New Year's resolutions are hard. They're supposed to focus on things that will make you better, right? Or things that you always wanted to do, but never found the time to actually do. Sometimes it seems like every single person's New Year's resolution is to lose weight. But there are many small steps you can take to make a healthier you without trying to commit to significantly dropping pounds. In fact, it's possible to make healthy New Year's resolutions that have nothing to do with losing weight.
From cutting out the negative self-talk to practicing more self-care, there are tons of choices when it comes to resolutions that have nothing to do with weight loss. After all, "healthy" doesn't immediately mean "lose weight." Not to mention, making a resolution simply to lose weight is vague. Did you keep your resolution after losing one pound? Or, if you're thinking about a more substantial amount, how do you get to where you want to go? Behavioral psychologist Dr. Paul Marciano told Forbes that making specific, measurable goals is the best way to make sure that you're one of the few that actually keeps your resolutions. Here are 15 healthy resolutions that you can make this year that aren't about weight loss.
1. Reconnect With Friends
Fire up Facebook, send snail mail, or pick up the phone. University of Texas researchers found that social bonds and relationships can positively impact your physical and mental health, as well as the establishment of healthy habits and living longer.
2. Cut Out Negative Self-Talk
Look, everyone does it sometimes, but why be meaner to yourself than you would be to other people? It gets you down and makes you feel worse, not better, about yourself. Also, neuroscientist Dr. Branch Coslett told NPRthat self-talk is often skewed, meaning you're harder on yourself than necessary.
3. Get More Sleep
A third of American adults don't get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sleep helps improve memory, your ability to learn, your metabolism, your overall health, and more, Dr. David Rapoport told Health. So resolve to go to bed earlier at night or, if you must, hit the snooze button in the morning.
4. Work On Your Posture
Sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer all day can wreak havoc on your posture. Poor posture can cause pain, misalignment of bones and joints, and, possibly, arthritis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Resolve to work on your posture through yoga or other stretching.
5. Make A Doctor's Appointment
Who knows someone who hasn't been to the doctor since they were a kid or were sick? Though some doctors question the necessity of going every year, the CDC noted that check-ups catch any potential problems early, which improves your predicted health outcome.
6. Eat Breakfast
Busy mornings mean that sometimes the most important meal of the day is the most skipped, but resolve to make time to eat breakfast daily. People who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight and to grab unhealthy snacks later in the day, according to Rush University Medical Center. Try whipping something up the night before, or simply grab a banana as you head out the door.
7. Give Up Perfectionism
Ditch that stroke of perfectionism in favor of what the University of Texas Counseling and Medical Health Center calls "healthy striving." The difference between the two is that healthy striving results in happily trying to achieve, while perfectionism leaves people feeling dejected and full of self-doubt if they don't meet their goals.
8. Get More Exercise
You know it's important to exercises, but it's not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and you'll be more likely to stick with it, Dr. Michelle Segar told Self. If running isn't for you, try something else.
9. Wear Sunscreen
Even if you're not hitting the sand and surf, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, if you're going outside, put on sunscreen. As you well know, sunburns can cause skin cancer as well as signs of early aging, such as wrinkles. Lather on the sunblock and don't forget to reapply.
10. Drink More Water
Drinking more water is an easy resolution to put into practice. According to the CDC, water helps protect your joints, spinal cord, and other tissues, regulate your temperature, and eliminate waste. It also helps boost your mood and reenergize you, according to Greatist.
11. Say No
I have a hard time saying no, partially because I never want to let anyone down. But then sometimes overwhelm myself. If you're the same way, consider working on saying no more in the new year. Saying no doesn't mean you're being selfish or unhelpful, as the Mayo Clinic pointed out, saying no can actually include people who may have been left out if you had said yes.
12. Help Other People
Set aside some time to volunteer. Physcologist Dr Peter Kanaris told Health that volunteering can increase your happiness. Additionally, Columbia University researchers found that if you're happy, you may be less likely to develop heart disease. Bonus.
13. Be Present
Living mindfully not only let's you soak up each and every moment, but, according to the National Institutes of Health, being more mindful may boost your memory, reduce anxiety and depression, lead to better self-esteem, allow for better coping, and fight stress. Mindfulness for the win.
14. Learn Something New
Learning new things sometimes means stepping outside of your comfort zone. Whether it's going somewhere new or doing something you've never done before, let's face it: learning can be scary. But discovering a new hobby might help improve brain health, according to NPR. Bring a friend to make trying something new less scary and more fun.
15. Drink Less
Though there are potentially some health benefits to alcohol, overall, drinking less isn't a bad thing. According to T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard, too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, such as breast cancer. It can also increase your risk for liver disease or heart disease, if you've had a heart attack, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Less drinking means lowering these risks. A resolution to drink less will save you a little money, too. Win-win.