Father Serving Salad on a Plate

It’s a new year and many people see this as a new beginning. It’s a time to make positive changes and New Year’s resolutions. But statistics show most people won’t keep their resolutions. This is because many New Year’s resolutions are too demanding and require major life changes. But setting goals for yourself is important, especially ones to improve your well-being. Take it slow and make small changes each month to keep your resolution to be healthy.

Create 12 reachable goals instead of 1 larger goal. Then continue the previous month’s goal when beginning your new goal the next month. Follow this throughout the year and your health should steadily improve.

Consider these goals for 2016:

  • January — Replace some snacks with fruit or vegetables you haven’t tried before. Choose produce (fresh fruit and vegetables) in season this winter, like kiwi or buttercup squash. Or warm up with soup made from different vegetables like rutabaga or bok choy.
  • February — Try a new indoor fitness activity. There are lots of great ways to exercise indoors during cold days. Join a Zumba® class or visit an indoor rock climbing gym. You can also check out your local YMCA. Have fun trying something new that is also good for your body.
  • March — Spring begins March 20, which means it is time for spring cleaning. Give your home a thorough cleaning top to bottom. Keep it clean all year to kill germs and reduce the risk of allergies.
  • April — Add more green vegetables to your diet. Green vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients. They can even help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Try them raw or cooked into a healthy stew.
  • May — Set a goal to walk more. Use a pedometer to track how many steps you take each day. Ask a friend or family member to be your walking partner. See if you can increase your step goal a little each month. Ask your doctor how many steps you need to stay active and maintain a healthy weight.
  • June — Be happy. Take this month to focus on your previous goals. Do you feel better physically? Mentally? How have you improved your lifestyle? Remember, you are doing great! Keep pushing forward to better health.
  • July — Drink more water. It may help to carry a refillable bottle with you at work, school or while running errands. Replace sugary drinks like soda with ice-cold water to help you cool down on hot days.
  • August — Get your flu shot. This is your best defense against catching the flu. Also, use everyday steps against spreading germs like washing your hands often and covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • September — Get a good night’s sleep every night. Adults should get 7 – 8 hours of sleep a day. Preschool-aged children should get 11 – 12 hours of sleep a day, and school-aged children should get at least 10 hours of sleep day. This may mean going to bed earlier if you or your child have school or work early in the mornings. Talk to your doctor if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • October — Be social. Host an event to get together with family or friends. Plan a movie or game night, and reconnect with loved ones you may have not seen in a while.
  • November — If you haven’t already, plan your yearly check-up with your primary care provider. Be sure to fill your new prescriptions and get lab tests done that were requested by your doctor.
  • December — Take some time to unwind during the busy holiday season. Spend time with loved ones who support you. If you need help coping with stress, depression or anxiety, find a close family member, friend or health care professional to talk to.

Remember to continue each month’s goal when beginning the goal for the following month. These resolutions are child, adult and family friendly. Ask your friends and family to join your goal for a happier, healthier 2016. The benefits will stay with you long past the year’s end.

Here’s to a great 2016 and a lifetime of wellness!

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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