5 Simple Healthy Habits to Try in the New Year
Time for a reset?
At this time of the year, it’s common to reflect on the past year and wonder what you could work on to make the next one even better.
Whether it’s a weight goal or a bad habit you want to kick – there are many personal habits that you can pick up to feel fitter, happier and healthier in 2022.
If you’re at a loss on what to do, we have pulled together five simple healthy habits that you can try in the new year. Why not pick one to start with, and then add an extra healthy habit each week as you progress?
Don’t forget to acknowledge your wins (no matter how small) as you go!
Let’s get into it.
5 Simple Healthy Habits to Try in the New Year
Drink a Glass of Water First Thing
A simple habit, but a very rewarding one. You’re likely already aware of the benefits of being properly hydrated but the trouble is, it can be hard to keep the habit up.
Why not try out this simple way to drink more. Set out a large glass of water next to your kettle, coffee pot or machine so that before you sip anything else, you’ll have a daily dose of hydration and know that you’ve achieved something healthy for your body.
Water has many benefits for weight loss too, in fact it’s a natural appetite suppressant, with research suggesting it can help to reduce body fat and body mass index.
Practice Stress Relief Everyday
Stress is your body’s natural reaction to challenges and demands and it’s hard to avoid in the modern age. While it serves an important purpose, like enabling you to respond quickly to threats and danger, lengthy exposure to stress may lead to a wealth of potential risks.
That’s why it’s important to take the time to practice stress relief and do something every day that brings you some joy or calmness. This could be anything from:
- Spending time outside or going for a walk
- Getting a massage
- Unplugging from social media
- Spending time with loved ones or friends
You could also practice asking yourself: How are you, really? Think of a word that describes exactly how you’re feeling and make sure you truly acknowledge it. This simple activity is said to be super effective for calming stress and reducing negative thoughts.
If you work out regularly, you’ll want to pay attention to this one, especially since tight muscles are prone to strains and injury.
Stretching is key for improving hip, neck, pelvic and shoulder movement to support the functional and everyday movement of your body. It can help to create more elasticity in muscles and boost joint extension so you can stay active. By stretching, you can support your body’s natural ability to move well (and age well).
You don’t need to give up an hour of your day to stretch. In fact, it’s possible to implement a three-minute stretching challenge into your day. What’s most important is to focus on the stretches that your body needs, and stretch areas that are achy.
Not sure where to start? Give these moves a go:
- Knees to chest – You can do this one in bed. Lie flat on your back, bring one knee to your chest and hold it in position. You should feel this in your lower back.
- Upper back stretch – Sit down for this one. Place your feet flat on the floor, interlock your fingers and stretch your arms out in front of your body. Reach out so you feel your shoulder blades stretching away from each other and gently bend your head forward.
- Butterfly stretch – Sit on the floor, placing the soles of your feet together and knees bent out to the side. Hold onto your ankles, brace your core and slowly lower your body towards your feet as far as you can. If this feels too tight, you can just press your knees down.
Lastly, it’s key to remember that although stretching offers multiple benefits, you do need to make sure that you’re doing the right type of stretches for your training routine to prevent any injuries.
Write Out Your Goals (or Tell Someone About Them)
This one sounds simple enough but in reality it could take a lot of thinking. Writing out your goals makes them real and can deliver more of an impact than just thinking about them.
Taking this extra step and having your goals in writing should also help you stick to reaching them and therefore achieving them.
You could even tell those closest to you about what you’d like to achieve. This can add encouragement and keep you motivated to succeed. Remember to be realistic about the goals you set, ensuring they fit into your life.
Get Those Steps In
Step-up your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) game alongside your regular workouts and you’ll see a change in your fitness in no time.
Even if you’re not into the gym or lifting heavy weights, you can boost your activity levels in other ways. For instance, you could:
- Go for a walk
- Walk/bike to work
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Wash the car
- Do some gardening
- Move your body in any way that helps you expend more energy – for example, marching on the spot while you’re cooking or walking around while on the phone.
If you’re struggling to make exercise a habit, we have just the guide to help. We list 4 simple ways to make exercise a habit here.
The Bottom Line
We’ve given you a lot to think about as you go into the new year but don’t get overwhelmed. These simple healthy habits should be pretty easy to implement. The key to pulling it all together and sticking to healthy habits is to start small. Doing too much, too quickly is unrealistic and you’re more likely to give up.
Pick one habit a week, see if you can do it every day and keep practicing it until you can add more healthy habits. After a few weeks, the habits should become ingrained and a normal part of your day – in fact, you won’t even need to think about doing them!
Picking up a new healthy habit is a skill – so learn a new skill for 2022 and start feeling fitter, healthier and happier.