By Eryn Carter on December 18, 2019

Four Healthy Habits to Establish in the New Year

The new year is quickly approaching, and for most that means reflecting on the previous year and setting new goals. While any time of year is a great time to improve your health, January provides a fresh start to establish healthy habits. While most health-focused resolutions are set on using the gym membership more or eating less dessert, establishing small changes that are proactive toward improving overall health are more likely to stick through the remaining 11 months of the year. Here are four resolutions that will serve as a catalyst to the rest of your health goals.

Create purposeful movement

Challenge yourself to exercise throughout the day by incorporating extra steps where you can. This can be done by parking in a spot furthest away from the building, using the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to a local lunch or coffee spot instead of ordering in, or by walking to the bathroom on the second floor of your house. By adding in this extra movement into your routine, you increase the total amount of exercise you complete for the day.

Make mealtime intentional

How often have you eaten breakfast in your car on the way to work, stood at your counter eating lunch while answering emails, or completely missed lunch due to a hectic day? Try to set aside 15-20 minutes to eat meals in a setting that is undistracted and relaxed. Establishing meal periods that are focused will help you recognize hunger and fullness cues more easily and can help you enjoy and feel satisfied which can help avoid unnecessary snacking later.

Eat more whole foods

When foods are processed, their vitamin, mineral and fiber contents can be altered or destroyed. Eating foods in the most unprocessed, whole form means consuming them as close to their natural state as possible. This can include making a lunch bowl from quinoa, roasted vegetables, almonds and ground beef, turkey or baked chicken. A whole food breakfast can be comprised of eggs with avocado and chopped vegetables with a side of fruit.

Stay well rested

The amount of sleep needed to be fully rested varies from person to person. Recognizing your individual sleeping needs and honoring this is important for not only your overall health, but also to help you accomplish your other health goals. When you are well rested, you are more likely to have energy to make a trip to the gym or prepare your meals instead of picking up from a restaurant. Try to establish a night-time routine that is relaxing and free of distraction.

When setting healthy habits for the new year, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make these goals achievable and realistic. Plan the steps necessary to achieve your health goals and prepare the action you will take each day to achieve them. Taking action each day is what turns small steps into big leaps and creates consistency long term.

  • Eryn Carter

    Eryn Carter

    Eryn is a Kansas raised Registered Dietitian who is passionate about food from farm to table. She believes nutrition begins at the root and values agriculture for aiding the public in having a well-balanced diet.