As you prepare for the new year, reflect upon the past year and think about the steps you took to become healthier. The new year is the perfect time to find new ways to focus on your health. Your goals don’t have to be extravagant, maybe you want to maintain your current weight, or you want to eat healthier. Find something to focus on that works for you. Alisha Tuteja, MD, a family medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group shares tips on how to make health-focused new year’s goals.

Set Small and Trackable Goals

People tend to think New Year’s resolutions must be lifechanging. The likelihood of reaching a lifechanging goal is low because it is overwhelming. While you may have a larger goal in mind, break it down by setting smaller goals that help you work towards the overarching goal. Small goals are more manageable and tend to be easier to track. For instance, counting the number of days you work out or how many times a week you cook a healthy meal at home. “Avoid setting a deadline for seeing results,” says Dr. Tuteja. “This makes it harder to commit to a goal because it’s easy to give up when you aren’t seeing them as quickly as you wanted.”

Goals to Focus On

Finding ways to break down your overall goal can be difficult because you’re focused on the bigger picture. Look at the goal and find ways to help you meet it. This will make it more manageable and easier to work toward. Some goals that can assist you in becoming healthier include:

Moving More

Moving and staying active is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Go for ten-minute walks after each meal or a 30-minute walk during the day. Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Figure out what works for you and make it part of your routine. “Start by walking two to three times a week and then work your way up throughout the year until you’re able to walk five to seven days a week for a longer period,” explains Dr. Tuteja.

Eating Healthy

It can be hard to go on a diet and cut out foods you love and are used to eating. Instead of cutting them out completely, eat them less often. Eat fewer carbs and sugar and eat more protein, fruits and vegetables. Soon it will become a lifestyle and you’ll make the choices easier. It’s okay if you splurge one day, try to eat healthy again the next day. The key to success is everything in moderation.

Take Time for Yourself

We tend to find that twenty-four hours in a day is not long enough to check everything off the to-do list. Remember that it doesn’t all have to be completed in one day. Stepping away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life lets you have time to yourself to recharge and do things you enjoy. Whether that’s reading a book, watching a movie or playing a game with your kids.

Spend Less Time on Electronics

As a society, we have become reliant on our phones. We use them for everything. Unfortunately, we also forget to take time and enjoy life around us. By putting the phone, tablet or laptop down, we spend more time with family and friends and gain more time in our day to get things done and relax.

Going to Sleep Earlier

There are always going to be things to do, but sleep is important, so you don’t get sick and are well rested for the next day. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night allows our bodies to rest and recharge. Dr. Tuteja explains, “having a routine bedtime and waketime so your body can set its circadian rhythm, a regulated sleep-wake cycle, allows you to wake up each morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day.”

Alisha Tuteja, MD

Alisha Tuteja, MD

Alisha Tuteja, MD, is a family medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group in Rockville, MD.

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