6 Ways to Start Your New Year with Healthy Habits

6 Ways to Start the New Year with Healthy Habits

A common pitfall of setting resolutions for the New Year is that many people don’t expect to fulfill them. But having a fresh year to kick-start your diet is an amazing opportunity to make changes and there are a few tips you can use to help you achieve your goals, whether you’re looking to detox from holiday excess or just continue on your path of improving your health.

1. It’s important to only commit to realistic goals and make sure you have a time frame in mind to achieve them within. Sometimes the stress of looming expectations can become demotivating if you don’t set yourself a deadline.

2. If you’re trying to make healthier choices each day, one of the best strategies is to be prepared. Try setting aside a few hours on the weekend to prepare nourishing homemade soups and kale chips for your busy week. You can also brew herbal infusions sweetened with stevia that will keep in the fridge for a few days and help you to avoid other prepared drinks.

3. There is now scientific research validating the fact that being grateful for your blessings is very beneficial to your health. A study from a psychologist at the University of California found that participants who wrote down positive comments about their life exercised more and visited the doctor less often than those who recorded only their frustrations. [1]

Try to write down 3 new things each day that you’re grateful for. When you keep this habit for a few weeks, you’ll notice how it helps to put material wishes in perspective. This will in turn let you realize that you may have deeper, more meaningful goals you want ┬áto begin moving towards.

4. If you’ve indulged in anything less than ideal over the holidays, don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, you can focus on hydration as a way of flushing out your system. An easy way to start increasing your water intake is to start off your day with between 0.5 – 1 litre of water, and then continue to drink it throughout the day. You can also incorporate naturally diuretic foods like asparagus, pineapple and organic leafy greens into your meals or fresh juices. Herbs that will help relieve fluid retention include dandelion leaf, licorice, ginger and fennel seed.

5. It may seem like a simple change but starting to grow your own micro-greens is an affordable, satisfying and incredibly nutritious way to have fresh greens on hand all winter. Some easy crops to get started on are spicy mustard, broccoli and fenugreek seeds. Use your sprouts as a topping for wraps, in juices or blend into raw soups. Fresh sprouts are even more nutrient dense than organic vegetables and can be grown on your windowsill or kitchen counter using just a mason jar and some cheesecloth.

6. Simply remembering to practice deep breathing a regular basis can have a huge impact on many aspects of your health. Cultivating the habit of slow breathing has a multitude of benefits including helping to promote circulation, increase energy and reduce high blood pressure. It’s also been found to be especially helpful for combating anxiety and nervousness. [2] An easy method to get started with is to breathe deeply through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for another 4 counts and then slowly exhale through your mouth for your last 4 counts.

Do this whenever you have a few spare moments, even if you’re just watching a movie, waiting in traffic or commuting on public transit.

[1] J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Feb;84(2):377-89.
Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life.
Emmons RA, McCullough ME.

[2] Exp Physiol. 2008 Sep;93(9):1011-21. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2008.042424. Epub 2008 May 16.
Breathing rhythms and emotions.
Homma I, Masaoka Y.

Madeleine Brown