All the data says New Year’s resolutions are an exercise in futility—that the overwhelming majority of them are unsuccessful and the people who make them are only setting themselves up for failure. That may be true, but a new year is a great time to make changes nonetheless. It feels like a fresh start, a chance to do better. Health changes in particular are wildly popular, and with good reason.
Though major “resolutions” may be unsuccessful, focusing on simple, actionable habits may be the key to lasting changes. In other words, instead of resolving to “lose weight”, you could try: drinking 8 glasses of water each day, working out 4 days a week, or eating out only once per week. Clear and realistic goals are far more attainable than those vague ones we commonly see as resolutions.
If you’re in the market for serious health changes this year, consider adopting these 5 simple changes:
- 1. Shop at the Local Farmer’s Market - Buying locally doesn’t only mean you get fresher produce, it means you are eating in-season and developing a relationship with the growers in your area. Choose one day each week to go to the market and use it not only as a shopping time, but a socialization time. Buying your food directly from your farmer is second only to growing it yourself.
- 2. Buy Fewer Boxes and Cans - Processed foods are the bane of a healthy lifestyle. Stick to the outer aisles when you are in the grocery store and avoid those things you can make yourself. Buying a box of “mac and cheese” may be simple, but it is far less healthy than making your own. Not only are processed foods loaded with unknown and often-dangerous ingredients, they don’t taste nearly as good as the stuff you make yourself.
- 3. Pop Fewer Pills - We are a society that loves a quick fix, but this has resulted in Big Pharma getting their pockets lined with every sniffle, sneeze, and cough. Instead of calling your doctor or visiting the drug store every time you feel like you may be coming down with something, research herbal and natural options. Here are 8 natural antibiotics and 9 amazing healing herbs to help replace the pharmaceuticals for good.
- 4. Hydrate - Drink more water. If you currently drink 2 glasses a day, aim for 4. If you drink 4, aim for 6. Even mild dehydration can wreak havoc on your health, causing everything from headaches to fatigue and grumpiness.
- 5. Eat to Live - With everything you put in your body, ask whether it is serving your health or serving to hurt you. If we made this determination with each and every food, we’d all be healthier, and those who profit off of disease wouldn’t be so wealthy with our cash. Eat those foods that fight disease and promote a longer life. Choose natural, organic, whole foods. As for those foods known to cause heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer—leave those on the shelf.