With the start of the new year comes plans for self-improvement -- but New Year’s resolutions aren’t always easy to stick to.
As we start a new year still filled with so much uncertainty, it’s important to focus on the things we can control. Here are four realistic changes you can make to help boost your mental and physical health in the months to come:
January is a popular time to start a new diet, but to improve your odds of success, consider resolving to eat more “intentionally” instead.
To start eating healthier, it can help to take steps like planning your meals in advance, prepping healthy fruits and vegetables and taking a hard look at your portion sizes.
Start small by planning a few meals each week, then build on that habit as you go along.
Many people resolve to exercise a certain amount when the new year kicks off, but then don’t make it past the first two weeks.
Instead, consider focusing on getting “regular” exercise, with the emphasis on regular.
Do some sort of physical activity most days of the week, even if it’s just taking a brisk walk.
Start moving more, and then go from there.
Scheduling health screenings
Another doable, and important, resolution: Scheduling your important health screenings.
Because of the pandemic, screenings for breast, colon and prostate cancer have fallen away dramatically -- along with preventative care in general.
Be sure to stop ignoring health concerns and make those appointments right away.
A great way to improve your mental health is to build more gratitude into your life.
There is scientific evidence that practicing an attitude of gratitude can help us better cope with the daily challenges thrown our way.
To get started, Dr. Jennifer Peltzer Jones, assistant medical director of emergency behavioral services for the Henry Ford Health System, says that people can sit down with themselves or their families and identify three things they are thankful for that day. The topics don’t have to be monumental, Jones says, it’s just important to get into the practice and appreciate even the most simple parts of your day.