New Year's resolutions often revolve around becoming healthier, and it's no wonder—being healthy has numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. But where to begin?
While it's possible to ask someone who's already healthy for their secrets, the truth is that maintaining good health often involves establishing routines and making small, gradual changes to your habits and mindset.
To help you get started on your health journey, we've compiled a list of tips based on what healthy people tend to do differently. So don't worry about following your neighbor or coworker around with a notebook—use this list to create a routine that will help you reach your health goals this year.
MAINTAIN A REGULAR SLEEP SCHEDULE
We often overlook the importance of maintaining regular sleep habits as adults, even though our parents emphasized the significance of getting enough sleep when we were young. However, a consistent sleep schedule is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.
Inadequate sleep can severely impact your health, including disruption of metabolism, reduced immune function, and impaired brain function. This can lead to difficulty in problem-solving and managing stress. Some people believe that as long as they get a certain number of hours of sleep each night, they are fine. However, the timing of your sleep is just as important as the amount. Establishing a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule can significantly affect your well-being.
To improve your sleep, try setting a consistent bedtime and sticking to it for a minimum of two weeks. You will likely notice a difference in your mood and energy levels. If you already have a relatively regular sleep schedule, try to limit your screen time to 30 minutes before bedtime. This allows your brain to relax and leads to a more peaceful sleep.
"Having a consistent routine of when you go to sleep and get up every day can directly impact how you feel. Try to set a regular time to go to sleep every night and stick to it for at least two weeks."
REVIEW YOUR TO-DO LIST
Do you ever feel like you've forgotten something you're supposed to do that day? Or do you struggle with managing your time effectively? One helpful habit to adopt is reviewing your to-do list each morning. When you wake up, take a few minutes to review your calendar and task list for the day.
This helps focus your mind on what needs to be done and can improve your productivity by giving you a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. It also allows you to plan time for activities like exercise and healthy meal preparation, ensuring that you make the most of your day.
DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST
Eating a balanced breakfast is essential for starting your day on the right foot. Not only does it provide your body with the energy it needs to function, but it can also improve brain function, digestion, and metabolism.
If you're not a fan of morning meals, try drinking a glass or two of water to kickstart your metabolism and digestion. For an extra boost, add some lemon to your water. Lemon water, whether hot or cold, offers numerous benefits, including improved digestive health, a higher metabolism rate, and detoxification of the body.
MONITOR YOUR FOOD AND BEVERAGE INTAKE
It's essential to pay attention to what you eat and drink, but you don't have to be overly strict or anxious about it. Calorie counting and "dieting" can be detrimental to developing healthy habits, as they may not be sustainable. Mindless eating, such as while watching TV or working on a difficult project, can contribute to overconsumption.
To combat this, try pre-portioning healthy snacks and keeping them within easy reach where you tend to indulge (e.g., at your desk, on the couch, at the front of the pantry). Focus on understanding what is in your food and what your body needs, and prioritize foods high in protein or fiber to stay fuller for longer and fuel your body. Consume carbohydrates and sugar in moderation.
It's okay to have a treat occasionally, as it can support your mental well-being and prevent you from feeling too restricted. The best rule to follow is "everything in moderation." Oversized portions and overeating are significant contributors to obesity. Gradually shift your diet to include more greens and lean protein while reducing unhealthy foods.
"Focus on learning what is in your food and what your body needs and go for those things. Eat foods high in protein or fiber to stay fuller longer and keep your body fueled."
EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL!
A key aspect of healthy living is staying active and avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity. Make exercise a priority, and you will notice a significant improvement in your cardiovascular health and overall well-being.
Regular workouts can provide numerous benefits beyond burning calories and building muscle, including mental clarity, stress management, increased energy, confidence, and reduced anxiety. Just 20 minutes of walking or running daily can make a big difference. So don't wait—start moving and reaping the benefits of exercise today.
SET CLEAR GOALS
Another habit of healthy and successful people is regularly setting clear goals. Both long-term and short-term goals can be helpful, as they keep you focused and motivated. Clearly defined goals are important because vague or broad goals can be challenging to track and measure progress against.
To write a specific goal, you need to include at least three things: the goal itself, the action plan to achieve it, and the timeline for completion. For example, "I will save money by not eating out at restaurants for the next two weeks." This specific goal outlines the desired outcome (saving money) and the action to take (not eating out at restaurants). It also includes a clear timeline (two weeks) to provide a "destination" and encourage perseverance.
Short-term goals should always be this specific so you can see progress and reward yourself. Even small achievements can boost your confidence and cultivate a goal-oriented mindset.
FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM
It's generally easier to make significant changes with the support of others. Consider finding a friend or coworker to hold you accountable on your journey towards better health.
They can be in-person or online—for example, you can find forums or websites dedicated to healthy living that offer support, recipes, and advice. You could also make a gym buddy to motivate each other to attend regularly. Knowing that someone is counting on you to show up can be a powerful incentive to get up and move.
"Having someone hold you accountable, whether a friend or coworker, can significantly impact your efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle."
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