Each New Year wipes the slate clean, so to speak. It’s another year, another chance to do things right… and, as we see it, another chance to take better care of ourselves overall. Just in case you haven’t already made your New Year’s resolutions—or if you don’t have enough already—these 20 easy (and realistic!) lifestyle tweaks are the perfect place to start. Here’s to your health in the New Year!
1. Drink more water.
We apologize if you’ve heard this one before, but drinking the right amount of water is critical to maintaining not just a healthy weight, but a healthier body overall, too.
2. Start small—try and get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least three times per week.
We all like to think that the start of the New Year will finally motivate us to go from never going to the gym to going to the gym five days a week. When you set your goals too high, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll end up disappointed in yourself for not living up to them. Start small instead, and work exercise and fitness into your daily life in a way that’s realistic, not aspirational.
3. Stand more, sit less.
This one’s easier than it sounds. With long workdays spent behind a computer screen, simply moving your body can become an afterthought. Consider investing in a standing desk—if that sounds like a pipe dream, then at least make an effort to get out from behind your desk and walk around the office every hour or so.
4. Regulate your sleeping habits.
Making an effort to get to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning will help to prevent you from getting overwhelmingly tired during the day. We know what 3 o’clock feels like.
5. Sleep more.
Or at least, don’t skimp on it. Sleep debt is real.
6. Commit to your skin care routine.
Cleanse daily, apply your moisturizer morning and night, and stop falling asleep with your makeup on. It may feel like an annoying task at the time, especially after a late night, but you’ll reap the benefits in the long run.
7. Always wear sunscreen.
Wearing SPF daily—yes, even throughout the winter—is inarguably the most important beauty rite, as it both fights the accelerated aging process and arms you in the battle against developing skin cancer. Tanning is overrated, anyway.
8. Quit your diet and practice mindful eating instead.
Time for a reality check. Of all the times you’ve been on a diet, how many have actually succeeded, and how many have failed? For most of us, the latter numbers come out way higher. In the New Year, we’ve shirking our trendy diets in favor of mindful eating habits.
9. Eat less sugar.
Well, if there’s one diet component you should ditch, it’s sugar—or at least minimize your intake of it. Added sugar contains absolutely no nutrients, is packed with calories, causes tooth decay, and more. Empty calories are just the tip of the iceberg with this one.
10. Eat more veggies.
It goes without saying, but vegetables are the foundation of any healthy diet. Don’t stress about taking things out of your diet, but rather adding things to it, like more salads or a green juice a day.
11. Eat “real food” as much as possible.
We’re all haunted by fast food, pre-packaged food, vending machine snacks, and so on. Filling your diet with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as much as possible is one of the easiest switches you can make.
12. Go food shopping.
Take-out meals are pretty much effortless in this day and age, but they’re not necessarily what’s best for our wallets… or our waistlines. Go food shopping for essentials instead, and try preparing a large, nutritious meal at the end of each weekend and saving the leftovers to eat throughout the week.
13. Find a workout you enjoy.
It could be anything—just do something that you like and that makes you break a sweat, whether it’s yoga, jogging, spinning, or even dancing. If you don’t enjoy it, you certainly won’t commit to it.
It’s so simple… and so hard to remember. Flossing actually accomplishes 40-percent of the cleansing needed to remove plaque from your teeth, so stop conveniently “forgetting” to do it. We love one-use flossers like Plackers Dental Flossers.
15. Quit smoking.
A no-brainer, yes, but there are plenty among us who still reach for the Marlboros regularly. Make 2015 the year that you ditch the seriously unhealthy habit once and for all. It isn’t 1965 anymore.
Like cigarettes, stress will kill you… and we’d venture to say that stress may be even more difficult a habit to quit. Whatever “de-stressing” means to you, do it. Take a long bath, read a book, or hell, even take a mental health day off from work once every few months to stay home and just chill. Do you.
17. Practice safe sex.
Sometimes the easiest healthy habits to commit to are the ones that we most frequently shirk. Unless you’re trying to get pregnant, there’s no reason to eschew the condom. It exists for a reason.
18. Take a probiotic.
Probiotics are key for maintaining optimal digestive health, and furthermore, they can help to ward off issues like yeast infections and a weakened immune system. Heck, it’s even being speculated that they can help to ease anxiety and depression.
19. Eat breakfast.
We don’t call it “the most important meal of the day” just for fun. A balanced breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day, and can help you to avoid those 11 AM munchies.
20. Go to the doctor.
Not just the doctor, but all of your doctors, regularly. Don’t skip yearly exams with practitioners like your gynecologist, dentist, and eye doctor, as well as your general practitioner, to make sure everything’s working as it should.
Read more: 20 Sneaky Ways to Eat Healthier