Many people think of the beginning of a new year as wiping the slate clean and making a fresh start. Once the new year begins, we start thinking about what things in life we want to change and may set New Year’s resolutions. It is common to hear people say, “I want to be healthier this year”. That is an awesome goal but what does being healthy really mean? How does a healthy person feel, think and act? What does the average person have to do to be healthy?
One of the most common goals for 2021 is to develop healthy habits. Whether these habits are to improve your physical, mental or emotional health, when you make these small changes a part of your routine they are more likely to be something you continue to do long term. Resolutions can sound really daunting, especially when they’re vague like “being healthier”. When you break down “healthy” and easy, manageable habits, the task becomes much more realistic to accomplish. Let’s go through some simple healthy habits to include in your daily routine to make for a healthier you in 2021!
- Drink enough water. Do you keep track of how much water you drink? Now is the time to start! We often think we are drinking enough water throughout the day, but in reality it is not nearly enough. Try starting your day with a cup of water right when you get out of bed and then drink steadily. On the days you work out, add a couple of extra cups for good measure. It takes practice to drink enough water but the effects are well worth it. You may notice more frequent bathroom breaks at first, but soon your body will adapt and go back to your regular schedule. Drinking water is so vital to your health, and you’ll be sure to notice the difference!
- Keep a gratitude journal. The power effects of practicing gratitude have been studied, you literally have the power to change your thoughts. Write down three things that you are grateful for at the end of my day. Some days the list could go on and on, other days it might be more of a stretch, but it is always doable. Focusing on happy thoughts can really turn your day around.
- Learn a new activity this year. Learning new behaviors and activities are a powerful way to create new pathways for your brain. The activity could be anything from taking a class (dance, cooking, art) or trying a new physical activity or sport (kickboxing, snowshoeing, rock climbing). Bring your partner or a friend along to make for an extra fun time! Or if you’d prefer to take a virtual class, there are so many fun options available!
- Get enough (and better) sleep. Everyone is different in the amount of sleep they need to get on a nightly basis; for many 8 hours is needed to feel good and rested the next day. We often find that we stay up late for no reason and think to ourselves “why didn’t I go to bed earlier?”. Try to set a routine to end all screen time and TV watching one hour prior to when you want to go to bed and slowly start to wind down for the night. Choose a conscious bedtime that will give you enough sleep until it becomes a pattern.
- Quality time with friends and family. Though things are a little different right now, maintaining relationships with the people you love is vital now more than ever! Sometimes we get so busy that we find that months can go by without talking to a close friend. Let’s change that right now! At least several times a month try reaching out to make a friend date, cooking a meal, meeting for a walk, going to a class the list could be endless. Even chatting with a friend or family member on a video call can help maintain your relationships, and let’s be honest, it just feels good to talk things out with your loved ones! Cultivating your friendships or relationships with the people you love will fill you up.
The list really could continue but this is a great place to start. When making your goals it’s important to make them fun and focus on what is important for you. Most important, find a way to hold yourself accountable. Diet, exercise, self-care are always ongoing things to work on and some days are easier than others. But making a commitment to subtly change things slowly makes these changes sustainable and creates new habits. We would love to hear what things you have chosen to work on this year. Comment below on what things are in the future for your year!