A new year is a great time to look closely at your life priorities, start fresh with new habits and reset goals. No matter what’s most important to you, starting the year with good health habits will set you up to do more of what you love, have new experiences and spend quality time with the ones who matter most.
Check out these seven ways to thrive in the year ahead.
Prioritizing rest each night makes you feel good and has a positive impact on both physical and mental health. Adequate sleep plays an important role in helping the body fight infection and supports the metabolism of sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes. If you need to, adjust your routine so you get plenty of shut eye—seven to nine hours of sleep daily is a good rule of thumb. Make going to bed by 10 p.m. one of your new year’s goals to reap the benefits all year.
Cooking meals at home is a fun activity that often brings people together. Practice healthy habits and strive to include fruits and vegetables on half of your plate. When grocery shopping, fill your cart with a variety of colors. Say “yes!” to red, orange and green vegetables. They’re not just pretty—a colorful plate means you’re receiving more of the nutrients you need for good health. Complement this food group with whole grains and lean protein options.
It may be challenging at first, but making progress on a new hobby can be rewarding and feel amazing. Going out of your comfort zone is good for your brain and memory. If there’s something you’ve wanted to try, take the first step this year and do it. Your excitement will help you stay committed and better overcome the learning curve as your confidence grows. Some new activities to try could be taking a dance class, learning chess or discovering a foreign language.
In this fast-paced world, perhaps carving out time for peace and quiet has become one of your life priorities. This year, commit to spending time in nature to reflect internally or simply enjoy your environment. Go for a bike ride around your neighborhood, hike a local trail with a friend, or sit in your backyard or the park. Recent research has found that living
near and spending time in greenspace has an array of health benefits. These include a
reduced risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth,
stress and high blood pressure.
Be proactive about your personal wellbeing and schedule an annual appointment with your primary care physician. It gives you time to discuss any changes to your family health history, behavioral and lifestyle habits. Checking in will allow your doctor to detect high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other problems in the early stages. Your visit will also give you the chance to address any additional concerns or questions you may be having.
Hearing loss can happen gradually, and it’s not always easy to detect yourself. It’s also a very common issue—one in three adults ages 65 to 75 experience hearing loss. If you’ve found yourself saying “what?” more than usual or struggling to follow along with conversations in noisy environments, it may be time to take action.
How often should you have hearing tested? We recommend getting an exam once a year , especially if you’re 60 or older. Including a hearing exam in your annual routine is a wonderful way to ensure you hear life to the fullest. If you have (or develop) a hearing loss that can be helped by a device, you’ll be in a position to treat it before it progresses.
Dental hygiene is an integral part of staying healthy. Regular trips to the dentist allow you to treat and prevent oral health problems like cavities or tooth loss. Cutting back on sugary food and drinks are good health habits that can protect teeth, along with brushing and flossing. As you start the new year, call your dentist and make an appointment.