Having a healthy year begins with setting healthy New Year’s resolutions. Even if you’re not the goal-setting type, having a year of health ideas for inspiration can help you stay on track all year long. Instead of setting vague goals like “losing weight”, get specific with the ways you’ll stay healthy this year.
Read on for realistic goals, including inspirational ideas for each month of the year.
A Year Of Health Ideas
It’s easy for New Year’s resolutions to fizzle out once the calendar flips over to February. In contrast, sustainable lifestyle changes can last year after year. This year, you can empower yourself by choosing to make meaningful changes each month of the year.
Here are 12 ideas for thoughtful lifestyle changes, including ways to stay healthier beyond weight loss.
Moderating alcohol intake is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. There are several opportunities to drink during the holidays, so many people take part in “Dry January.” During the month of January, try abstaining from alcohol as a sort of “detox” for the body and mind.
Researchers have found that this practice may have many health benefits, including:
- Enhancing the capacity to refuse alcohol
- Increasing well-being and self-efficacy
- Reducing problematic drinking
Pay It Forward February
February is the perfect time to share the love! Participate in a “pay it forward” activity, such as setting up a Little Free Library. These library-sharing boxes are set up all over the world and allow anyone to take a book or leave a book.
Alternatively, you can help the people in your life and community feel loved and “pay it forward” through these activities:
- Babysit for a busy couple
- Holding the door open for people
- Leave a positive review online for a local business
- Participate in a blood drive
- Pay for the person in line behind you
Stress Management March
There are many benefits to lowering stress. From better sleep to improved weight loss, efforts to reduce stress can work wonders for the body. Some practical ways to take action during the month of March include:
- Connecting with your support system
- Introducing more meditative movement into your life (i.e. walking)
- Relaxing your muscles and releasing tension
- Trying deep breathing
“Awareness” has been a buzzword in recent years. In terms of well-being, awareness means being well-informed about your health. April starts the second quarter of the year, and it is a perfect time to take stock of your health for the year (so far).
During the month of April, choose to become more aware of your risk factors. For example, does heart disease run in your family? You could also choose to take the first steps in a big change, such as finding out how to stop smoking.
Exercise More May
Losing weight can look different for everyone. However, most people could use a little more physical activity in their life. As the weather gets warmer in May, it’s a great time to get outdoors and get active.
Instead of obsessing over body weight, choose forms of exercise that excite you! The general recommendation is to get 30 minutes of exercise at least five times a week.
June is the halfway point of the year, and it is a perfect time to check in! One method used for self-discovery and increasing awareness is journaling. The benefits of journaling go beyond being able to see things written out. Other potential benefits include:
- Boosting health and well-being
- “Connecting the dots” between experiences
- Processing emotions
- Reducing stress
Just Around the Corner July
During the month of July, challenge yourself by just shopping local. For example, visit farmer’s markets for fresh fruits and vegetables (locally grown produce may even contain more vitamins and minerals).
For your other needs, support small shops in your area. This practice can boost business in the community. You can also celebrate “Christmas in July” by shopping early for unique gifts for your loved ones.
Take advantage of August by taking control of how you spend your time. “Time management” is just a fancy phrase people use to describe the systems that structure their time.
When you break down how many minutes each day you spend doing different activities, it can be illuminating. Most people find that the ways they are spending time don’t resonate with their long-term goals when they take a closer look. Luckily, effective time management is a learnable skill and can reduce the risk of burnout.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try a new habit for just a few days a week. For example, commit to read more instead of watching TV on odd days. Decide to make meals at home instead of eating out on even days. Starting with small shifts in behavior can lead to significant changes and achieving big goals over time.
Go green for September! Shopping sustainably can help contribute to health and wellness on a global scale, including:
- Creating safer workplaces
- Lowering the risk of environmental contaminants
- Promoting better production practices
- Reducing waste
Take an opportunity during October to do something you’ve been putting off. For example, finally sign up for that public speaking class to help you feel more confident. Plan that trip you’ve been dreaming of taking for years. There’s no better time than the present!
Did you know that giving to a good cause may actually have health benefits? Helping family and friends, neighbors, or strangers may provide a meaningful experience while increasing your well-being.
Giving back, volunteering, and donating to a local cause or charity can potentially:
- Boost physical and mental health
- Increase self-esteem and satisfaction
- Lower blood pressure
- Protect against depression
- Reduce stress levels
Daily Habit December
Why wait until the new year to start a life-changing habit? Over time, the activities you do daily can greatly affect your health (for better or worse). While the word “routine” may sound boring, daily habits can have powerful potential benefits, such as:
- Finding meaning in life
- Promoting physical health
- Supporting cognitive function
Get a headstart on your goals by beginning a daily habit for your health during the month of December.
Wrapping It Up On New Year’s Resolutions
When it comes to New Year’s goals, the more the merrier! Renewing your commitment to wellness with a new resolution each month can help you make realistic and sustainable changes. Plus, the benefits will last year-round (and maybe for years to come)!