New Year’s resolutions fade fast. A better strategy is to concentrate on healthy habits to adopt in the new year. Once established, habits stick.
New Year’s resolutions can be self-defeating. Many develop a list of over-ambitious goals, only to become discouraged at the first setback. A better approach is to adopt a plan to change habits you follow automatically. Here are some healthy habits to adopt in the new year that will make you feel better, more relaxed, and more energetic.
Take a Walk in the Park
Time outside is good for you. Spending time outdoors in natural spaces has many demonstrated health effects. The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and boosts immunity. Whatever the season, spending time enjoying the outdoors will boost your mood and your energy levels.
Eat the Rainbow
Rather than adopting a fad diet or a highly restricted eating regime, focus on building a colorful plate. Different colors of fruits and vegetables signify a breadth of nutrients—a multicolored mix of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Recognize Opportunities for Exercise
When you can’t go to the gym, it may be challenging to maintain an exercise habit. If you don’t have the space for a mat and dumbbells at home, recognize other ways to work in exercise.
Go up and down the stairs a few extra times. Lifting a full basket of laundry or carrying a toddler around provides resistance and strength training. A few cans of soup can substitute for dumbbells. Look for exercise videos online that get you moving, even if it’s marching in place.
Drink More Water
Water isn’t just for during and after exercise. Make having a glass of water part of your routine—for every cup of coffee, add a cup of water. A shortcut to determining how much water you should drink per day is to divide your weight in half. The result is the number of ounces of water you should aim for daily. If you weigh 160, you should get 80 ounces or 10 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Get More Sleep
This one healthy habit to adopt in the new year can provide multiple benefits. Sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain, depression, and even heart disease. Make changes to your bedroom that will help you get a minimum of seven solid hours of sleep a night. Ban screens, and don’t drink caffeine close to bedtime.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, this could impact the way your body processes glucose—blood sugar. Sleep deprivation has been shown to contribute to insulin resistance, which can develop into diabetes. Your doctor may recommend consultation with a specialist if your blood sugar levels are concerning.
Dr. Philip Rabito is an endocrinologist in New York Cityspecializing in helping patients, including those with insulin resistance, with diet and weight loss solutions.