If you don’t want to go on a restrictive diet and not allow yourself any treats, how about just making one change at a time? Maybe incorporate more fruit into your diet and trade it out for some of the sweets you usually eat. Or cut back on drinking. If you already go to a gym to work out, think of a way to spruce up your exercise routine. If you don’t have a fitness regimen, maybe start walking 15 or 20 minutes a day.
On the other hand, if you do want to try some more sweeping habit adjustments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some tips. Feel free to mix and match, adapt what you can and maybe leave room for improvement in 2019.
Make healthy food choices. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
Be active to improve overall health. Try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Consider mall walking if the weather is cold or icy. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week.
Be smoke-free. If you are ready to quit, call the West Virginia Tobacco Quitline at 1-877-966-8784, or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials and referrals to other resources where you live. Need inspiration? Check out these videos from the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign. You can also check out the West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention’s website. Historically a state with one of the highest percentages of adult smokers, West Virginia just saw that rate drop by four points, thanks in large part to former middle and high schoolers who never smoked and have aged into adult. Let’s keep that number dropping!
Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Adults should get at least seven hours of sleep each night, if not more. As you age into your 60s and beyond, eight or nine hours is even better.
Other options for self-improvement include taking a class or learning a new language. Or joining a book club. There are local and online options. You will learn new things, meet new people and make new connections.
Whatever you decide to do, resolve to make 2018 a healthy, happy and productive year. Happy New Year!