The start of a new year is a popular time to focus on self-improvement goals, and health is always top of the list!
Transitioning to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, though. Usually, incremental adjustments are more effective than drastic changes. So here are ten ways to work toward a healthier lifestyle and a more satisfied self this new year:
Change your eating habits.
This is likely one of the most popular resolutions at each New Year, but also one of the hardest to achieve. Eating healthier isn’t always about losing weight, though it definitely can help, as can portion control and choosing your calories more carefully.
If you want to continue to eat out and support local restaurants often, consider trying to eat only when you’re actually hungry and stopping when you’re comfortably full. Also try to make choices from the menu that are higher in nutrients, with less sugar.
One great way to alter your eating in the new year is to opt for cooking at home, which not only enhances your creativity but enables you to choose healthier and fresher meals since you’ll have control of all of the ingredients and food preparation.
Stop bad habits and break negative routines.
Are you a late-night snacker? overspender? nail biter? And do you want to stop this or some other unhealthy routine this year? You have to remember that you’re doing these things on autopilot, which means you aren’t thinking about them. You aren’t making a conscious choice.
Experts suggest that the first step to breaking a bad habit is to identify it and know what triggers it so you can be aware of why the routine is detrimental to you. Then, to interrupt the cycle, you need to change your environment, replace the pattern with a new one, or join a good habit onto a bad one — like drinking a full glass of water for every serving of alcohol you intake, for example.
But for a new routine to stick, don’t try to change too much at once. Habits are known to be hard to break for a reason, so don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Get enough quality sleep.
Getting enough good sleep is one of the best strategies for overall wellness. During sleep is when our bodies do all of their repair and restoration, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that getting the correct amount of sleep for your body regulates your appetite, improves concentration and productivity, elevates your immune function, and generally puts you in a better mood.
To get your best quality sleep, stop doing major activities in the hour to half-hour before bed. Wind down with a calming bedtime routine, and try to stick to a sleep schedule so your body can maximize sleep patterns efficiently.
You don’t need to join a gym to be healthy. If you love to work out, that’s great! But even if not, commit to being active this year with activities that you actually like and will do.
There are countless ways to get your heart pumping, including some that teach you a new skill. So hike, swim, rock climb, ice skate, jump on a trampoline… or finally give that exercise bike that’s been doubling as a clothes hanger a try. We suggest switching it up so the activity remains fresh and works out new muscle groups.
And remember, exercise has psychological benefits in addition to physical ones, so movement is equally good for your mental health.
Pay attention to your behavior, not your regrets.
We all know that goals should be measurable in order to reach them, but this year, don’t focus on the end game as much as the journey it takes to get you there if you want to use those goals to develop a newer healthier lifestyle and better habits.
Depending on your goal, you can control your behavior, but not always your final results. So instead of just committing to lose 10 lbs, recognize the activities and motivation along the way to achieving the weight loss. Take more steps each morning and follow through on a pledge to sign up for a 5k this year instead of simply denying yourself food, maniacally exercising, or weighing yourself every morning.
Also, check-in with yourself frequently to monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed. It helps to set specific goals, but also to have realistic expectations.
You breathe through every moment of your day, but there’s a difference between the quiet breathing you do — without thinking about it — to survive, and the deep breathing that can powerfully boost your mood, digestion, and heart health.
Putting your mind on your breath and engaging in deep and mindful breathing can intensify your focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and even help your memory! Try to spend a few minutes each day on mindful breathing or remember to take deep breaths when you find yourself in especially anxious situations.
Clear the clutter.
Organizing yourself and the space around you makes room for a happy, healthier environment. Decluttering also prevents pests, reduces allergens, calms stress hormones, and sparks productivity.
Knowing what is going in in the world is important, but constantly updating your favorite news site or doomscrolling social media feeds isn’t keeping you current, it’s likely costing you happiness.
Watch out for information overload and combat the negative effects of comparing yourself to others by putting a pause or time limit on your media and social media intake — or at least seeking out positive and motivating content.
Plan a vacation.
Next time you are tempted to skip your comp days or “forget” about the vacation days you’ve accrued… don’t! Taking time off is linked to health, happiness, and productivity, so do yourself and your company a favor and go on vacation.
One of the biggest stressors in America is overwork, which is even (and especially) happening while we are working more from home, so plan some extended adventures, or even a long weekend getaway, to refresh and recharge.
And it isn’t just the trip that has health benefits. Advantages begin straight away, even from the act of choosing a destination and making vacation plans. As it turns out, having something to look forward to boosts your happiness and improves your outlook on life.
Work toward financial self-improvement.
Implementing healthier habits can save you money, and saving money can also improve your health — your financial health, that is.
Consumption-related vices can harm your well-being and your wallet, but taking even small steps to improve your routine can be beneficial in the long run. That’s why using apps like Fetch Rewards, which pay you back for what you are already purchasing, can help you make the most of your resolution to be healthier in your household this year.
Take advantage of the ease and convenience of Fetch Rewards to snap all of your receipts and earn points, which you can redeem for almost anything — including many of the things you may need to make better decisions for your health and wellness in this new year.