Do you have your New Year’s resolution in mind? We definitely recommend the usual resolutions of quitting smoking, new fitness goals, and eating healthier overall, but if you are looking for unique, simple resolutions that you can carry out all year long, try these ideas!
1. Schedule comprehensive wellness visits for you and your family.
Annual wellness visits are a great time to learn about your current health status and the best ways to improve your well-being. Be sure to schedule eye exams, annual physicals, dentist appointments, women’s and men’s wellness exams, pediatric visits for the children, and vaccinations. As you age, you may be due for screenings, so it’s important to stay up to date on your individual health needs.
2. Develop a month-by-month fitness plan.
Ditch the extreme fitness resolutions and design a comprehensive fitness plan to establish a lifestyle change instead. First, you need to set realistic goals. Hoping that exercise alone will lead to a large amount of weight loss could lead to disappointment, discouraging you from continuing your efforts. But there is a solution; use this guide to map out your plan to improve your health each month! Consult a primary care physician for a more personalized plan based on your needs, limitations, and goals.
3. Floss daily.
Flossing helps remove harmful plaque and debris from places your toothbrush may not be able to reach, preventing gum disease and cavities in these areas. Aim to floss at least once a day along with brushing twice a day for at least 2 minutes per session. Keep your smile bright and healthy this year.
4. Save lives – donate blood.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be 17 years of age or older and meet certain health criteria. According to the American Red Cross, one blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives. Learn more about donating blood.
5. Stretch every day.
Stretching is very important for flexibility, range of motion, and injury prevention. It relaxes and increases blood flow and oxygen to your muscles. Creating good daily habits takes dedication. The easiest way to make sure you keep up with an impactful daily stretch is to do it as soon as you wake up. If you struggle with health conditions and want to engage in flexibility exercises, such as yoga, be sure to talk to your doctor about how you can adjust your movements.
6. Practice mindfulness.
Another unique New Year’s resolution that you can carry out all year long is to be mindful. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the moment without letting yourself get distracted. Potential benefits include a higher level of general satisfaction, greater ability to cope with difficulties, less worrying and regret, stronger relationships, and higher self-esteem. Physically, mindfulness can reduce stress and lower your blood pressure, improving your heart health. It can also lead to better sleep and improved chronic pain management.
7. Trim calories each day.
A good way to make sure you stay in line with your health and wellness goals this year is to trim your calorie intake on a daily basis. Experts say that in order to lose a pound per week, you’ll need to cut 3,500 total calories during that seven-day timespan. Here are a few tips and tricks to trim calories each day without neglecting your health:
- Avoid sweetened drinks and food with trans fats and added sugar.
- Instead of chips, snack on raw fruits and veggies.
- Instead of baked goods, enjoy sliced pineapples, oranges, or some berries for dessert.
- Avoid alcohol; try a glass of sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus fruit instead.
- Satisfy your chocolate craving with a glass of fat-free chocolate milk.
8. Halt the nail biting habit.
Nail biting can actually be harmful to your health. Getting rid of this habit will help you in more ways than one. Fingernails can harbor dirt and bacteria, which can contribute to the spread of illnesses. Appropriate hand hygiene includes diligently trimming fingernails and cleaning them frequently with soap and warm water.
9. Work on your breathing.
If you are already an avid runner and want to take it up a notch, try rhythmic breathing. Rhythmic breathing can help you reach your exercise goals, especially if they involve cardio. The American Lung Association recommends using a five-step running pattern: inhale for three steps, exhale for two. Make it a three-step pattern—inhaling for two steps and exhaling for one—if you’re running at a faster pace. To keep this resolution running yearlong, remember to stay focused on your breathing and take breaks. Always get your doctor’s OK before starting any exercise plan.
10. Eat breakfast every day.
Why limit your food intake as a resolution when you can increase it in a healthy way? This resolution can get you back on track to healthy eating by starting with the most important meal of the day, breakfast. Potential benefits of eating breakfast include improved memory, reduced irritability, healthier weight, and enhanced nutrition.
11. Get the perfect amount of good sleep.
Sleep is essential for your body to function properly. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your mood, cognitive abilities, and response to stress. Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Something as simple as making sure you get a good night's sleep on a daily basis can even help you stay on track with your other New Year’s resolutions.
12. Eat more fiber.
Fiber is recognized as carbohydrates that are unable to be digested and is found in all edible plants. A high-fiber diet has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, improve heart health, and prevent constipation. Stock up on your favorite fruits, veggies, and whole grain items the next time you go grocery shopping and be on your way to a healthier year!
To stay on track with your resolutions for better health, be sure to consult your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. We wish you all a healthy and happy New Year!
Health Tip: Trim Daily Calories
Health Tip: Why Floss?
American Dental Association: About Flossing
Health Tip: Donating Blood
Health Tip: Get Stretching
Health Tip: Beginning Yoga
Health Tip: Be Mindful
CDC: Nail Hygiene
Health Tip: Practice Rhythmic Breathing
Health Tip: Breakfast Is Essential
Health Tip: Too Busy for Breakfast?
Health Tip: Get Enough Sleep
Healthy Sleep Habits
Preparing for Your Best Year of Fitness
How to Keep Your New Year's Exercise Mojo All Year Long
Your Annual Wellness Visit
5 Tips to Help Make New Year's Resolutions Stick
American Red Cross - First Time Donors