The promise of a new year makes many people create a list of resolutions they’d love to achieve, offering inspiration and hope for the year ahead. But when it comes to your overall well-being, what are some resolutions you can make to create a healthier lifestyle?

9 Healthy New Year's Resolution Ideas
Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis

Whether you want to embrace self-care to keep your mental health in balance or need to maintain an exercise routine to get fit, here are nine healthy New Year’s resolutions you can try in 2021.

1. Taking Better Care of Your Teeth

Maintaining your oral health is just as important as managing your weight or any other resolution. Healthy teeth and gums can prevent conditions like gum disease and bad breath and limit the risk of oral cancer and many other illnesses. So resolve to brush and floss regularly, keeping your teeth free of bacteria. If you want to achieve a brighter, cleaner-looking smile, invest in an at-home teeth whitening kit or touch up coffee and wine stains with a tooth stain eraser. Once you get into a better habit of brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly, you’ll get a healthy mouth in no time!

2. Eat Nutritious Whole Foods

Another easy way to improve your health is to resolve to eat more nutritious whole foods. Choose a more balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, and proteins–like nuts, seeds, and fish–to make your body feel as healthy as possible. When you change your diet to include whole foods, research has shown that it reduces the risk of heart disease, changes your body weight and even blood sugar levels, which can contribute to Type II diabetes. Start small, adding a single serving of one whole veggie or fruit to your diet, and increase your servings slowly. It’s an easy way to get the nutrients you need and eliminate the harmful sugars and starches your body should avoid.

3. Sit Less

Many of us sit at a desk, day in and day out. But sitting for extended lengths of time and generally having a sedentary lifestyle can be harmful to our health. Instead, consider ways that you can reduce how much time you spend sitting. For example, you could get yourself an adjustable standing desk that allows you to stand for parts of the day. If that’s not an option, you could also take a break and walk around the office or down the street to get the joints loose and the blood pumping. Luckily, there are many ways you can negate a sedentary lifestyle and improve your overall health.

4. Get Better Sleep

Many of us have trouble sleeping. Whether it’s due to stress or overworking, we lie awake in bed each night wondering why we can’t just fall asleep. If this is you, it’s time for a change. Sleep is a critical part of our overall health, both mentally and physically. When you can’t maintain good sleeping habits, it can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and even depression.

To achieve better sleep, there are certain tricks and methods you can do each night. For instance, limit your screen time, turning off any electronic devices, and avoiding blue lights. You can also cut back on caffeine, especially before bed, switching it with a chamomile tea instead. If a warm bath helps you sleep better, indulge in some self-care.

5. Make Exercise Enjoyable

One of the best ways you can get better sleep is to get more exercise. Of course, exercising more is often a resolution for many at the start of the New Year. However, many find that they grow tired of exercising after a few months. The trick is to find an exercise that you actually enjoy, making it more likely that you’ll stick with it throughout the year. Look into online yoga classes or pick up trail running if you prefer to be out in nature. Whatever you choose, treat it less like a chore and more like a fun activity.

6. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

Alcohol is fine in moderation, but if you find yourself needing a drink after work every day, it might be time to cut back. Drinking is synonymous with celebrations, especially during the holiday season. But once the festivities are gone, try to reduce your intake. In fact, you can try out a Dry January to allow your body to return to normal. Find ways to detox your body from all the cocktails and wine you binged, reaching a more optimal health.

If you find trouble cutting out alcohol altogether, try to cut back to a more reasonable goal. For instance, you could limit your intake to only weekends and by setting yourself a drink limit. To get the same taste without the buzz, switch to non-alcoholic beverages and mocktails.

7. Try a New Hobby

Another healthy New Year’s resolution is to stimulate your brain. And the best way to do so is to seek out a new hobby that you can enjoy all year long or even for life! Try activities and hobbies you’ve never tried before or return to something you once enjoyed as a child. As an adult, we tend to forget to take time to engage our brain and provide mental stimulation for ourselves. But when you partake in a new hobby, it can help you live a long, healthy life.

8. Practice Self-Care

Speaking of finding a new hobby, in general, just carve out more time for yourself! Self-care is not selfish and can help you stay motivated to help others by first taking care of your health and well-being. So make a resolution to give yourself some self-care, whether it’s through a morning ritual writing in a journal as you sip on a soothing cup of tea or by taking a day each month to relax and be alone with your thoughts.

9. Try Meditation

One excellent way to practice self-care is by meditation. Meditation has been medically proven to create more mental awareness and well-being. It’s especially helpful for those who experience anxiety or depression. While it can seem challenging at first to block out all your thoughts and be still, it gets easier with time and practice!

What resolutions and goals will you work for this year? Don’t be too overzealous and burn yourself out trying to do everything. Instead, stick with a list of three to five resolutions and work them slowly into your January schedule. This way, you’ll stay on track and accomplish all you set out to do!