There is nothing more refreshing and inspiring than a blank canvas, endless opportunities and brand-new potential. The start of a New Year often leaves us feeling inspired and motivated to set new goals. And more often than not, our goals involve improving our health in some way during upcoming year.
While it’s tempting to set massive goals and envision a year unlike any before, many people wind up giving up on those goals before the year is even underway.
However, improving your health doesn’t always have to involve making drastic changes.
Starting a few healthy habits this new year may be all it takes to revamp your health, improve your happiness and set yourself up for success.
These 9 simple healthy habits are the perfect way to start the New Year. Try implementing one or all of them to help improve your health and begin your most successful year yet.
9 Healthy Habits to Start this New Year
Regardless of your current fitness routine, getting in the habit of staying active and exercising daily is beneficial for everyone. Many athletes follow their training plan to a tee, but fail to get moving unless there is an activity scheduled, leaving multiple days of rest in a row.
Even on those rest and recovery days, it’s important to get your body moving. Creating a habit of daily exercise doesn’t mean you’ll need to hit the gym or head out for a long run on a daily basis. Save your hard workouts for their scheduled days, and try to fit in some lighter activities on off days.
Try taking your dog for a walk around the block or completing a quick yoga routine. Daily movement is a great way to promote recovery and keep your blood flowing. The New Year is an excellent time to create a habit of exercising every day.
Drinking more water.
If there was ever a magical, simple thing you could do to drastically improve your health, it would probably be drinking water. Staying hydrated with plenty of water each day is a great way to promote full body health in the New Year.
While many of us drink water each day, a shocking amount of adults are chronically dehydrated and have no idea. With so many soft drinks, fancy drinks and alcoholic drinks on the market to enhance our meals, many adults find themselves replacing water on a regular basis.
No matter how much liquid you are consuming each day, it’s hard to beat the health-boosting qualities of water. Regardless of how much water you currently consume, try to increase your intake in the New Year. Take a water bottle with you when you’re on the go, and make a point to drink regularly throughout the day.
Taking frequent breaks.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever sat down to work on something and suddenly realized that hours have passed since you last got up – I know I certainly have! It’s easy to get caught up in work or an activity that requires your focus and find yourself sitting for long stretches of time.
Whether you work a desk job or simply enjoy reading, painting, learning, or any other activities that keep you in a seat, don’t forget to take regular breaks. It’s important to get your legs and body moving at least once every hour.
Set an alarm on your phone, computer or watch, so you won’t be able to lose track of time and sit for hours. Get up and walk around your office, take the stairs in your house, or walk a lap around the building you are in. Getting moving for even just a minute or two every hour can really do wonders for your health.
Sitting (and standing) up straight.
With so many comfy desk chairs and couches available, it’s tempting to sit back and relax all day long. Whether you work from home or enjoy the luxury of a padded desk chair, it’s likely that you are probably slouching more often than not.
Sitting and standing up straight is a great habit to begin in the New Year. The best part about it – once you establish the habit of sitting up straight on any surface, you likely won’t have to put much effort into it again.
However, creating this habit often proves more difficult than we expect. Try sliding up to the edge of your chair to force yourself upright, and focus on maintaining healthy posture whenever you walk. It may take a bit of conscious effort, but improving your posture is a great way to kick start a healthy new year.
Getting outside regularly.
The start of a New Year means a few more months of winter for many of us. The winter months mean shorter hours of daylight, chillier temperatures, and an outdoor environment that feels less than appealing on most days.
Even so, despite the cold, dark air, the New Year is a great time to start the healthy habit of getting outside regularly. If you can get outdoors on a regular basis throughout the winter, think how easy it will be in the warmer months.
Getting outside each day, even for just a few minutes, can have a powerful effect on our health. The burst of fresh air and change in environment help us not just physically, but emotionally as well. Try to get outside during the warmer parts of the day, and if you can’t, bundle up and enjoy a short night walk after dinner.
Saving sugar for special treats.
One of the biggest culprits for ruining our health is something that we consume more often than we realize: sugar. While many of us realize that we should be saving candy and desserts for special treats, we often don’t realize just how many of our “normal” foods are packed with sugars as well.
A great healthy habit to start this New Year is becoming more aware of the sugar you are consuming, and limiting it to special treats. Try to avoid binge eating candy for a mid-afternoon snack and save it for those special holidays or treats after dinner.
Learn where sugar is hiding in some of your favorite condiments and ingredients, and try to replace them with healthier, more wholesome options. Replacing even just a few regular sugar indulgences is a simple way to really improve your health.
Related: 7 Ways to Break a Sugar Addiction
Most of us have become so used to pain that we don’t even notice it anymore. It’s sad when chronic aches and pains become part of our normal experience – especially when they don’t have to be.
A healthy way to alleviate minor aches and pains from day to day activities is to get in the habit of stretching every single day. Stretching can be as easy as sitting on your living room floor while you watch the news, or including it in your morning routine.
Taking the time to stretch for just a few minutes every day might help loosen those muscles and knots that have developed from poor posture, tension or stress. Just a few minutes every night will help improve your overall circulation and prevent buildup from the stress we all experience.
A morning routine.
What better way to improve your health than by improving the way you start your day? Creating a morning routine is an excellent healthy habit to start this New Year. A morning routine doesn’t have to involve anything extensive or even waking up before the sun.
Simply develop a routine of easy, healthy habits to start your day feeling productive and refreshed. These morning habits will help you start each day off on the right foot and set you up for continued productivity and success as the day progresses.
Morning routines don’t all have to be the same, either. While some like to exercise in the morning, others enjoy quiet time with their coffee and a good book. Or, perhaps your morning involves a bit of organization and planning to create a schedule for the day. No matter how you structure it, try to create a morning routine that sets you up for success and happiness each day.
Putting away technology before bed.
With so much technology right at our fingertips, it’s easy to get consumed with everything it has to offer. From endless television shows to scrolling away on our phones, staring at screens has become the activity that consumes most of our time.
However, it’s no secret that the light emitted from these screens can be dangerous in large quantities. Not to mention how much time we waste with mindless hours spent on social media or the internet.
Creating a healthy habit of putting the technology away well before heading to bed is a great way to help your mind wind down and prepare of a healthy night of sleep. Try putting your phone away half an hour before bed, turning off the television and reading at the end of the night, or simply not allowing screens in the bedroom.
These healthy habits are a great way to increase your quality of life as the New Year begins. With so many resolutions and goal setting activities taking place at the start of the year, there is a lot of pressure to set big goals and make things happen.
Luckily, these simple habits are easy to implement into any lifestyle, require very little time, and have the power to drastically change your life. Try starting one or all of these healthy habits this New Year!
More healthy New Year ideas:
- How to Set (and Achieve) a New Year’s Fitness Resolution
- 11 Things Healthy People Do Every Day
- 30 Ways to Improve Your Health and Fitness