Millions of people resolve to exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight every time a new year rolls around. Unfortunately, many of those folks fail to achieve their new-year-new-me goals because they overcomplicate achieving better health. Many people can find it difficult to be healthy as well.
What exactly does that mean? It means getting fitter and healthier isn’t rocket science — despite what the internet or a checkout aisle magazine cover might tell you. There’s no “secret” diet or “special” workout that’ll produce rapid, mind-blowing results.
Improving your overall well-being is a lot simpler. And the best part is it can be done by setting just a few easy-to-stick-to, straightforward health goals and staying as consistent as possible with them over time.
What kind of health goals are we getting at here? Read on to find out!
1. Eat More Whole Foods
This super-simple health goal might make the most significant difference in your overall health, and the best part is it’s super easy to do. You don’t necessarily have to cut out all processed foods from your diet (if you do, be prepared to deal with some terrible cravings that could lead to binge eating), but you should seriously consider cutting your consumption way down.
It’s totally fine to treat yourself now and then, but if you want to improve your health, aim to consume the most nutrient-dense foods you can to nourish and fuel your body properly. Processed, packaged foods are often high in calories and pretty devoid of quality nutrients, so while they certainly provide energy, that energy comes at the expense of solid nourishment.
Eating better and focusing on proper nutrition are vital to improving your health and metabolism. A healthy metabolism can help you burn fat and maintain your weight, help you sleep better, and make you feel better overall.
2. Move More
Every year, millions of folks hit the gym with unbridled gusto during the first few weeks of the year. And while that’s an excellent start, a large percentage of those folks never become regulars at the gym because they overdo their workouts, burn themselves out, and don’t remain consistent.
Rather than going harder than you’ve ever gone during the first week or two of January, try easing into a more active lifestyle. You don’t have to hit the gym five to six days a week when you’re just starting out, and even as you progress, you can hit the gym less often and still see results.
The key here is simply moving your body more. Walk more. When you’re sitting, get up and move around more often. Take the stairs more often. Do anything you can to increase the amount of movement you get in your day.
Although it may seem like you’ll only lose weight if you spend hours upon hours exercising each week, that’s simply not true. All of the movement you get adds up. And when you make an effort to move around more each day, you may be surprised at just how quickly you see results and how well you maintain the results you achieve. Plus, you can improve your heart health, which is essential to living a long, healthy life.
Check out these other health and fitness myths you should never believe.
3. Stay Hydrated Every Day
Our bodies are 60% water. Our brains are about 73% water, while our lungs are about 83% water. That’s a lot of water, and when you spend your day drinking coffee, soda, or other non-hydrating beverages, you’re not helping your body replenish the water it needs to function.
Not drinking enough water can cause problems, like increased chances of kidney stones, constipation, and urinary tract infections, to name a few. Plus, you can become dehydrated, which can cause problems with blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature.
The benefits of drinking enough water greatly outweigh the downsides. Drinking enough water can help:
Regulate body temperature
Keep joints lubricated
Deliver nutrients to cells
Keep organs functioning properly
Plus, if you have an intense workout regime, you need plenty of water before and after a workout to stay hydrated and help your muscles recover. Keep a refillable water bottle with you always, and do your best to drink an appropriate amount of water for your body each day.
4. Practice Mindful Eating
While watching what you put in your body is important, how you put food into your body is also essential. This means you should practice mindful eating. Slow down when you eat, and learn to savor your meals. Pay attention to the textures, flavors, and smells of your food. This practice can help prevent overeating and promote a healthier relationship with food.
A good practice is to set a timer for 20 minutes and try to finish your meal at the end of the timer. It’s not a race but rather a way to prolong the speed at which you eat. Don’t finish your meal before the 20 minutes is up.
5. Regular Health Check-Ins
If you don’t regularly check in with your doctor, 2024 is the perfect time to start. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctors or healthcare providers to help manage your body, help detect any potential issues early, and prevent complications.
If you haven’t been to the doctor in a while, request a complete blood check. These tests can check the current state of your body and identify areas where you can improve or change habits to be healthier.
6. Be Kind to Yourself When You Make Mistakes
If you want to get fitter and healthier without driving yourself nuts, give yourself a little grace. You don’t have to be perfect all the time — you're human, after all. If you miss the gym, forget to get more movement in your day, or slip up on your healthy eating goals, commit to getting back on track immediately, and then let it go.
Don’t fall into the well-I-already-screwed-up-so-I-might-well-just-keep-it-up mindset trap, as that can be a slippery slope. If you go there, you’ll likely end up punishing yourself for your mistakes by being extra rigid when you do get back on track, which will likely only lead to more falling off the wagon in the future.
Be flexible but committed, and you’ll enjoy steady and satisfying progress toward your goals.
7. Be Conscientious About Alcohol Consumption
If you drink alcohol, whether you’re just a social drinker or enjoy a nightly glass of vino or two, you should know that when it comes to improving your health, alcohol really won’t help.
Sure, wine may have some heart-healthy antioxidants, but alcohol in any form is more detrimental to your health than it is helpful. Plus, it contains seven empty calories per gram, and those calories do absolutely nothing to nourish your body or fuel your workouts.
If you drink regularly, those calories can quickly add up, too. Reducing your consumption might even help you release some weight, especially if you’re partial to sugary cocktails or high-alcohol brews.
8. Establish a Consistent Sleep-Wake Schedule
Getting enough quality, restful sleep is crucial for your overall well-being. Solid sleep helps regulate your hormones and metabolism, improve your cognitive and emotional health, and more. Getting the optimal amount of deep, restorative sleep can also slow the aging process and may even extend your lifespan by several years.
If you have trouble getting deep, restful sleep, an inconsistent sleep-wake schedule may be a big culprit behind your sparse snooze woes. But you can change that easily when you try to hit the sack and wake up at relatively the same time each day.
Ready to get more quality snooze time in your life? Then check out these tips on improving your sleep schedule! Try out nasal breathing if you tend to feel exhausted in the morning even though you thought you slept soundly all night.
Looking for Health Coaching in the Twin Cities?
Looking to work with a knowledgeable health coach who can help you stay accountable to your goals, handle your workout programming, and provide nutrition guidance? Look no further than our team at Envision Fitness!
We specialize in hybrid monthly health coaching plans, gym-based personal training, nutrition coaching, weight loss classes, athletic training, and group fitness classes. As a team, we’re super passionate about helping people transform not just their bodies but their entire lives, so if you’re ready to make a change for the better, we’d love to help you do it!
To learn more about our services or schedule a free consultation with our team, give us a call today at 952-444-2791 or contact us online, and we’ll get in touch to answer your questions!