New Year’s almost always include things related to healthy living resolutions. Perhaps because there’s some lingering guilt about indulging in all the sinfully rich and delicious food and drinks over the holidays. Perhaps the health goals for the previous year were a little too vague (“lose weight” instead of “lose 15 pounds” or “maintain weight at 120 pounds”).
Whatever the reason may be, it’s never a bad idea to list down a couple of health-related objectives as parts of your New Year’s resolutions list. What’s more, you don’t even have to focus on exercise and food alone since there are various facets of health beyond your physical well-being. Here are some ideas for healthy living resolutions for the New Year and the other years to come.
Add More Types of Food to Your Diet
When it comes to dieting and eating right, most people think of the things they need to stop eating instead of the things they need to start eating. This might cause you to miss out on affordable and healthy options, like full-flavored and original unsweetened cashew milk. This ultra-low-calorie drink (just 25 grams per cup!) is also rich in fiber and minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron. Black beans are also something you should eat more of. They contain an antioxidant compound called anthocyanin, which has been linked to improved brain function.
Another great thing about adding more kinds of food into your diet is that you won’t feel restricted. Sometimes, the exclusion of way too many foods is what turns off people about healthy eating in the first place. When you think about dieting as “eating more of the right things” instead of “eating less of the bad things,” you might be more encouraged to do so because of positive reinforcement.
Keep a Journal or Two
Journaling has been associated with lower levels of stress and improved cognitive function. Writing down your thoughts can also help you solve problems and direct your attention to the things that you want to focus on. For example, gratitude journaling is a great tool for recognizing even the smallest things that you should be thankful for. What’s even better is that journaling is very accessible and affordable — all you need is a pen and a notebook, or your computer or smartphone if you prefer.
You can also keep various kinds of journals for different purposes. Journaling is a strategy for keeping things organized, after all, so it just makes sense if you have separate ones for your emotional relief, personal to-do lists, food journal, and more. Lastly, you don’t even have to commit to write in your journal every single day. If you’re often busy, you can simply choose two or three days a week and dedicate a few minutes during those days to writing something.
Plan Your Meals and Batch Cook
Speaking of journals, one of the best ways to put your journals to use is to plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. This will save you from falling into the trap of eating out and therefore spending money on food that may not be as healthy as the ones you can prepare for yourself. Allocate a couple of hours during the weekend to prepare everything you need for meals and snacks for the coming week. You can peel, slice, chop, and dice ingredients as needed, batch cook rice, beans, and meat, and pre-pack snack containers with healthy munchies, among others. Meal planning and batch cooking also saves you a lot of time so you can do more of the things you love.
Take Note of What Stresses You Out
It might seem counterproductive to focus on the negative, but knowing what causes you stress is a great way of avoiding or minimizing them. Use whatever method is the most convenient for you — journaling, the notepad application on your smartphone, little notes or reminders on your calendar — and take note of patterns. For example, if you often get headaches in the afternoon, you might want to change something in your lunchtime or afternoon routine. Once you make certain changes, don’t forget to take note of them as well so you can verify if they are actually working to reduce the stress you’re feeling. If they are, then you can continue doing them; if they’re not, then you know that you still have to make adjustments to your habits.
Change Your Workout Approach
Workouts can become boring after some time, especially if you aren’t the athletic type. One of the keys to maintaining a consistently active lifestyle is to switch it up once you hit a certain goal. This helps keep exercise interesting. For example, you can switch to weightlifting to build more muscle after you’ve lost 10 pounds from doing cardio and body weight exercises. After three months, you can shift to another kind of workout so you don’t get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Remember to check with health and fitness experts to know which exercises are suited for your goals.
According to some studies, only eight percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually fulfill them. Hopefully, these simple and achievable goals can help keep you on track and be part of that eight percent! Good luck.