For many, the new year marks an opportunity to reflect on the past year and start fresh. We make New Year’s resolutions to change for the better, whether that be getting in shape, eating healthier, saving money, or getting organized. However, sometimes we make resolutions we cannot keep up with. Say goodbye to unrealistic goals and the pressure that comes with them! Let’s embrace setting attainable resolutions that make room for healthier habits for 2024 and beyond.
Goal: Eat a Healthy Diet
Fueling your body with healthy nutrients is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to help manage weight and improve overall health. Instead of trying an unrealistic fad diet, opt for slowly incorporating healthier options into your diet to develop life-long healthy eating habits. Not sure where to start? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, a healthy eating plan includes:¹
Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
Protein-rich foods like seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds
Low amounts of added sugar, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol
Staying within your daily calorie needs. Not sure what your daily calorie needs are? Try Mayo Clinic’s Calorie Calculator!
Goal: Improve Physical Health
Taking care of your body is one of the most important things you can do to be your healthiest self in 2024. Maintaining adequate physical activity, being proactive in your health, and getting a good night’s rest are all key to ensuring your body looks, feels, and works its best.
Physical activity benefits everyone. No matter your age, ability, race, ethnicity, shape, or size, physical activity can provide immediate health benefits like improved sleep, reduced stress, improved weight management, and lowered risks for many chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.²
According to the CDC, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate activity.² Not sure where to start? Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine like walking your dog, parking further away, or opting to take the stairs. You can also schedule time into your week to do physical activities you enjoy like going on a walk, dancing, swimming, or riding a bike.
Get Better Sleep
While sleep is vital for a person’s well-being, many of us struggle to fall asleep when our head hits the pillow or wake up without getting any quality sleep. This struggle can leave us feeling tired during the day and lead to physical and mental health problems; chronic health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity; and interfere with daily functions.³ Not sure how you can start implementing better sleep in 2024? Try the following:
Wake up at the same time every day. Being consistent reinforces the body’s sleep-wake cycle, and waking up at different times every day will throw off that cycle.⁴
Get enough sleep. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-8 hours per night. Allow for that time in your sleep schedule by going to bed early enough to still wake up at your chosen wake-up time.⁴
Ease into your target sleep schedule. If you are making larger changes to your sleep schedule, make small adjustments over time. This will help your sleep schedule be more sustainable in the long run.
Improving overall physical health is easier when you feel your best. Prevent disease and falling ill by staying proactive with your health.
Go to your annual check-ups. Scheduling an annual exam with your doctor and screening for diseases can help you find problems early when your chances for treatment are better.
Stay up to date on vaccinations. Vaccines not only protect you from preventable diseases—they keep your community safe, too! There is no appointment necessary to get vaccinated at University Pharmacy, click here for to find our address and hours.
Wash your hands. Say no to pesky germs and prevent the spread of infection and illness by washing your hands frequently. Remember: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry!
Review your medications. Whether your regimen includes a short-term prescription or has multiple maintenance medications, making sense of it all can be challenging. Review your medications with your pharmacist to simplify your regimen, decrease side effects, check for drug interactions, and more.
Goal: Improve Mental Health
Mental illness is among the most common health concerns in the United States affecting more than 1 in 5 adults and over 1 in 5 youth and it can affect your overall well-being.⁵ Take better care of your mental health and boost your mood in 2024 by investing in self-care:
Manage stress by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and practicing mindfulness activities like yoga.
Build healthy support systems by spending time with loved ones, participating in group activities, and participating in your community.
Make time for you. Whether it’s going for a walk or carving time out of your schedule to take a relaxing bath, take time to focus on you and only you.
Make Your Resolutions Stick
In 2024, we are embracing attainable resolutions that stick. No more unrealistic goals that we forget about by February. Sticking with New Year’s Resolutions is easier said than done, but still very possible. Try these tips in tricks to stick with your resolutions in 2024 and beyond:⁶
Set realistic goals. Start small. Setting a huge goal can be overwhelming, so try taking baby steps to start. For example, set a goal to lose 5 pounds instead of 30 pounds. You can always expand the goal later.
Plan for obstacles. Obstacles are often unavoidable, but you can overcome them. Don’t give up!
Track your progress. Hold yourself accountable by tracking your progress. Keep track in a journal or take photos of your progress. This will help you stay motivated.
Get help. Lean on your support system when times get tough.
Reward yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments when you achieve small goals or milestones. Splurge on a treat or something you have been wanting.
Keep things interesting. Doing the same things can get boring. Keep things interesting by changing up activities or expanding goals.
Healthy habits are not something we can only implement in the new year. Practice healthy habits all year long with changes that are attainable and sustainable for you. And don't forget that people are rooting for you and happy to offer you support.