healthy new year's resolutions for 2021

How To Set Realistic Healthy New Year's Resolutions

As we move into the new year, many people are making personal resolutions in hopes of creating “new beginnings.” From exercising regularly to eating a healthier diet, these goals can easily slip away from us. This year, take a new approach to a healthy, attainable resolution! Small steps toward your resolution can set the foundation for a healthier, sustainable year.

Take the Stairs

If you’re still going into an office, make it a priority to take the stairs. Social distancing is tricky if not impossible inside an elevator, and it’s a good way to contribute to your step goal every day.

Ideally, adults should get around 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week. That’s a little over 20 minutes every day. Taking the stairs isn’t going to hit that goal all by itself, but every little step in the right direction helps! You can learn more about heart-healthy ways to get moving in our blog here.

Take Time for Yourself

Work. Family. Friends. Pets. With so much on your plate, sometimes it’s hard to remember to take time for yourself. And we don’t just mean finding an hour to binge a new show. The best way to take time for yourself is to practice mindfulness.

Here’s a simple mindfulness technique to help you clear your head and put yourself first: Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Don’t push down any thoughts or emotions you have, but just let them pass you by. It might be helpful to imagine yourself standing on a riverbank, watching those feelings float away. Once you’ve taken some time to focus on your breathing, you can return to those feelings and process them with a clear head.

You can even take some time for yourself right now! Try breathing along with this animation for just 15 seconds.

Breathe GIF

Drink More Water

There are many health benefits of drinking more water, such as keeping your skin healthy and helping your brain functioning at full capacity. The average adult needs between two and three liters a day, which means we should be drinking about a cup of water every hour throughout the day. That may seem like a lot, but there are some easy ways to make sure you stay properly hydrated.

If you don’t already have one, consider buying a reusable water bottle to keep at your desk. Filling it regularly throughout the day gives you an excuse to get up and stretch your legs, which is a win-win! It will also help you ease away from drinking less healthy liquids like soda and help improve your diet.

Take a Screen Break

With everything going on in the world right now, this tip might be the hardest one to put into practice. We all find ourselves glued to the internet to keep up with the breakneck news cycle, but regardless of the content, that screen time can have serious implications for our health.

Studies show that American adults spend more than 10 hours staring at screens each day. There’s a good chance that eight of those hours are in front of a computer screen, depending on your job. That’s not even factoring in time spent on your phone or in front of the TV.

All that screen time can be too much for your eyes to handle. Make a resolution to avoid electronics when possible; that might mean reading a new book every month instead of scrolling before bed, taking your dog for more regular walks instead of watching an episode of a show, or starting a new hobby that lets you get away from screens.

And those cautions about reducing screen time before bed? They’re the real deal. Looking at screens keeps your body from producing melatonin properly, which is the hormone that helps you get to sleep and stay asleep. Put the screen away an hour or so before bedtime and you’ve got a better shot at getting a good night’s rest.

Make Sleep a Priority

The unfortunate truth is that most adults aren’t getting enough sleep. We should be getting seven and a half hours of sleep every night, but that can be tricky when the lines between work and your personal life have gotten blurry since the pandemic. A lack of sleep makes your brain and body sluggish, so making sleep a priority can go a long way.

You probably know what time you need to wake up in the morning, so working backward from that you can set your bedtime. Set yourself up for success by making your bedroom an easier place to get a good night’s rest. Invest in blackout curtains that block light, or a white noise machine that might help you get to sleep easier.

By taking small steps toward your well-being, you can pave the way for a healthier January and beyond. From all of us at Community Health Network, we wish you the best possible health in the new year.