Home / Health / Family / New Year ’s Resolutions
Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024

New Year ’s Resolutions

Four achievable and manageable goals worth making in 2024

We all want to have a healthy new year; however, many of us find ourselves making the same New Year’s resolutions year after year. Research suggests that only 9% of adults that make resolutions complete them. Further, 23% of individuals quit their resolution by the end of the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January! While these numbers may be discouraging, the reason goals often go unmet is not a lack of willpower, but due to the impracticality of the goals we set. Here are four practical and sustainable resolutions to set for 2024 for better physical and mental health:

Dedicate 10-15 minutes daily to meditation.

Daily meditation provides a way to rise above life’s daily challenges. By incorporating short, daily meditation periods, you set a base for increased inner peace and emotional balance. The particular benefits of daily meditation are well-documented, ranging from a reduction in anxiousness and lower blood pressure to increased immunity and better sleep. Starting a meditation practice does not have to be difficult. You must find a quiet and comfortable spot, preferably scheduled at the same time each day. You can begin with short sessions, gradually extending the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice. There are a variety of free, online-guided meditations to help you explore different techniques to calm your mind and spirit.

Improve your food and hydration habits in the coming year.

We all need to eat nutritious foods and stay hydrated, but this may prove difficult to do with chaotic schedules and increased responsibilities. You can take the first step toward mindful eating by starting a habit of meal-tracking through the use of online nutritional apps. There are a variety of apps that address an assortment of dietary goals (i.e., weight loss, mindful eating). There are also options created specifically for individuals with food allergies or those with certain dietary restrictions. Look for apps that are highly rated and backed by health care professionals, such as MyPlate Calorie Counter or MyFitnessPal. If you are not well versed in the online world, you can meal track using a food journal. Doing so can help you observe eating patterns and make a note of the circumstances and/or emotions that typically cause you to overindulge.

It is also important to set achievable goals for your nutritional plan, like incorporating more fruits and vegetables (at least half your plate) or reducing sugar intake by drinking non-sugary beverages. Also, aim to increase your water intake and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. An easy way to achieve this is to add a glass of water in the morning and evening to your routine.

Do a digital detox.

The majority of U.S. adults rely on smartphones daily – whether it is for work or entertainment. These digital tools can provide us with a multitude of benefits; however, constant connectivity to screens can lead to stress and decrease our productivity.

You can regain control over your time and attention by dedicating half an hour each day to unplug and disconnect from digital devices. You can use this time instead to create healthy habits such as walking, meal prepping or even meditation.

We can reduce our screen time by setting devices on silent or leaving them in another room to resist the urge to check them. There are also settings on these devices that allow us to increase our focus times by limiting notifications as well as to help us track our current screen time. Digital detoxing can also be done with family members. Setting boundaries like not having phones at the dinner table can assist with meeting this goal and helping to recharge us and nurture deeper connections with friends and family members.

Commit to doing one walk a day.

Walking has incredible health benefits, such as boosting mood and our immune system, reducing the risk of depression, protecting against heart disease and assisting with weight loss goals. The simple act of walking can be done anytime, anywhere and without the need for exercise equipment. Start your morning with a brisk walk around the block, or if the weather or your environment does not lend itself to outdoor hikes, you can always head to an indoor mall to get some steps in.

Taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes five times a week can help you meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. However, if you live a sedentary lifestyle, you can start small (walking 10 minutes at a time) and work toward those more significant goals over time. If you need some social support, walk with a friend or family member. Research studies demonstrate that having a walking partner helps facilitate the sustainability of a walking program, and it is a great way to connect with friends/family.

In conclusion, we must intentionally schedule time in our busy lives to move more, eat more whole foods, meditate and take time away from our smartphones. Please remember that change takes time. As you start employing these wellness strategies, over time, they will become habits that will help you become healthier in body and mind. I hope these health goals and strategies can assist you in achieving a healthy 2024!

Marie Vazquez Morgan, PhD, PT, is the assistant vice chancellor for institutional wellness at LSU Health Shreveport.


The Forum News