With a new year comes wanting to make resolutions, set new goals, and change habits. To be honest I’m not one to encourage anyone to make New Year resolutions. I find them often to be unrealistic and rather encourage setting small attainable goals that will eventually lead you to your resolutions. But what’s a goal if you don’t have a plan or a way to measure your success…. is it just a wish?!?
I know many of you might have some great plans for 2018 like losing weight, start going to the gym, eat healthier, etc. I think all these are great, but let’s take a moment to focus on some simple Healthy Habits for the New Year you can start to help to achieve any goal, yes ANY of your 2018 goals.
Much of how you feel on a day-to-day basis depends on what you put into your body and how you treat it. Mind AND Body. Therefor a happier more energetic you could lead to that job promotion you’ve been hoping for or finally dropping those pounds. Start by establishing just one of these habits for at least two weeks and note how it makes you feel.
Eat More Vegetables
I just can’t tell you enough the power of eating a colorful diet. Try to incorporate a fist full of vegetables at each meal. Breakfast can be the trickiest meal to eat your veggies with, so read some of my tips and favorite recipes here. Eat different colors for a variety of healthy benefits. Maybe even start trying a new healthy food trend each week. Have you tried replacing zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for pasta? Or cauliflower rice for white rice? Add kale or spinach into your morning smoothie or eggs. And if the idea of plain steamed vegetables makes you cringe, try my Perfectly Roasted Veggies, you’ll be hooked!
Eat Real Food
10 years ago in college my diet mostly consisted of cereal or granola bars (which I thought were healthy), pretzels and peanut butter, and a daily serving of soft serve ice cream from the dining hall machine. Wow have I come so far since then. Now I believe in looking at ingredients and eating real 100% real food.
There are even plenty of pre-packaged products that now contain minimal and real ingredients. Live by the rule if you look at the ingredients list and can’t pronounce something, chances are you shouldn’t be eating it. This also goes for all labels that say something is ‘low-fat’ ‘gluten-free’ ‘all natural’ or even ‘organic’. These labels don’t mean the foods are better for you, read ingredients lists of every food you put in your body.
Try a New Workout Class
Every year around this time the gym is typically overflowing with new members who are hitting the cardio machines and weights. These activities are great for you and all, but who is holding you accountable? If you start regularly attending a group fitness class and become friends with the people around you, they’ll notice when you’re not there. I see it every week in my BodyPump class I teach. Ask your local gym for a group fitness and/or spin schedule. Consider joining Classpass if they work with studios in your area. Or find an activity you truly enjoy such as spinning, pilates, barre, yoga, dance, etc, there are so many different types of workouts available now where you don’t need to motivate yourself, that’s the instructors job.
Ditch the Soda and Sugary Drinks and Drink More Water
Read the labels of your favorite beverages and your jaw should drop when you see the amount of sugar inside each of them. I’m all for adding a little sweetness into your life, but not excessive amounts everyday. And most likely you grab that sugary beverage a few times a week. Even if it’s diet soda that you enjoy. I encourage you to find alternatives as many diet sodas have not so good artificial sweeteners in them that have many of the same harmful effects as sugar.
I aim to drink plenty of plain water throughout the day. I don’t track it but I fill up a large water bottle (this is my favorite bottle) for work and make sure I finish it throughout the work day. When I get home if I’m craving something different I love sipping on a La Croix, Kombucha, or making a plain sparkling water with our Soda Stream (one of my favorite purchases we’ve made recently).
Get More Sleep
It’s recommended you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Some tips to hit the pillow sooner are to; limit screen time, rather try reading a book or journal, if you write down your to-do’s for the day ahead you’re less likely to think about them over night. Make the room dark by turning off lights. And keep the room at a comfortable low temperature.
Many of us don’t get enough sleep because of stress in our lives. I have found practicing self-care (read 20 self-care activates here) helps me deal with stress. And I know many others who have turned to yoga or meditation to calm their mind. My advice is to also take that vacation, spend time away from work, take time for yourself, sleep, and relax. Allow yourself to do these things to relieve some of the day-to-day stress everyone has in life.
Clean, Get Rid of, and Organize
Anyone else feel so good coming home to a clean house? I try to do a weekly cleaning on our three-story townhouse, which is so fun, not. But I find myself always needing to go through and clean out, get rid of things, and organize all the closets and storage. The New Year is a great time to go through clothes and organize the kitchen cabinets and storage areas. Having everything organized and in an easily accessible place just makes life so much easier.
Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
This past year some of my loved ones have been facing some health issues mostly because of their genetics and age. I have tried to encourage them to look into eating an anti-inflammatory diet as inflammation is a big cause of some of their health concerns. What’s inflammation? That bloating, discomfort, swelling you experience throughout your body is part of your bodies immune response and is inflammation. For anyone with an autoimmune disease or other health issues it can cause other problems in their body.
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet eliminates foods that are common food intolerances such as gluten, dairy, and all processed foods. And rather incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods such as kale, turmeric, blueberries, and all real foods. I’m not saying you need to eat like this everyday, because hello doughnuts. But limit intolerant and processed foods for a few weeks and see how you feel.
I know many of you sit at a desk all day then when you get home from work all you want to do is relax. But I encourage you to think of ways besides exercise that can get you moving. While at work take a five-minute break, get up and walk or walk somewhere during lunch. At home clean the house, take a walk outside, even spend time cooking a meal which allows you to move around the kitchen. When running errands choose a parking spot that’s further away from your destination. Use a device to track your steps and set a goal each day.
Limit Meals Eaten Out
When you have a busy work/home life making meals at home can be tough. I know how much easier it is to go through the drive through rather than spend the time cooking. But try to limit meals eaten out to once or twice a week. Most restaurant meals are much higher in calories and sodium than anything you would make and eat at home. To make life easier try prepping some items on Sunday or Monday for the week. And on the weekends try recreating some of your favorite restaurant meals at home.
The perfectionist in me wants to tell you it’s possible to eat healthy, exercise, practice self-care, spend time with family, sleep, and have an organized house all the time, but it’s impossible. When you learn to accept that you’ll then find where you need balance. Maybe one day you skip a workout for an extra hour of sleep because you’ve been feeling tired. Or you have resisted sweets for a while and really want that piece of cake at a party. Or rather than finishing the chores you sit down and watch your favorite tv show. It happens, we’re not perfect. You know what’s best for your body.
Wishing you a Sweet and Strong 2018 😉Healthy Habits for the New Year with @sweetandstrong_Click To Tweet
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud. Be sure to read other Healthy Lifestyle Posts Here.
Questions of the Day:
What’s one healthy habit you’re incorporating in 2018?
Which of these healthy habits do you need the most help with?
What are your 2018 goals?