Add these healthy habits to your New Year to start things off right!
2021 is practically here, and THANK GOODNESS! What a year it has been. While 2020 brought us the best thing to ever (and we wouldn’t change anything about that!), we’re excited to put 2020 behind us and move ahead!
One of my favorite things about the New Year is kickstarting new habits. You’ve probably already heard enough about everyone’s New Year’s resolutions, or maybe your only resolution is to survive 2021, and I don’t blame you! Or maybe you’re like me and don’t do resolutions at all. Even though I don’t do official resolutions, the new year always feels like a fresh start to resume healthy habits. Especially after the holidays when I don’t feel my absolute best even following my own advice to stay healthy during the holidays.
One thing is for certain, healthy habits do NOT just include being physically fit and active, but also the way we handle our emotions, finances, social life, etc. And I don’t look for quick fixes. Rather, I always pursue a healthy lifestyle that’s sustainable in the long run, not a strict diet or regimen.
So, this post will cover some ways to implement healthy habits as we start the New Year. Let’s get into it. And if you want more support with your healthy habits, join my Healthy Habits Lab!
Healthy Habits to Start in the New Year
One of the best ways to make sure other healthy habits stay on track is by getting enough hours of sleep at night. Sleep plays a vital role in our overall health. During sleep, our body restores, both physically and mentally. Sleeping helps support healthy brain function. Sleep also helps support children’s growth and development, among other important things. (source)
A few things I do to promote better sleep is to use a lavender spray (I’m not a big essential oils person, but I do LOVE lavender!), play white noise (Thomas uses it too so that helps!), have a cup of decaf tea, and journal at night to get my thoughts on paper instead of racing in my head. I also sometimes read before bed to try to quiet my mind. (If you prefer to diffuse, this is the one I have in my office.)
Thomas made sleep quite a challenge in 2020, but he has gotten much better over the last month. While I’ve learned that having a child means operating at a sleep deficit almost always, he’s 100% worth it. And I just try to sleep when I can! That involves going to bed earlier than I used to so I can sleep when he is. Now if I only he and I were better daytime nappers!
Drink more water
Another healthy habit that I bet we can ALL agree we need to work on is our water intake. The Mayo clinic advises that men should drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day, and women should drink about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day. This water bottle is MASSIVE, but one of these a day will get you to your goal.
Drinking water is essential to our overall health. If you can sleep well at night and drink the right amount of water, you’re already winning at the healthy-lifestyle game. And since I’m breastfeeding AND working out again, staying hydrated is even more important since both activities increase my water needs.
Practice a hobby
Doing something fun should be on everyone’s to-do list for this year. I want to keeping playing golf with Tommy and hopefully Thomas can come along sometimes too!! Choosing to unplug and hang out with Tommy always makes me so refreshed, which makes me a healthier and happier person, a better wife and a better mom. I’m usually content with 9 holes and two hours of outside time in a gorgeous setting is hard to beat.
Choose a hobby or activity that you really love or try a new one. And make it a priority to actually do it! And bonus points if it’s outside in the fresh air. Maybe this is hiking or bike riding, or even practicing an instrument you love. Spending time outdoors is proven to relieve stress and we’ll all be working on stress levels for a while. Thanks 2020.
Unplug from social media
This is a MUST for me in 2021. I love to interact with you all on Instagram and Facebook, but I won’t lie to you, sometimes it sky rockets my anxiety. I try to make a habit of logging out of the app or even deleting it at night so that I can stay present. Since my career is sharing my life online, it makes the balance hard, but I’m trying. It helps me to think about it as a work-day job that’s over (or mostly over) by 6 pm.
If social media stresses you out, make a habit of unplugging for an hour or two (or more!) a day. Or maybe unplug all day on Sunday. It’s hard to do, but so worth it. I promise you won’t miss it once you start focusing on the rest of your day or evening.
Focus on whole foods
I don’t believe in diets, but I DO believe in choosing healthy, whole foods. And rather than focusing on a set amount of weight to lose, focus first on adding more good for your foods. Increasing plants in your diet is a great way to do this!
For breakfast, make a green smoothie or try Daily Harvest. For lunch, make a big salad. And for dinner, try new vegetable side dishes. I love the veggie dishes in Run Fast Eat Slow and Lexi’s Clean Kitchen cookbook!
I love using my Instant Pot to make a big batch of brown rice or sweet potatoes to pair with dinner. And I always meal plan each week and shop at the beginning of the week with that plan in mind. It makes it easier to eat healthy when I know what I’ll be having for each meal throughout the week! If you need healthy recipe ideas, I have lots of easy ones for you!
How to Start a Healthy Habit
Don’t set the standard so high that you’ll inevitably be discouraged if you don’t meet it. That’s the quickest way to quit a good habit. Start by making your goal something broad, like spending more time with your family. Then create a few tangible things you can do consistently to make that happen. You won’t make every single one happen, but your goal was to spend more time together, and if do some of those tangible things, you’ve already met you goal.
If your goal is to run more in 2021, then start by getting a few running friends and scheduling a few runs a week. If you only make it to 1 or two of the runs, you’re still running! Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself is never a good way to feel inspired and empowered to meet your goals. If you want more support with running, join Get Your Run On!
Make a plan
If your goal is to eat healthier foods this year, figure out a way to realistically do that. For me, that means meal prepping and stocking the pantry well so I have healthy foods available when hunger strikes. If I know there is a whole food option easily accessbile, I’m much more likely to choose pre-chopped veggies or nuts when I need something quick vs. turning to cookies or chips! (Although sometimes I do choose those too! Balance is important!!)
Make one change at a time
Choose the most important goal for this year and then work towards that. If you set five big new year’s resolutions, you’re unlikely to keep any of them. Pick one thing to work on at a time. Start by sleeping more at night. Then focus on drinking the right ounces of water. Keystone habits like that will help you feel good, help you want to be active and help encourage you to eat cleaner foods. It’s a snowball effect. Small steps will help produce sustainable, long term healthy habits.
Getting motivated is the first step, and I have a few tips on how to do that in this post.
Write down your goals
Accountability can help so much! Simply writing your goals down can help create accountability. If you need more accountability with the support of others, enlist some friends to help! For example, if you want to run more this year, joining a running group is a great way to make sure that happens. A virtual one works great too! Having someone to help you with your goals helps you more likely to stick to them and it makes it more fun. And that’s the goal, right? We want to create habits we enjoy! Habits shouldn’t make you miserable… they’re not sustainable!
Recognize when you’re meeting your goals and celebrate it. Seriously! Every step in the right direction is amazing. Your pace is YOUR PACE! And remember that rewards can look like many things – a facial, a massage, a long bath, a new pair of running shoes, or some cute athleisure!
And besides health goals, let’s all agree that we can all set goals to be kinder, more considerate, and respectful of each other, no matter what comes. Bring on 2021!
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