New Year’s resolutions are a great idea, right? After all, there’s no better time to make some positive changes than at the beginning of a new year. Unfortunately, the practice has become a sort of a standing joke for many, with bets being made about how long an individual will actually be able to stick to their goals. It’s enough to make you want to give up on making resolutions altogether.
Here’s the thing. Most people have unrealistic expectations and no real plan when they make their resolutions. If you really want to make long-term, positive changes in your health, you need a detailed plan of action that you can actually stick to.
The experts at MBSF have put together a list of eight New Year’s resolutions that will help you achieve better health in 2020, along with some tips to help you make them stick!
1. Change the Way You Think
Many of us make the mistake of trying to adopt an all or nothing attitude when it comes to making changes in our diet and lifestyle. We want you to try a different approach this year. Instead of trying to change the big picture all at once, look at each small decision you make as a step in one direction or another.
For example, having a glass of water is a step in the right direction, while drinking a soda is a step in the wrong direction. By changing the way you think about each decision, you can take small, positive steps that will add up to huge improvements for your health.
2. Make Exercise Part of Your Routine
Most of us look at exercise as an add-on. It’s something we squeeze in when we have the time. This year, we recommend finding a way to make some form of exercise part of your everyday routine. For example, instead of riding the elevator to the third floor at work, take an extra minute and use the stairs instead.
Or, instead of leaning out of the car window to grab the mail on your way in, park the car and walk or jog to the mailbox for a little exercise. At work, walk to your co-worker’s office to deliver a message instead of just shooting them an email. You could even do a mini-workout right by your desk each day!
Once again, all of these small changes can add up to major benefits for your health, and none of them require setting aside a big block of time.
3. Make a Commitment to Self-Care
We understand how easy it is to get wrapped up in today’s busy and hectic lifestyle. Many of us forget to stop and take the time for our own self-care, and that’s not good for our mental or physical health. Try setting aside just 30 minutes in the morning before you start your daily routine.
Use that time just for you. Go for a walk, read a good book, or just sit and quietly enjoy your coffee. Starting each day with a little self-care and solitude can change your mental outlook for the entire day and help you manage your stress levels over the entire year.
4. Stop Following Fad Diets
For many of us, losing weight is at the very top of our list of New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, the plan usually involves following the latest fad diet. Not every fad diet is bad for you, but many of them are, and they’re generally not sustainable over a long period of time.
You are much better off going with a balanced, healthy diet that includes plenty of nutritious, whole foods and healthy fats. Avoid empty carbs and sugars and you’ll be on the right track to losing weight and improving your health for the long haul.
5. Switch to Cleaner Products
Over the past decade or so, cleaner products have become more readily available. This is mainly due to an interest in getting away from the toxic chemicals in personal care products and cleaners that are polluting our bodies and the environment. Making the switch to cleaner products is a great goal to work toward in 2020.
You don’t have to do it all at once. Try choosing one product each month and replacing it with a cleaner, healthier alternative. Or, when you run out of something, purchase a clean product to take its place. Once again, taking small steps will help you stick to the changes over time.
6. Move Away from Take-Out and Fast Food
Isn’t it interesting how most people want a nice, big kitchen with lots of counter space, but fewer and fewer people actually cook in them? When you resolve to move away from take-out and fast food to do more of your own cooking, you have so much more control over the quality of the food you are eating.
Not only do you get to choose the freshest ingredients, but you can also save money by shopping around for the best prices. You can also cut out sugar, empty carbs, and calories as much as you want. Cooking at home is good for your health and your budget!
7. Stop Depriving Yourself of the Foods You Love
When you deprive yourself of your favorite foods in an effort to lose weight, you’re just setting yourself up to fail. The all-or-nothing approach simply doesn’t work for most people. It often leads to unhealthy binges, followed by feelings of guilt and disappointment.
If the majority of your diet revolves around nutritious, whole foods it’s perfectly ok to have a treat once in a while, as long as you don’t overdo it. Have one cookie instead of three or four. You can also seek out healthier alternatives to your favorite foods, such as switching out frozen yogurt for ice cream.
8. Find a Workout Buddy
If one of your New Year’s resolutions in 2020 is to work out more, finding a workout buddy with similar goals will help you both stay accountable and committed to meeting those goals. Maybe you could hook up with your neighbor each night after dinner to go for a walk. Or, you might meet up with your co-worker at the gym before work in the morning. Be sure to choose a realistic goal and a buddy who will encourage your progress.
The beginning of a new year can be a great time to make some positive changes in your lifestyle, as long as you approach it the right way. Be sure to set goals that are realistic and obtainable. We also suggest choosing an encouraging close friend or family member to send weekly progress reports to. Many people find it easier to stick to their goals when they have someone to report back to.