Updated: Dec 28, 2021
New Year, New You – 4 Ways to Make 2022 Your Healthiest Year Ever
A new year is a perfect time to reset your routine and establish some new habits to become the healthiest version of yourself. And when it comes to setting new intentions, research has shown that health-related resolutions are typically the most popular. Of course, there are countless goals you could commit to, but the reality is too many can start to feel overwhelming and become difficult to maintain. The following are four ways that can transform your life if you make them a new part of your daily routine.
Commit to a Getting More Sleep
There's an epidemic of lack of sleep in this country. Unfortunately, it's usually just accepted as a natural byproduct of a busy lifestyle and aging. This is highly concerning because sleep is critical to regulating so many vital health functions. Everything from stress levels, mood, capacity for thinking, learning, and memory, to weight regulation is impacted by how much sleep you're getting. Lack of sleep can spike cortisol levels and decrease testosterone as well, which also contributes to weight gain.
Committing to a healthy sleep routine should be the number one health-related resolution for everyone. Very few people can probably say they get a full eight hours of sleep every night, but that is exactly what the goal should be. If you've gotten into the habit of watching TV or scrolling through your phone in bed, it's time to stop and try to start winding down an hour before going to sleep.
Move Your Body
Most people have daily routines that are almost totally sedentary. Whether it is work or school, the reality is most of the day is spent sitting. This is a significant problem from a health perspective and can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, increased risk for some cancers, and increased metabolic and musculoskeletal disorders.
Mobilizing your body should be a priority when developing new healthy habits, and especially if weight loss is one of your goals. Depending on your current fitness level, there are a variety of ways to get started. Start by walking 10 minutes every day. Once that becomes manageable, try jogging, swimming, cycling, or even weightlifting. It's important to do an activity that you'll enjoy, so you'll continue to do it. You may hate the gym, for example, but love to dance, so join a dance studio and make that part of your weekly routine. Whatever you do, your goal should be to find small opportunities every day to move your body for at least 30 minutes.
Reduce Sugar Intake
It goes without saying that developing healthy eating habits should be a part of any commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition, however, is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Many factors go into healthy eating habits, from current health, weight, and fitness levels to food allergies and fitness goals. One factor though is important to absolutely everyone who wants to reset their health, and that is to reduce sugar intake.
Sugar presents a whole host of health problems, from weight gain and obesity to poor insulin regulation and increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Sugar is highly addictive and it's nearly impossible to completely remove it from your diet but limiting sugar intake as much as possible is a great way to help kickstart healthier eating habits. One of the best ways to limit sugar intake is to be mindful of the foods that you're buying. Generally speaking, you should aim for a daily intake of no more than 30-50 grams of sugar per day. The ideal scenario would be to limit sugar consumption to 10 percent of your total daily calories.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Lastly, if your new year's resolutions involve becoming healthier, you should include prioritizing your mental health. A healthy mindset will do wonders for your physical health, by helping you to reduce stress. It's no secret that the last couple of years have taken a mental toll on everyone, as we struggle to deal with the impact of the pandemic. Increases in stress, depression, and anxiety are quite common now, and these challenges have a direct impact on our physical health.
Make your mental health a priority and take some time to disconnect from the stresses of the day. This could involve putting on some headphones and going for a walk while listening to your favorite music or podcast. Also, take some time to add some daily affirmations to your day, or practice incorporating gratitude into your nightly routine. These kinds of small habits can help counter the stress of daily life, leading to overall improved health as a result
A new year is an ideal time to plan out some healthy new routines and habits for yourself that can lead to a healthier lifestyle. By committing to getting more sleep, moving your body every day, taking steps to reduce sugar intake, and prioritizing your mental health, you can literally transform your life. These small changes to your daily habits can have a tremendous impact on your health and your overall well-being.