Ditch those pie-in-the-sky New Year’s resolutions you make every year. With these doctor- and nutritionist-approved goals, you can be healthier and happier in the new year.
Disclaimer: [Eat more] of the right foods! “We’re big fans of goals that start with ‘eat more’,” says Lauren Slayton, RD, director of FoodTrainers, a New York City-based nutrition counseling service. For example, resolve to fit in more probiotic foods, like miso, apple cider vinegar, and yogurt (not to mention the 13 probiotic foods everyone needs in their diet) to improve your mood and cut cravings.
Go to sleep a bit earlier
If vowing to get eight hours of sleep every night is totally unrealistic, tell yourself you’ll go to bed 15 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. “Keep shifting that number earlier and earlier, rather than vowing, ‘I usually go to bed at midnight, now I’m going to bed at 10,” says Roshini Raj, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and co-founder of the skin care company TULA.
Clean your mind daily
Clutterbugs, this one’s for you. Instead of telling yourself you’ll be more organized this year (as you’ve vowed last year and many years before that), try meditating once a day. “When people are stressed, hurried, anxious, or depressed, they don’t want to keep their place clean,” says Sherry Blair, PhD, a positive psychology expert and University of Southern California adjunct instructor. “Mindfulness will help center you.”
Take steps to lose weight
Really, take more steps. “Instead of just worrying about working out during the week, I want my clients to turn their focus to accumulating more steps during their day-to-day activities,” says Shannon Fable, director of exercise programming at Anytime Fitness.
Define every day
Pick a new word to live by each month—we’re not talking about the new words recently added to the dictionary, but positive ones like “friendly” or “wholesome”—and apply it to your daily actions. Introduce yourself to that new neighbor, or swap your favorite fast food joint for a juice bar once a week.
For cigarette quitters, splurge on something nice
The catch: You can only use money you save from not smoking. “Smoking increases your risk for every disease out there, from heart disease to cancer,” says Leana Wen, MD, an emergency physician at George Washington University and coauthor of When Doctors Don’t Listen:
Journal your favorite things
Instead of resolving to simply “be happier” this year, write down what you’re thankful for each morning. “No matter how challenging life is at that moment, take time, even if it’s in bed, to remember everything you do have,” says Nardini. “This will help you have more joy in your life.”