As the current year draws to a close, we inevitably start reflecting on the past 12 months and making plans for the following 12. This is human nature. We reflect on our goals, our accomplishments and begin thinking about what we can do to make the new year a better one.
Setting New Year’s resolutions is an important process because it tells us we know where we stand, we are aware of our shortcomings and we know what we have to do in order to improve ourselves and the quality of our lives. Setting goals will give us a sense of direction, will help us plan our course in the next year in a clear and coherent way and hold ourselves accountable. The key, of course, will be to set goals within our reach, goals we can actually achieve.
Take a look at our list of New Year’s resolutions for 2024 and see which ones are right for you.
When people think about exercise, they often neglect walking. And this should definitely change in 2024. Walking is a great form of exercise which, if done on a regular basis, can be truly beneficial to both our physical and mental health. Going for a walk each day can help us prevent heart disease, lose weight, keep diabetes under control, strengthen our bones, relieve stress, improve our mental wellbeing and even add years to our lives.
To make the most of your walking sessions, it’s advisable to record and monitor your physical activity. There’s no need to purchase an additional gadget, just download and install a free pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker. The app will track your steps, the distance walked, the calories burned and the active time and provide details for each hour, day, week and month of activity. You’ll also be able to set individual goals for various metrics to stay motivated.
Improve Your Diet
If you want to get or stay in shape, exercise alone is not enough. A healthy and balanced diet is also necessary. So what exactly should you do?
- Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day. According a Harvard study, five servings of fruits and veggies per day is the ideal number to reap all the health benefits.
- Eat more fish. Fish in general represents a great source of protein, while oily fish in particular, such as salmon, trout or sardines, is quite rich in healthy omega-3 fats.
- Eat less saturated fats (usually found in fatty meats, sausages, butter etc.) and avoid as much as possible foods and drinks high in sugar
- Make sure that you eat junk food in moderation, no more than once a week
Easier said than done, right? Indeed, quitting smoking is one of the most challenging resolutions one can set, but at the same time it is one of the most important, since it can be life-saving.
According to CDC, giving up tobacco can bring amazing health benefits at any age. No matter if you’ve been smoking for only a couple of years or you’re a life-long smoker, it’s never too late to stop. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of 12 types of cancer and of cardiovascular disease, lowers the risk of premature death, improves the quality of life and can increase your life expectancy by up to 10 years.
Drink Less Alcohol
Cutting back on alcohol is something you should definitely consider for the upcoming year. Nobody is saying to give it up entirely, after all having a glass of wine or a beer once in a while is allowed. But limiting the consumption of alcohol as much as possible is truly beneficial to your health.
Drinking a smaller amount or simply taking a break from drinking can decrease the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and liver disease and lead to weight loss. At the same time, it can ease symptoms of depression, boost your energy levels and aid you rest better at night.
Drink More Water
Do you actually know how much water you should drink? Well, according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the recommended daily fluid intake for men is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. This means that, depending on the rest of drinks and foods you consume, 4 to 6 cups of plain water may be enough.
Why do you need to make sure you’re drinking enough water each day? Well, simply because your body won’t function properly otherwise. Your cells, muscle tissues and vital organs need it. Among others, water can aid you eliminate bacteria through urination, improve digestion, prevent constipation and maintain a normal body temperature.
Improve Your Sleep
Getting the right amount of sleep each night (at least 7 hours for adults) is essential to your health. Sleeping enough lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease, prevents weight gain, boosts your immune system, improves brain function and relieves stress.
There are various things you can do to get a good night’s sleep. Among them:
- Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Be physically active each day; a 30-minute walk is enough.
- Avoid nicotine and coffee in the second part of the day.
- Avoid heavy meals and alcohol in the evening.
- Avoid the exposure to screens/monitors one hour before going to bed.
Keep Stress Under Control
Stress is unfortunately omnipresent. This is the “health epidemic of the 21st century”, as the World Health Organization named it. The bad news is that stress, if allowed to grow, can have a deep impact on our physical and mental health. The good news is that there are ways you can keep it under control. Here’s what you can do:
- Exercise on a regular basis. Walking, running, swimming or cycling will help your body release endorphins that boost your mood.
- Try relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, yoga or meditation can lower your stress levels and reduce anxiety.
- Find time for your hobbies. Engaging in an activity you enjoy will help you relax and take your mind off things that are stressing you out.
- Talking does help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to talk to someone close about your feelings and concerns.
Make Time for Family
We live busy lives. So busy that sometimes we forget to enjoy life. We focus so much on our careers, on getting things done, on multitasking that we neglect what truly matters: our families, our main source of love and support.
If you’ve done this in the past, if you’ve neglected your dear ones, it’s time to make a change. Make 2024 a family year! Dedicate more time for your loved ones, do more things together, travel to new places, experience something new and create memories. This will strengthen your bond and make your life more fulfilling.
In many situations we tend to focus on the bad, on the negative aspects of our lives, on what we don’t have and wish we had. We simply forget to be grateful for what we have. And it’s a pity.
Being appreciative of the positive things in our lives can aid us change of our perspective for the better, lift our spirits and remain patient and confident in the face of adversity. Research has shown that practicing gratitude for 15 minutes a day, five days a week has a tangible positive influence on our mental wellbeing.
Take a Break from Social Media
The benefits of social media are undeniable. You can connect with anyone at anytime, easily share what you want, find valuable information, build relationships and more.
But there are drawbacks as well. Being exposed to so much content, to fake news and even bullying can have a negative effect on your mental health and leave you feeling overwhelmed and unhappy and have a pessimistic view of life. This is why it’s best to just take a break from time to time. A weekly social media detox will do you good.