A new year brings new goals, ambitions, and hopefully, healthier habits. You should always be striving to make healthier choices—and a new year is the perfect time to make those goals a reality. While they are still extremely important, healthy choices go beyond just eating well and exercising. Add these resolutions to your list to move toward being healthier and happier in 2022.
- Drink enough water. Recommended water intake varies person to person, with exercise, environment, and overall health being factors. Generally, it’s recommended that men drink about 15.5 cups of water a day, and women drink 11.5 cups of water per day. Keeping a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day, setting a reminder to drink every 30 minutes, and using this water tracker can help you make sure you’re drinking enough water.
- Eat more whole foods. This includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and healthy proteins like fish. Aim to eat five or more fruits and vegetables every day. Eating a whole-foods based diet can reduce heart disease risk factors, body weight, and blood sugar levels. Try these recipes to find healthier ways to eat classic meals.
- Don’t skip meals. Going more than five hours without eating can lower energy and lead to overeating later. Eating consistent, healthy meals and snacks helps your metabolism stay on track and reduces the likelihood of overeating. Keep snacks like fruit, yogurt, or nuts on hand for when you get hungry in between meals.
- Reduce screen time. Spending less than two hours per day in front of screens has been associated with higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Set screen time limits to help eliminate overuse. While working, take 15-minute breaks to step away from your computer and take a walk or simply recharge your mental battery.
- Dedicate time to self-care. Your physical and mental health are equally important. With work, family, and everything else we’re responsible for—it’s easy to get burnt out. Self-care can reduce stress and anxiety and boost your self-esteem. Take time to do things you enjoy like reading, meditating, yoga, taking a bath, or painting.
- Spend more time outside. Spending time in nature can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Taking a walk or hike, gardening, or simply enjoying the fresh air can help improve your overall well-being.
- Ditch sugary drinks. Consuming too much sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. Instead, choose water or low-fat milk. If you want a little extra flavor in your water, add fresh fruits and herbs like lemon and mint. This guide can help you make better beverage choices.
- Exercise daily. Getting regular physical activity helps prevent obesity, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, improve mental health, and more. Improving your exercise habits doesn’t mean committing to a five-mile run every day—small changes can make a big difference. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from your destination, or use a shovel instead of a snow blower during winter storms. Just 30 minutes of daily exercise can prevent 1 in 12 early deaths.
Doing what you can to improve your health is vital to your happiness and quality of life. By taking small steps to make—and stick to—healthier decisions in 2022, you can improve your overall well-being and start the year off right!