try a pedometer to see if you like tracking the number of steps you take.
Walking is not a substitute for harder exercise, but it can get you in better shape to start adding some more rigorous exercise when you are ready.
#2. Call your doctor for a physical
Do you get annual physicals? If not, this simple tip can possibly make a big impact on your health. Annual physicals can help to detect serious health issues that you may not be aware of, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. Take a few minutes this month and set up an appointment. And women: this is a good time to call your gynecologist for your yearly checkup too. Here are some of the screenings that are typically done:
- Exam of your major systems (head and neck, nerves, extremities, abdomen, skin)
- Blood tests for cholesterol, blood sugar, and possibly thyroid
- Blood pressure
- Body mass index
#3. Call your dentist
Make this the year to be good to your teeth! Dentists will check for cavities, take x-rays, and do a thorough cleaning to remove plaque from your teeth. Be good to your teeth now in order to avoid more costly procedures later. Here are some everyday ways to take care of your teeth:
- Brush at least twice per day.
- Don’t eat or drink anything (except water) after your last brushing of the day.
- Floss at least once per day.
- Avoid sugary foods that stick to your teeth.
#4. Pick one bad eating habit to change
Crash diets rarely seem to work. It’s simply too hard to stick with them. Instead of trying to completely overhaul what you eat, start small by picking just one eating habit that you want to improve. Here are some possibilities:
- Night-time snacker: Pick two nights a week to close your kitchen at 8:00. Brush and floss your teeth so you feel ready for bed. Try this for 2 nights a week, and work your way up to more nights.
- Too many processed foods: Try removing just one item, such as potato chips. Substitute a handful of almonds every time you want potato chips. Work your way up to removing more processed foods as the year goes on.
- Too many sweets: Try removing one sweet item and substitute it with a healthier option such as dried fruit or peanut butter.
- Eating out of boredom: Try adding a healthful activity to your life. Schedule a walk with a friend or go to a movie.
- Too much soda: Try substituting seltzer water for at least one soda per day. (Try this for alcoholic drinks too.)
#5. Get more sleep
Studies have shown that many Americans don’t get enough sleep. Look at your schedule and see how you can incorporate more sleep. Can you go to bed a half-hour earlier? It could make a big difference in how you feel each day. It can even contribute to having more energy for exercise and more resolve to eat healthfully. Here are some sleep hygiene tips:
- Avoid screens right before bed time (like your phone, tablet, and TV).
- Don’t nap during the day if it disturbs your night sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime.
- Avoid large meals too close to bedtime.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Avoid stressful thoughts or conversations before bedtime.
- Establish a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom.
- Use room darkening shades if your room is too light.
- Use a white noise machine if noises are disturbing your sleep.
#6. Take a breather
Life gets busy, and many of us are suffering from too much stress. Stress is one of the invisible factors that can hurt your health in the long run. Start out by finding the time to take 5 deep breaths in the middle of a busy work day. Deep breathing helps your body to relax and delivers oxygen to your body.
This article was brought to you by the Harris Casel Institute. Located in Melbourne, Florida, we provide career readiness advice and other healthcare-related tips through our blog. Our job training programs include Medical Billing & Coding, Nursing Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Practical Nursing, Home Health Aide, and Phlebotomy/EKG. To learn more, contact us through our simple online form.