According to research, almost 25% of people will abandon their New Year’s resolutions by the second week in January and almost 60% will quit before six months. Starting resolutions that are too vague, large, or unrealistic will only set you up for failure. If this has happened to you in the past, try setting up specific and actionable goals for yourself this New Year. For example, instead of saying “I want to get healthy in 2018”, break it down into smaller goals that you can attain by gradually changing some of your daily habits. Need some ideas? We’ve rounded up a checklist to help create realistic, actionable, and attainable goals for a healthier lifestyle in 2018.
- Decrease processed sugar intake (cookies, cakes, candy, juices, jelly, etc). Women should aim to consume less than 25 mg per day and men should not eat more than 37 mg per day.
- Decrease refined carbohydrate intake (white flour, white pasta, white rice).
Replace these unhealthy calories with whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole grain pasta.
- Decrease red meat and dairy intake.
Replace red meat with fish, and substitute almond or soy milk for dairy products. To ensure adequate protein intake, be sure to eat plenty of beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
- Eat more fruits and veggies.
It is recommended everyone strive for 9+ servings per day of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
Reduce or cut out carbonated, caffeinated, or calorie-containing beverages and replace them with water. Aim for 6-8 glasses per day.
- Prepare healthy meals ahead of time.
Pick one morning or afternoon each week to shop for healthy foods, then prepare them in advance for more convenient meals and snacks throughout the week.
- Practice proper portion control.
Protein portions should be the size of your palm. A portion of fat should be the size of your thumb. Fruit and vegetable servings should be the largest and roughly the size of your hand. Eat slowly and only until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
- Include both aerobic and resistance-type exercises
Start slowly and gradually build some form of exercise into your daily regimen. Ultimately, shoot for 30 minutes each day, 4-6 days per week.
Stretch your muscles daily, especially after exercising.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time is detrimental to your health. Move your body more each day, even if it means intentionally parking farther away at the grocery store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Carve out daily time for yourself that allows you to relax and unwind. Plan ahead and stay organized to ward off additional stressors when life gets busy.
Consider using nicotine-replacement therapy and avoid triggers. Celebrate small successes along the way.
Aim for 7-9 hours every night. Sleep-proof your bedroom (get rid of lights, noise, and distractions) and create a bedtime ritual to help induce quality sleep. Avoid computer, tablet, or smartphone screen-time in the hours before bed.
Whether you’re sitting, standing, or sleeping, become more mindful in keeping your spine in its natural “S” curve. Imagine that you are being held up by a string attached to the top of your head.
Remember that you should not try to achieve every one of these goals all at once. Living a healthy lifestyle begins with one simple choice after another. Even choosing just a few of these to help you create better habits for yourself will put you on the right path.