I’ve never been a big New Year resolution person. This is partly because most of the time, you hear that people never stick to their resolutions. But I like the idea of starting fresh with the start of the year, and New Year resolutions are an opportunity to remind yourself of your goals. So this year, I’m going for it.
When I started to think about New Year resolution ideas, I had in mind three areas of focus: I want to make improvements in how I eat, how I move my body, and how I think.
But instead of making a major dietary change with extreme restrictions, vowing to run a marathon, or committing to ridding myself of stress completely, this year I am setting my intentions on making small, yet significant changes to my life that are realistic and manageable. And they have the potential to benefit my health and wellness tremendously.
My New Year resolution ideas
1. Sit less
This past year, the evidence that sitting is bad for you has grown substantially, with researchers continually coming up with very convincing reasons to get on your feet more. After learning that sitting too much can contribute to anxiety, high cholesterol and triglycerides, impaired blood vessel function, and even reduced life expectancy,[1-5] I’ve decided that sitting less, standing more, and even better, moving my body more, should be a major priority.
How I plan to sit less:
- I work at a computer all day, but I plan to work standing at my countertop (a makeshift standing desk) for a portion of each workday, and I will consider my options for purchasing a treadmill or biking desk.
- At least once an hour, I will get up and move around for at least five minutes. Tasks during that time could include chores, talking on the phone, having a discussion, or just taking a quick stroll outside.
- I will exercise midday during lunchtime, to break up my sitting time with physical activity.
- In the evenings, I will make an effort not to spend as much time doing seated activities, like watching TV. Instead, I’ll try to do more chores around the house or take walks around the neighborhood.
- On the weekends, I will prioritize activities that require getting on my feet and moving, like hikes.
2. Be more mindful
In such a fast-paced world, it can be difficult to remember to slow down and savor the moment. Mindfulness, the practice of being fully aware of your sensations, thoughts, and experiences in the present moment, is a really great strategy for reducing stress, improving mood, and keeping your body healthy.
Practicing mindfulness has been linked to improved immunity, lower levels of depression, reduced pain, and weight loss.[6-11] And that’s just the beginning of the list. Mindfulness can bring significant improvements to your physical health, mental health, and overall wellbeing, and its something I want to make a way of life.
How I plan to be more mindful:
- I will begin by doing some of these fun mindfulness exercises. Things like using a coloring book, taking a walk, or eating mindfully are simple ways to more fully understand what mindfulness looks like incorporated into day-to-day activities.
- My ultimate goal will be to incorporate a daily seated mindfulness meditation into my routine. I’ll start with as little as five minutes per day, and try to work up to 20 to 30 minute meditations.
3. Experiment with making fermented foods regularly
I love cooking and trying out new recipes, and one of my newest passions is making my own fermented foods at home. The process is ever changing, and I’m never quite sure how a new recipe will turn out; I enjoy experimenting with unique flavor combinations, new ingredients, and different processes to see what I can come up with.
What makes fermenting my own foods at home even better is knowing how good these foods are for my health. Full of healthy probiotics, fermented foods are good for digestion, enhance the immune system, help you metabolize fats, and fight depression, to name a few reasons.[12,13]
Making fermented foods is easier than it looks, and it is a lot of fun. Plus, having fermented foods on hand and home makes it easy to boost your probiotic intake and take advantage of the many health benefits of fermented foods.
How I plan to make fermented foods regularly:
- I’ll try to have one fermentation jar brewing on my kitchen counter at any given time. Some of my favorites are having an ongoing sourdough starter and making easy homemade sauerkraut.
- I’ll use my favorite fermentation book, get ideas for new recipes to try.
What will your resolutions be?
These three New Year resolutions are straightforward and easy to keep, and they’ll help me to reach, and maintain, better health and wellbeing. What will your resolutions be this year? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.