The reason most people’s New Years’ resolutions fail is because they try and do everything perfectly right from January 1st. They cut out junk food, exercise seven days a week, and they go on a juice cleanse and start detoxing.
The problem is, for most people this isn’t sustainable. February rolls around, and they’re back to their old habits, except this time they feel ashamed that they weren’t able to keep up with such a hard, sudden change.
This year, do your New Years’ Resolutions right. Want to get fit? Healthy? Take it week by week. Make one small healthy change every week in 2014. January 1st, begin eating one piece of fruit each day. The second week, start eating one vegetable each day. The next week, begin exercising twice a week. Then three. Then four. Gradually build upon each of these healthy habits.
This works because only gradual changes will stick.
Need some ideas for small healthy habits? You’ve come to the right place!
Here are 54 health and fitness habits to build in the new year:
- Do yoga once a week after you wake up or when yo go to sleep. Yoga lowers stress, improves your flexibility, and helps to heal your body. As the year progresses, try doing it more often, building up to what works for you.
- Don’t sit for longer than sixty minutes at a time if possible. Go on walks, get up from your desk to do some stretching, and try to get more active in your daily life. Sitting too long can ruin your body and increases the risk of blood clots.
- Replace one soda with sparkling water mixed with fruit juice. This fizzy concoction is better for you than soda, and the less fruit juice you use the healthier it becomes. I’m a fan of sparkling water mixed with just a tiny bit of cranberry juice for flavor. (You can also try some of my famous fruit detox water!)
- Find a workout buddy. I guarantee you’ll go to the gym and work out more if you recruit a friend! Even better– sign up for a race together!
- Have one smoothie each week. These are my favorite smoothie recipes!
- Try juicing to get more fresh produce in your diet. Don’t like the texture of certain veggies? Juice them instead! Here’s my beginner’s guide to juicing.
- Sign up for a race. Trust me– this works. I’m running my second half marathon in a few days, and knowing that I have to run 13 miles on Saturday really pushed me to run each week and train hard. There is no slacking when you’ve got a do or die deadline!
- Run 1 mile each week. Check out my article Five Steps from Couch Potato to Runner. Start out small and build up!
- Eat 1 healthy snack each day. Eating healthy snacks is really important because it helps to keep you from getting too hungry where you end up craving and eating too much junk food. Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks
- Start up your own health blog. Begin blogging regularly about your progress, your workouts, and your goals. This will help hold you accountable, as well as help you see how far you’ve come!
- Plan your weekly workout routine… and stick to it. Design an effective workout plan that is first and foremost DOABLE and not too overwhelming. Then, slowly build on that plan as the year goes on. Sticking to your workouts and being consistent might be tough, so join Gym Pact or find other ways of motivating yourself! Most importantly, pick workouts you enjoy.
- Crosstrain once a week. By crosstrain, I mean do a workout or exercise that is different from your routine: go rock climbing, do yoga, go ice skating, try ballroom dancing, or something of the sort! This is important to preventing overuse of certain muscles and helping to work out areas of your body that are often neglected.
- Stop eating in front of the TV/computer. Stop mindless eating!
- Begin eating healthy post-workout snacks. In order to get the most out of your workouts, eat protein right after your workout!
- Eat less sugar. Begin gradually decreasing your sugar intake in order to get a slimmer waistline and a healthier body.
- Strength train at least once per week. Then, build up to 2-3 days a week.
- Try a new workout video. The 30 Day Shred is one of my favorite options, since it’s cheap and effective!
- Love your body. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. Love yourself and your body, and know that you are beautiful! Stop the negative self-talk and reclaim your happiness.
- Take your workouts outside. I did yoga outside in Hawaii, and it was a beautiful experience. Also, running outside improves your endurance.
- Sleep at least 7 hours a night. Sleeping better can improve your health and well being. If you sleep any less than six hours, you could damage your body.
- Decide to be happy. Happiness is a choice. Here are some ways you can be happier.
- Stop making excuses. Even though you’re busy, you can still find time for healthy habits. In the new year, begin writing down your excuses… and then find solutions for them.
- Learn a new healthy recipe. Being able to cook is an important skill! Take health seriously, and nourish your body with healthy homemade foods.
