At the start of every new year, we all make resolutions to improve our health and our daily lives. But often, in the hustle and bustle of the new year, we end up forgetting or neglecting our resolutions, and which makes our goals that much harder to accomplish. This year, why not break from that pattern, and choose resolutions that will have a big impact on your life without taking an enormous effort? Choosing high-impact goals that can make big changes quickly can help you stick to your resolutions. Here are five small goals we recommend you start with to improve your health this year!
Limit your sugar intake
Recent research suggests that sugar, more than fat, cholesterol or other food additives or ingredients, has an outsized impact on your health, impacting your weight, your mood, your likelihood of developing diabetes and your risk of heart disease. Lowering the amount of sugar in your diet can have a dramatic effect almost immediately, and it’s a quick way to reduce your calorie intake. At the very least, you should start being more aware of the sources of sugar in your diet, because it can show up in a lot of unexpected places.
Start exercising regularly
It’s time to get serious! As with sugar, much of the recent research on exercise has changed how people see it, and doctors say it’s more important than ever to get enough exercise on a regular basis. Regular exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and a host of other chronic conditions. Even though the recent research has refuted the idea that exercise alone can help you lose weight, the other benefits of exercise, like increased bone strength, better mood and reduced risk of chronic disease, are undeniable.
Know your numbers
Do you know your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers? Even if you don’t have a family history of these conditions, if you’re over the age of 30, you should start keeping track of your numbers to help you keep an eye on your health and detect changes as you age. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and prediabetes are easiest to manage when they are caught early, so keep an eye on your health by keeping track of these essential metrics.
Commit to your health
Many people, especially men, avoid doctors as if their lives depended on it. However, the single best way to stay on top of your health is to make regular visits a part of your yearly schedule. You might feel fine, but keeping up with your doctor visits is the best way to ensure that you remain healthy. Additionally, when you don’t feel fine, commit to seeing a health care professional that can help you feel better faster, and potentially help you avoid any dangerous situations. If you’re injured, sick or in some kind of pain, it’s time to head to your local urgent care center. An urgent care physician can also help you stay on top of important health benchmarks, like getting your annual flu shot, conveniently and with no appointment necessary.
Get some sleep
Another major risk factor for developing chronic disease is not getting enough sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep has been linked to the development of conditions that run the gamut from depression and other mood disorders to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. People that get enough sleep are better able to regulate their internal environment, including the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that keep the body functioning at an optimal level. For most adults, seven to nine hours of sleep is enough.
A New Year’s resolution is all about making changes to improve your life. Try out one or two of the above to start with, and see how they make your body feel.