The new year often brings the promise of a fresh start and new beginnings, making it an optimal time to kickstart any self-improvement goals. But the fact is, more than half of all New Year’s resolutions fail, often for one of three reasons: It’s based on what someone else (or society) thinks you should change, it’s too vague, or you don’t have a realistic plan of attack.
So if you’re looking to recommit to your health and well-being this year, rather than say you’d like to “lose weight” or “eat better,” aim for something more specific with measurable results. See below for a few achievable suggestions that will work wonders for your health in the long run.
Drink Enough Water
Proper water consumption boasts numerous health benefits including boosting your metabolism, reducing bloat, combating digestion issues and ensuring proper kidney function. But how much is enough? The old adage says to drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day, but some experts suggest consuming half-an-ounce to an ounce of water per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs., 75-to-150 ounces of water per day can be beneficial to your health, more or less depending on your activity level. Another quick way to know if you’re drinking enough? The darker and more aromatic your urine, the more dehydrated you are.
Tips for Success: Drink an 8-oz. glass of water immediately upon waking up, carry an insulated sports bottle with you and refill as necessary, drink one glass of water before meals, swap a can of soda or cup of coffee with a glass of water.
Schedule Annual Wellness Visits
Many women skip seeing their primary care physician yearly, but it’s important to stay on top of things such as your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and any potential abnormalities. After all, you wouldn’t skip pediatrician visits for your children, so you should make your own health a priority, as well! The same goes for dental health (cleanings are suggested every six months) and visits to your OBGYN (cervical cancer screenings are suggested every three years).*
Tips for Success: If you don’t have one, look online for a primary care physician in your area or contact your insurance company for in-network suggestions. Once you have a referral, schedule (and keep) that appointment!
Practice Mindful Eating
It’s not uncommon for people to wolf down their food while gazing at the television or skimming through their smartphone — habits that can easily lead to overeating and consuming more of the wrong types of foods. But if you slow down and make an effort to savor and enjoy what you’re eating, not only are you liable to eat less, you’re more likely to pay attention to how the foods are making you feel, leading you to make better choices (or to at least appreciate that slice or two of pizza all the more).
Tips for Success: Pause to put down your utensil between bites, chew slowly and savor the flavors, enact a no smartphone rule at the dinner table, engage in conversation with those around you.
Get More Sleep
This is one resolution you should be happy to keep — get more sleep! Seriously. Seven to nine hours of shut eye is recommended for adults, and many are getting far less than that. And skimping on sleep can be related to a number of conditions including anxiety, depression, mood swings, slow motor function and even weight gain.
Tips for Success: Hit the hay an hour earlier, stop pressing snooze and set your alarm for when you actually need to wake up, make screen time off limits two hours before bed to ensure a higher quality night’s sleep.
Boost Your Activity Level
It doesn’t mean you have to immediately join CrossFit or sign up for a cycling class five days a week — simply boosting your physical activity in any capacity can have immense benefits for your energy level, mood and overall well-being. Consider doing something you enjoy that gets your body moving, even if it’s only two or three times a week — a dance class, a bike ride or a walk on one of our many beautiful beaches.
Tips for Success: Schedule your workouts or walks in your calendar, opt for an activity you enjoy, participate in an activity with a friend.
The best part for any one of these resolutions? If you fall off one day, you don’t have to give up entirely! Simply pick up where you left off, and try again.
*While general guidelines suggest Pap smears every three years, we recommend annual visits to BeachesOBGYN in many cases, as we are the primary care provider for many of our patients.