Short and simple is the ticket to sticking with your resolutions
If you are the type of person who has trouble keeping your New Year’s resolutions, you are not alone. The New Year is a time when we try to make ambitious improvements, but sometimes we take on too much. One approach that could help is to take smaller steps. If you set more achievable goals, you are more likely to find success, and that success can build your confidence to reach for higher goals.
Pick one or two of these resolutions, and see how it goes. Or design your own simple resolution, and stick with it until it becomes a regular healthful habit in your life.
Resolution #1: Walk a little more each day
If you are out of shape and need to get fit, but never seem to stick with your resolution of joining a gym, then why not start out with walking? Walking is easier to stick with, because it doesn’t require driving to a gym and putting on exercise clothes. It’s also free! While it isn’t the same as a full gym workout, at least it gets you started on the right path.
- Aim for 1 to 2 miles each day, which is about 20 to 40 minutes of walking at a moderate pace. Then increase to 3-4 miles when you are ready.
- Ditch the elevator and take the stairs instead.
- Park at the back of the parking lot. This will force you to walk.
- Make walking a social event—ask a friend to join you.
- Take a quick walk before or after dinner every day.
- Buy a pedometer to help you count your steps and set daily goals.
Resolution #2: Replace 1 processed meat meal with 1 fish meal
Recent studies have suggested that processed meats like bacon and ham are unhealthy and contribute to your risk of cancer. Studies have also shown that people who eat fish several times per week can have lower rates of heart disease. So do your heart a favor, and try to substitute fish for processed meats at least once per week. These fish are lower in mercury contamination, so give these a try:
- Lake trout
- Wild and Alaska Salmon
Resolution #3: Switch out the potato chips for veggies
Processed foods like chips, pretzels, and crackers are so convenient to eat, but they don’t contain important vitamins and minerals that your body needs. When eaten in large amounts, they can contribute to weight gain, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Try reducing the number of processed snack foods you eat with these simple substitution tricks.
- Craving cookies? Try substituting a banana with peanut butter.
- Want that bag of potato chips? Try a handful of almonds instead.
- Do you like crackers and cheese? Try skipping the crackers and opting for a low-fat cheese.
- Do you like foods that crunch? Snack on baby carrots.
- Are you a chocoholic? Try replacing some of your chocolate with dried fruit like dates or raisins.
Resolution #4: Improve your sleep
Many of us do not get enough sleep, and do not get good sleep. Improving your “sleep hygiene” can do more than help you feel rested. It can also improve your energy level, brighten your mood, and even help curb the desire for unhealthy foods. Try these sleep-improving tips:
- Establish a nighttime routine that is relaxing.
- Try not to think about stressful thoughts or have troubling conversations before bedtime.
- Create a sleep-friendly atmosphere in your room, with soft lighting, dark curtains, and remove clutter if possible.
- Avoid napping during the day if it disturbs your night sleep.
- Don’t have caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime.
- Don’t eat large meals right before bedtime.
- Turn off TVs, laptops, tablets, and cell phones at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This helps to calm your mind.
Resolution #5: Get your annual checkup
This may be the easiest resolution of all, because it just takes a simple phone call. Call your primary care physician, and schedule a yearly physical. Even if you feel in good health, it’s a good idea to get a physical, in case you are experiencing any hidden disorders that need to be treated, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Women, don’t forget to call your gynecologist for your yearly appointment. Yearly appointments typically look at the following health measures:
- Examination of your head and neck, chest, abdomen, nerves, extremities, and skin
- Blood pressure, weight, temperature, body mass index
- Blood test to measure cholesterol
- EKGs or other tests as prescribed
Resolution #6: Incorporate at stress buster into your day
Stress is a factor that can negatively impact your health in many ways. Are you under too much stress? If so, pick at least one stress-busting technique to add into your everyday routine:
- When feeling overwhelmed take three slow, deep breaths.
- Step outdoors for a few minutes of fresh air.
- Check your posture. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension.
- Set aside 10-15 minutes for “me” time to read a book or listen to music.
These tips were provided by the Harris School of Business. Specializing in career-focused education, the Harris School prepares adults for careers in the fields of healthcare, and allied health. For more information, contact us online, and we will be happy to answer your questions. Happy New Year!