- Try the clean eating challenge. 30 day challenges are a good way to supplement your gradual changes. Begin easing into a clean diet, and then when you’re almost there, try the 30 days and see if it helps rid you of your remaining bad habits and introduces you to new healthy recipes!
- Start dynamic stretching. Here’s why you need to do dynamic stretches!
- Try a new fitness app. Your phone is one of the best trainers out there!
- Eat one serving of fruit each day. Increase this so you’re eating more fruit each day.
- Eat one serving of veggies each day. Most people don’t get enough veggies, so do our best to get more through smoothies, juicing, and salads!
- Stop eating high fructose corn syrup. Here’s why.
- Instead of steady state cardio, try HIIT. You can find my ultimate guide to HIIT here!
- Stop saying “I can’t.” Understand that fitness and health is a journey, and you have to stay positive each and every day!
- Eat enough food. If you starve yourself, you’re sabotaging your health and you’ll get intense cravings for junk food. Instead, feed your body healthy, beautiful foods.
- Create a healthy recipe. Experiment in the kitchen to create a healthy variation of one of your favorite dishes!
- Try going pescetarian/vegetarian/vegan. Here’s a case for going vegan! You can also check out my plant-based diet blog here.
- Try the 30 Day Youtube Workout Plan. Sometimes, you need variety in your workout! Try my 30 day youtube plan for 30 days of free workouts to get into shape.
- Stop skipping breakfast. There are so many delicious foods you can have for breakfast! Greek yogurt parfaits, smoothies, homemade oatmeal… get creative! Breakfast fuels your day and kickstarts your metabolism, don’t neglect it.
- Invest in smaller plates. The reason portion sizes are out of control here is because our plates themselves have gotten huge! Get smaller plates and you’ll find yourself eating less.
- Create a weekly action plan. At the beginning of each week, write down your goals for a healthy week.
- Shop at a farmer’s market. Fall in love with fresh produce! Plant-based diets are healthy diets, so eat some more fresh foods from a farmer’s market to support local farms!
- Do something different with your water. It’s important to drink enough water each day to improve your complexion, health, and energy levels. But if you’re not a fan of water by itself, try some detoxifying lemon water!
- Find new workouts on Pinterest. It’s one of my favorite places to find new workouts to spice up my routine! Check out my Best Pinterest Workouts Board here!
- Try an obscure vegetable. Leek isn’t just something that happens to your faucet. And have you had arugula? So delicious! Jicama is a great addition to a spinach-mandarin orange salad.
- Join a fitness community. Try crossfit, or become a Tumblr Fitblr! There are a ton of fitness communities both on and off the ‘net, you just need to find them! Having other people who support you helps to keep you motivated.
- Create an inspiration board. Put pictures up of healthy foods and your favorite recipes and keep it somewhere visible so you can be reminded of your healthy lifestyle aspirations.
- Don’t let emotional eating control you. Try keeping a journal and writing whenever you’re feeling down. Sometimes, breakups aren’t always effectively remedied with Ben and Jerry’s.
- Instagram your healthy meals. That’s OK– be that person! Show off your healthy meals on Instagram, which will motivate you to make all your meals healthy and Instagram-worthy.
- Get a fitbit or a pedometer. I have one and it really motivates me to stay active every day.
- Make a clean dessert. Yes– desserts can be healthy! Try out some clean dessert recipes and start making every part of your diet healthy!
- Try the 80/20 rule. Learning how to make at least 80% of your diet healthy, but allowing 20% splurges helps you keep things in moderation, while still being able to enjoy certain unhealthy foods.
- Master homemade oatmeal. If you’re eating oatmeal from a box, you’re doing it wrong. Buy plain oats, add some delicious, healthy toppings, and enjoy oatmeal the healthy way!
- Improve your sandwich game. Healthy sandwiches are easy to make, cheap, and take like five minutes!
- Plan your meals out for a week. Meal planning is an essential skill that will decrease your food budget and help you leave a healthier lifestyle! Also, if you plan your meals you won’t have to go to the store as often.
- Learn how to eat intuitively. Calorie counting isn’t sustainable– try intuitive eating instead.
- Learn how to eat clean on a budget. It is possible to eat clean on a budget! Here’s how.
I wish you all the best of luck in the new year!