Jumpstart Your New Year with These Small Healthy Changes

By Ruwanthi Ekanayake January 03, 2017

2017 is finally here! Many of us rang in the new year with noisemakers, celebrations, and, of course, New Year’s resolutions.

Studies show that over 80% of resolutions focus on health and wellness—but just 8% of resolutions are actually kept.

Don’t lose hope though! The New Year is a perfect time to work on your health. Here are my five favorite tips to have lasting impacts on your wellness in 2017.

  1. Set realistic, specific goals.
    We’ve all done the thing where we promise ourselves: “I’ll go to the gym every day, and never eat junk food again.” Setting the bar too high ensures failure, discouragement, and eventually, giving up. Plus, these goals are way too general. Don’t fall into this trap! Set small, quantifiable goals that you can actually achieve. For example: instead of saying “I’m going to drink more water”, decide “I’m going to drink a glass of water before every meal/snack.” You’ll be surprised at how quickly these small steps will add up!
  2. Breathe.
    Meditation is a great way to sift through your thoughts, relax, and get into a good head space. Set aside just five minutes a day (my favorite time is right when I wake up) to decompress your body and still your mind. An easy technique is to inhale for four counts and exhale for four counts.
  3. Squad up and sweat!
    Exercising is always WAY more fun with your friends. You can motivate each other and spend some quality bonding time! I’ve made some great memories jogging with my girls, struggling up hills and enjoying the view at the top–not to mention the endorphins! If running’s not your thing, sign up for a Zumba class, or grab a ball for some pickup soccer—anything that gets your heart rate up is golden.
  4. Plan ahead.
    We don’t always make the best decisions on an empty stomach—so plan your meals/snacks beforehand! I like to cut up a bunch of veggies and keep them in the fridge in snack-sized portions. That way, when I’m busy, I can just grab a bag and head out the door. Fresh fruit is also a great option—apple slices with peanut butter is a personal fave!
  5. Cut yourself some slack.
    Nobody’s perfect. Never beat yourself up if you miss a workout or eat a little more ice cream than you should. Plus, treats are important! Change isn’t easy, nor is it quick. Know that you’re taking small steps towards a better, healthier you, and as long as you keep working at it, 2017 will be your healthiest year yet!

More Healthy Living

4‑H Curriculum: Choose Health: Food, Fun and Fitness

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