If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to, in general, be healthier, you’re probably looking for some healthy habits that you can build. Habits take time to build, but once you’re used to doing them, you’ll be set up to continue your health journey for this year and into the years beyond. Below are nine healthy habits that you can build this year.
1. Get Outside
Getting outside regardless of the weather is a great way to get some much needed fresh air and vitamin D. You don’t have to be exercising to get outside — you can sit outside on a bench or blanket when the weather is nice, or spend a few hours tending to a garden. If you’re spending time anywhere that’s less well-maintained, like a hiking trail through a wooded area, make sure to watch out for things that could put a damper on your fun, like poison ivy. 85% of Americans are allergic to the plant, so the odds are that you or someone you’re enjoying the outdoors with will be as well.
2. Set a Water Drinking Goal
One of the most cliche pieces of advice is that you should drink more water. There are different apps and websites that will calculate how much water you should be drinking, but you can also check with your doctor to find out what your goal should be. Buying a water bottle that you specifically can use for your water consumption can be very helpful in making sure that you hit your water goals. For example, if you want to drink 100 oz of water every day, you can use a 25 oz water bottle and make sure to drink it four times a day.
3. Work Up to 80/20
Many health experts will say that a good balance for nutrition is to eat healthy 80% of the time and to let yourself eat less healthy the other 20% of the time. This means that you don’t have to cut pizza or your Friday glass of wine out of your diet, you just won’t eat that way all the time. If you give yourself “permission” to eat unhealthy foods every once in a while, you can avoid the yo-yo diet that so many people get sucked into where they eat healthy for as long as they can and then binge eating less healthy foods. A lot of this has to do with your mindset about food.
4. Take a Daily Walk
Walking is a great way to get moving and to include exercise in your day. You can start with a ten-minute walk every day, and eventually, you can add more time to that walk (if your schedule allows for it). Even ten minutes of moving can help improve your overall physical health, especially if you have a more sedentary life.
5. Start a Bed Routine
Whether or not you struggle with getting enough sleep, having a bedtime routine can be very helpful. If you do the same exact thing every night, your body will begin to associate the routine with going to sleep, which will make falling asleep easier. You can make the routine very simple, like just washing your face and brushing your teeth before you lay down, or you can add in more steps, like journaling or reading. Make sure that you give yourself adequate time before you want to be asleep to do your routine.
6. Go To the Dentist
Dental health is an important part of your overall health. If you can’t think of the last time you visited the dentist, you’re in need of a checkup. In a perfect world, you should be getting a regular dental checkup every six months to ensure that your dental health is on track of where it should be. If you have issues with your dental health, it could indicate other issues with your overall health, so make sure to go to your regularly scheduled checkup.
7. Look For Alternative Pain Management Techniques
Pain management drugs, like oxycontin, have highly addictive properties that can lead to those that use them addicted. There are procedures in place to help prevent this from happening, it’s still possible to get over prescribed pain medication. For example, in Ohio, 63.5% of people were given opioid prescriptions as opposed to the nationwide average of 58.7% that needed pain prescriptions. If you know that you or someone in your family has struggled with opioid addiction or another kind of addiction in the past, you should talk with your doctor about other options.
8. Keep a Journal
Mental health is an important part of your overall health. Journaling can be a great way to sort through all of the emotions that you’re feeling on a day to day basis. Even just journaling for five to ten-minutes can really help you think through and process your day. If you’re having a hard time with anything, writing down all of your thoughts can help you see the problem more clearly and figure out possible solutions more easily.
9. Meal Plan + Prep
When you plan out your meals, it’s a lot easier to follow your plan that if you try to wing it. To avoid eating more takeout than you might need to, you should plan out your weekly meals and buy all of your groceries with those meals in mind. This will also help you avoid food waste since you know you’ll be using whatever you buy. In addition to meal planning, you should try to meal prep what you can at the start of the week. Making a large batch of something like salad dressing, rice, or a protein like chicken or beans can make your meals much quicker and easier than if you had to make everything when you’re already hungry.
Healthy habits do not form overnight, and you’ll need to put time and effort into forming and maintaining your healthy habits. Once you figure out how to make your healthy habits stick, you’ll feel better inside and out.
What healthy habits are you working on? What habits are you glad that you formed? Let us know in the comments.