As the year 2023 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the events of the past year and set new goals for a better, healthier new year. While resolutions are easy to make, they often fail within a few weeks as the excitement of the new year fades away.
Studies show that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions, but less than 10% are able to stick to them for longer than a few months. A common reason for failed resolutions is setting unrealistic goals. Setting achievable, specific, and measurable goals can help you stick to your resolutions. For example, if you want to reduce your alcohol consumption, don’t immediately quit, but set practical goals like limiting alcohol intake to once a week.
If your resolutions fail, it could also mean that you’re trying to change too many things at once. Changing habits like smoking or drinking takes time. Focus on achieving one goal at a time for a healthier new year. Once you succeed in making a change, you can move on to the next goal.
Here are some practical goals you can set for a healthy year in 2024:
Sleep well – Lack of sleep is associated with a range of health issues, including weight gain, heart disease, and depression. Sleep quality is influenced by factors such as screen time, room lighting, caffeine intake, and diet. Setting measurable goals, such as establishing a consistent bedtime and reducing caffeine intake, can contribute to better sleep.
Reduce prolonged sitting – A sedentary lifestyle with prolonged sitting can be detrimental to health. This new year, you can choose to sit less and walk more. Taking short, frequent breaks at the office can help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. Try to stand up or walk every 30 minutes, or conduct meetings while standing or walking to reduce sitting time. Using a standing desk for work and conducting walking or standing meetings can also help reduce sitting time.
Eat more whole foods – One way to improve your health is to ensure you’re getting the right nutrients from your diet. Make a commitment this new year to incorporate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains into your diet while reducing the consumption of processed foods and added sugars.
Engage in physical activity every day – Even if you’re unable to go to the gym or exercise regularly, make sure to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, such as cycling, swimming, or walking.
Limited screen time – Extended screen time is associated with issues like poor sleep, poor mental health, eye strain, and decreased productivity. However, abruptly stopping this could be impractical. The key is to limit the time spent in front of screens. Experts recommend limiting screen time outside of work to less than two hours per day.
Drink more water – Drinking enough water helps prevent dehydration, improve overall health, and address issues such as constipation and kidney stones. Simple measures like replacing sugary drinks with water during meals, carrying a water bottle to work, and refilling it throughout the day can ensure you’re getting enough water.
Quit smoking – Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide. Research shows that the human body experiences positive changes once you quit smoking. If you want to quit the habit in the new year, consider a gradual transition to a smoke-free life. Simple steps like delaying the first cigarette of the day, increasing the time between smoking sessions, avoiding smoking at night, and limiting smoking to specific areas can contribute to a gradual and successful quitting process.
Practice meditation – Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall mental well-being. Integrate at least 30 minutes of meditation into your daily routine to relax your body and mind.