The New Year is here! Many people use this time for both a spiritual renewal and a chance to reflect on their lifestyle choices. Whether it’s eating healthier or exercising more, writing specific goals in a journal, posting a sticky note on your refrigerator door, or sharing goals with friends and family will help you achieve them. Try to pick a couple easy things you can do each day that create healthier habits.

1. Eat a healthier diet

  • Try to make ½ your plate fruits and vegetables for lunch and dinner and start substituting more healthful choices.
  • A helpful goal can be to go halfway and making substitutions that add nutrition but do not affect taste as much. Try using half whole-wheat flour along with regular flour when baking, mash up cooked cauliflower with potatoes, mix lean turkey with ground beef and use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
  • Watch your portion sizes to lose or maintain weight. Choose a smaller plate, so you eat less.

2. Increase physical activity

  • This activity can be walking with friends, swimming, or lifting light weights during commercial breaks.
  • Try to improve upon where you are now. A good goal is to aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day for five days a week, but any increase is great for your health.
  • Crunched for time? Exercise for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes in the evening.

3. Manage your stress levels

  • Practice yoga, meditate, or go for a walk when you are feeling stressed.
  • Get more quality sleep. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to improve your health and well-being. This will help with stress as well as general health.
  • Smile more! Studies have shown smiling and laughter are contagious and helps relieve stress.

4. Spend more quality time with family, faith-based community and friends who will support your new year’s resolutions and enrich your life

  • Commit to going to your faith-based community a certain times a week or month
  • Schedule plans with your family and friends to do something active or make a healthy meal together

5. Maintain or take control of your health

  • Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination, or screening with your doctor.
  • Know your numbers and use your insurance benefits.

 

Let’s make 2016 a happy and healthy year!

 

(Tips compiled from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, and Anxiety and Depression Association of America)