Many times when we think of New Year’s resolutions we think of all the things we are going to have to give up. Let’s change this thinking for the New Year and add some behaviors that will make you reach your health and wellness goals for 2018. Let’s kick start some new habits, starting with these.
- Add 15 minutes more sleep each night. Maintain that for three months, then add 15 more minutes every 3 months for the rest of the year. By this time next year, you will be logging an extra hour of sleep. This takes a little discipline as you have to shut off the electronics, including TV, a little earlier. The benefits of getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep are well documented including:
- Decreased risk of health conditions
- Managed hunger levels
- Maintained immune system
- Retained memory
- Add an extra serving of fresh fruit or vegetables each day for three months, and add another serving each quarter. By the end of the year you will have upped your fruit and vegetable intake by four servings per day. By adding more fresh fruits and vegetables you will not only increase your vitamins and mineral intake, but also increase fiber which will keep you fuller and help to avoid more calorie dense foods like pop and sweets.
- Add 15 minutes of exercise every day for three months, then add an additional 15 minutes every 3 months. By next year you will have increased your exercise by an hour a day. This can be broken up over the entire day. Ideas to accomplish this include picking parking spaces further away from the entrance, using stairs instead of taking the elevator, and walking five or ten minutes after meals. If you have a fitness tracker, increase your step count by 1500 steps per day during the first three months, then increase by 1500 steps each quarter. 10,000 steps a day is good to maintain fitness, but if weight loss is your goal you need to be walking 15,000 or more steps per day.
- Add an extra glass of water each day for the first 3 months, then add an extra glass of water per day every 3 months. By this time next year, you will have increased your water intake by four glasses. Water keeps you hydrated, helps with metabolism, is calorie free and may help you decrease beverages that are loaded with sugar and calories. A simple way to add water is to drink a glass in the morning to start your day hydrated, then add a glass with each meal.
- Spend a little extra time on your oral health. If you are not brushing twice a day, work on this goal routine and make sure to see your dentist twice a year. Good health, nutrition and wellness starts with our oral health.
These tips will get you started on some new behaviors for 2018. Forget about giving something up next year. Instead, add, rather than subtract, for better health and wellness in the New Year.