Another New Year is once again just around the corner, and your thoughts may already be turning to the changes you want to make in your life. If you’re like most people, some of these thoughts will involve living a healthier lifestyle.
Whether you want to trim down that burgeoning waistline, look after your appearance a little more closely or get more exercise, this is a great time of year to make lasting changes to the way you live your life.
But beware, according to the University of Scranton, only 8% of people actually follow through on their New Year commitments, so the odds are already stacked against you. Around 45% of us will make at least one resolution this year, so millions of people around the world will already be headed for failure when the clock strikes 12.
To give you a head start, here are eight New Year’s resolutions for a happier, healthier you.
1. I will look after my skin more
Your skin is a living, breathing organ, and it needs looking after. If your skin is clean, exfoliated and fresh, the chances are you will look healthy. Invest in a facial wash, some moisturiser and a few exfoliant products. If you’re a regular shaver, make sure you have a razor blade of the highest quality at all times. A daily wet shave is a great way to keep yourself looking clean and presentable, but it can take a heavy toll on your skin if you’re not prepared. As well as a decent blade, invest in a moisturising shaving cream, a good brush and a post-shave moisturising agent.
2. I will eat more often
Yes, you read that right! Research has shown that skipping meals and ‘saving’ calories for later can be counter-productive. Starving yourself tells the body that food could be scarce, so it goes into fat storing mode. Moreover, if you’re extra hungry at a meal time, you’re more likely to overeat and gorge on calorific foods. Keep your metabolism burning at all times by eating healthily every two or three hours — without exceeding your recommended daily calorie intake, of course.
3. I will get more sleep
According to an article in the Guardian, the National Sleep Foundation in America has concluded that the average adult needs a minimum of seven hours sleep every night. It is estimated that more than a third of adults don’t get the sleep their body needs. If you are one of those people, there are a few things you can do to improve the quality and amount of sleep you’re getting:
- Exercise more
- Set a regular bedtime
- Get up at the same time every morning
- Don’t lie in
- Turn off all electrical appliances in your bedroom.
- Hang blackout curtains to minimise the amount of light in your bedroom
- Don’t eat within three hours of your bedtime
- Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine within three hours of your bedtime
- Use an electronic sleeping monitor to find out when during the night you’re waking up
4. I will get the exercise my body needs
According to the NHS, the average adult needs a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. This is only two and a half hours, so it should be achievable for even the busiest of people. You don’t need to run yourself into the ground to get what you need; brisk walks, energetic bike rides and rigorous swims will all suffice. Make sure you give your legs, arms, back, abdomen, hips, chest and shoulders a good workout at least once a week to keep your body strong and conditioned.
5. I will cook from scratch more
The levels of fat and sugar in many of our favourite processed foods are often very alarming. The NHS recommends that the average adult consumes no more than 30g of sugar per day. However, a humble tin of tomato soup can contain as much as 8g of processed sugar in a single serving — almost a third of an adult’s daily allowance.
But by making your own tomato soup from scratch, you can limit the sugar content to only the natural sugars found in the tomatoes you use. Try to eat your own home-cooked food for dinner at least three times a week, and you should notice a big difference in your weight and general well-being.
6. I will drink enough water
You may have read that we should all be drinking around eight cups of water per day. However, the truth is that things are far more complex than that. How much water you need depends on your activity levels, your diet and a range of other issues.
Drink water slowly throughout the day; this will keep you hydrated, which will enhance your energy levels and digestion.
7. I will monitor my health regularly
It’s always a good idea to keep track of your own health regularly. While you don’t need to visit a doctor once a month for a general check-up, there are things you should be doing at home. While there are checks you can perform yourself, you should always seek advice from medical professionals first. People aged between 40 and 74 are entitled to a free NHS health check. This ‘health MOT’ looks for the early warning signs of heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.
But you can perform a few basic health checks yourself at home. Check your skin and face at least once a week for changes. Look for new spots, moles and freckles every day, and seek advice from a doctor if you notice anything changing. If you can, ask a partner or close family member to check for you.
You can also monitor your weight, heart rate, cholesterol, fitness levels and blood pressure with various mobile apps and gadgets. And if you’re in search of some great ideas to help you achieve your health-related New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty to choose from.
Finis Neptune - This ingenious music system conducts sound waves through the cheek bones and into the middle ear, so you can wear them whilst swimming. The user is given updates on performance levels throughout.
Sportiiiis - This clever gadget fits snugly to almost any pair of glasses. It projects the user’s workout data, so it can be read directly from the lens.
Lab on a Chip - Users can take their own cholesterol levels with a test strip reader that feeds accurate data directly to an accompanying mobile app.
Fitbit Aria Smart Scale - This digital scale connects to Wi-Fi and is capable of communicating with a range of different fitness apps. The Fitbit Aria not only records weight data, it also measures and records body fat and Body Mass Index (BMI).
Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor - This highly accurate home blood pressure monitor sends data directly to a mobile app via Bluetooth. The user is then given advice and comparative data on healthy blood pressure levels from the World Health Organisation.
8. I will deal with stress more effectively
While everyone has to deal with stress at some point, how you react to it can dictate the damage it does. Look for your own, personal stress-buster. For you, it might be something simple like a walk or a workout at the gym. Yoga and Pilates are also known to help people cope with stress. Find what works for you, and schedule it into your life. If your stress persists, ask a doctor for advice.
By making these lifestyle changes from the moment the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, you should be able to look forward to a happier, healthier you.