It’s resolution time, which means millions of people have a goal to live healthier in the coming year. While the intent is great, that resolution is bound to fail.
Goals (i.e. resolutions) need to be specific, measurable and attainable. It’s also best to focus on building good habits one at a time. The good news is following these best practices lowers the pressure.
Pick your top health bug-a-boo and resolve to make a small improvement. Write the goal down with a measurement that serves as a benchmark for success. For example, sleep 20 more minutes a night. The twenty-minute stipulation gives you a clear goal to work towards.
Once you hit that goal start on another one. Below are a few suggestions based on some of the biggest health issues facing American adults today.
Too many people are chronically sleep deprived. For adults that means getting less than seven hours of sleep a night on a regular basis. While this is normal for a parent with young children, in general, chronic sleep deprivation is a preventable problem.
Sleep environment is important for everyone. One of the best things you can do to improve sleep environment is get a supportive mattress. For young children, it’s also a matter of safety. Mattress specialists like Moonlight Slumber offer premium mattresses for babies and toddlers so even the littlest ones in the family get a great night’s sleep.
Inadequate sleep can affect attention, mood, coordination and more. Check out the sleep recommendations for people of all ages to make sure your family is getting enough restful shut-eye.
Drink More Water
At this moment there’s a good chance you’re slightly dehydrated. Research suggests an astounding 75% of American adults don’t drink the recommended amount of water. We’re chronically dehydrated.
Failing to chug down enough H2O can create a number of problems from pain to high blood pressure. Simply setting a goal to drink one glass of water a day could put you in the 25% of Americans that are well hydrated. Go even smaller and make getting a reusable water bottle your first goal. It will serve as a reminder to drink up.
Hitting the recommended daily liquid intake (11 cups for women and 15 cups for men) can come from a variety of foods and beverages, but water is the healthiest option. And watch out for caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. They can exasperate dehydration.
Americans are slowly becoming a nation of sitters. Blame it on technology if you want, but we’re in full control of our activity level. It’s up to us to get up on our feet more if we’re on our butts all day.
Have a young child? Do body weight exercises at home. You can even hold a baby for extra resistance and skip the weights. Hitting a walking trail outdoors is also a great form of family exercise.
Work a nine-to-five? Take regular breaks at work to stretch your legs. It’s good for your health and productivity. Try to get a five-minute walk in a few hours after the start of the day, at lunch and in the afternoon when your energy levels are starting to wane.
Eat More Plant Proteins
We’re just now starting to realize the consequences of a meat-heavy diet. It’s not just bad for our own health, it’s bad for the environment.
The solution? Eat more plant proteins. People in blue zones where life expectancy is higher tend to eat a lot of nuts, beans, and fish as protein sources rather than meat. Replace meats with nuts and beans just one day a week and it can have a significant impact. Joining the Meatless Mondays movement can help you consume essential nutrients, produce less carbon emissions and boost heart health. Plus, you’d be surprised how tasty a plant protein entree can be.
The goals above prove that you don’t have to do less to live healthier. By doing more of the right things you can improve mental, emotional and physical health.