10 healthy habits for the new year

new year healthier youI make New Year’s resolutions every year, but rarely keep them. This year, I plan to focus on establishing healthy habits. I am continuing on the path to creating a more balanced life.

Choosing healthier habits for the new year can be easy and rewarding. Here are 10 healthy habits that we can start right now:

Get moving
I have good intentions to exercise every day. Then, I climb in bed at night without fitting in any real exercise, unless you count climbing in and out of the car and up and down the stairs to do laundry. I think my problem is that I feel I should plan and structure my exercise. In reality, I just need to go do it. When I have a few spare minutes, I need to go for a walk, turn on the radio and dance or play tag with my kids.

It’s important to make exercise part of your daily routine. When you make exercising a habit, it simply becomes as vital to you as eating and sleeping. The only way to make it a habit is to get moving and just do it.

Sleep more
I need to get more sleep. I like to stay up late, but then it takes me a while to get going in the morning. I tend to feel sluggish all day. I plan to go to bed earlier in the new year and strive for at least eight hours of sleep. In addition to improving your concentration and mood, getting enough sleep has many health benefits.

Drink water
We have talked about the health benefits of drinking water in the past. Water allows your body to flush out toxins and deliver vital nutrients to your cells. Women need about 9 cups of water a day and men should get 13 cups a day. Make it a goal to drink a cup of water every hour from breakfast to dinner.

Cut back on sugar and caffeine
It may seem contradictory, but cutting back on sugar can actually increase your energy levels. You are able to minimize the highs and lows that sweet treats can cause. Most of us are already over-stimulated by the stresses of everyday life – adding in caffeine just makes us more jittery and on edge. You will find more balance and maintain a level mood by keeping sugar and caffeine to a minimum.

Set a budget
I have a hard time sticking to a budget. We live in a world of instant gratification. You want it – you go buy it. However, it can be more satisfying to save money and live on a budget. You can reward yourself with larger purchases once you have achieved your goals of paying off credit cards, saving for a vacation, or planning for college educations or retirement. You can reduce your stress levels and feel more balanced when you live within a budget.

Eat your vegetables
I admit it – I do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. I need to change my habit of grabbing packaged foods and choose to eat more healthy options. Veggies give you many of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to work properly and fight infections. They can help protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer and many more illnesses. Try to work a rainbow of vegetables into your diet.

Reconnect with friends
I get so caught up in work, taking care of my kids and doing chores that I forget to make time for my friends. We need our friends for better health. In fact, our friends may help us live longer. Make it a habit to spend time with your friends and improve your health!

Get organized
Clutter is a part of modern life. We simply tend to collect a lot of stuff. Your clutter can bring you down, though. Make it a goal to declutter your living space in 2014 and get in the habit of keeping it that way. Reorganize your living room for better use and flow. Clean out your kitchen cabinets and get rid of things that aren’t good for you, including processed foods containing white flours, sugar and unhealthy oils.

Volunteer
I tend to think I’m in control of my own happiness. However, I have learned that our happiness also increases when we help others. Being happy is good for your health. Plan to find new ways to give back to others in the new year. We need to broaden our horizons and recognize the need to help others.

Make “you” time
Don’t forget to make time for you. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and chaos of life and forget to take time for yourself. I realized recently that there is very little I do just because I want to do it. I work, take care of my family and run a household. I am making it a goal to find something that I find rewarding.

What healthy habits would you like to develop in 2014? What tips do you have for sticking with your healthy goals?

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