In years past we’ve all probably made resolutions to get healthier, lose weight, sleep and exercise more. While our intentions may be good, these vague and sometimes overly lofty resolutions are usually swept under the rug and forgotten shortly after the start of the New Year.
To help you make 2014 your healthiest year yet, we put together 101 rockin’ health and fitness resolutions that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed. Remember, small changes add up. Whether you choose one, two, or want to combine a few, write yourself daily, weekly or monthly resolution reminders and, before you know it, they’ll become healthy habits!
1. Take 1-2 minutes to log your food either just before, or right after every meal.
2. Swap out your large dinner plates for smaller salad plates.
3. Eat lean protein with every meal and snack.
4. Make fast food restaurants within 50 miles of your home off-limits.
5. Cap fried or fast food at 1 time per week.
6. Give up shopping the packaged snack aisle at the grocery store.
7. Steer clear of the vending machine. Bring your own fruit, nuts and bars with you from home–just leave the potato chips in the pantry.
8. Spend 15 minutes each week writing a healthful shopping list before heading to the grocery store–and whatever you do, don’t go there hungry.
9. Start reading and investigating ingredient lists on the foods you buy. Avoid foods with “partially hydrogenated” oils and added sugars like corn syrup.
10. Make 2-3 days worth of packable lunches at a time and just grab one from the fridge on your way out the door each morning.
11. Ditch dieting this year. We all know deprivation just doesn’t work. Make good choices most of the time and enjoy your indulgences guilt-free on occasion.
12. Eat veggies with breakfast two times per week. Saute some spinach, peppers and onions to go with those eggs. You can even make some veggie & egg muffins for a quick grab-and-go veggie-licious breakfast.
13. Have at least three food groups at every meal–a combination of fruit, vegetables, protein, grains or dairy will pack more nutrition and keep you feeling fuller, longer.
14. Look at food as fuel. When making mealtime decisions, focus on getting those nutrients your body needs to run its best: lean & plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins & minerals.
15. Ditch mealtime distractions. Leave your desk, put down your cell phone or turn off the television. You’ll enjoy your food more and likely eat less.
16. Notice where your food comes from. When possible, support your local farmers and cut down on greenhouse gasses by choosing locally grown produce and livestock.
17. Read one book, cover to cover, about the food industry. Some of our favorites: In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Fast Food Nation, Salt Sugar Fat.
18. Eat meatless one day per week. Meatless Mondays are actually quite trendy!
19. Swap sugar-sweetened drinks for club soda with a splash of 100% juice.
20. Downsize your morning glass of juice to 4 ounces. For reference, 4 ounces is equivalent to ½ cup or ~120mL.
21. Set a two drink maximum on beer, wine, cocktails or sugar-sweetened sodas at parties and log them before the festivities begin.
22. Drink 32 ounces of water before lunch and another 32 ounces by dinnertime.
23. Go booze-free during the workweek.
24. Cap those fancy, high-calorie coffee drinks at 2 per week.
25. Trade soda for water (sparkling or still) at least once per day.
26. Add fresh fruit or cucumber slices to a pitcher of water for refreshing, calorie-free flavored water. We promise it makes drinking water more exciting.
27. Bring a water bottle with you every time you fly. Just make sure it’s empty before going through airport security and fill it up at a water fountain before boarding the plane.
28. Gradually cut down on the sweetener in your daily cup of coffee and be amazed as your tastebuds adapt. Just 1 less sugar packet per day cuts nearly 5,500 calories and almost 3 pounds of sugar out of your diet over the course of a year!
29. Cook with oils like olive, grape seed or canola instead of melted butter or margarine.
30. Substitute plain 2% Greek yogurt for sour cream, even on those baked potatoes.
31. Substitute bananas or apple sauce for at least half of the sugar in baking recipes.
32. Whenever you cook, make a double batch of dinner and freeze it into individual servings. That way you have a healthy meal for nights you’re too tired and may defer to take out.
33. Cook morning oats with low-fat milk instead of water for extra protein and calcium–and add some fruit for a nutritional bonus.
34. Cook 1 night more per week than you do now.
35. Plan out your meals every Sunday for the whole week. Write a shopping list while you’re at it to save time and money at the grocery store.
36. Once a week, bake something you would usually fry.
37. When baking, replace half of the fat (oil, butter, shortening) with Greek yogurt, or pureed avocado when baking chocolate cookies or brownies.
38. Instead of buying, bake sweet treats like cookies, cakes and pies. You’ll likely eat a lot less dessert if you have to make them from scratch.
39. Cook one new recipe a week. Check out CookingLight for quick, easy and delicious recipes, buy a new cookbook or ask friends for make-ahead recipe ideas.
40. Take a cooking or knife-skills class. Becoming a better, faster and safer cook is more incentive to make your meals at home.
41. Host a healthy potluck once a season. Have your friends to bring their favorite, healthy-but-you-wouldn’t-know-it dishes and swap recipes.
42. Roast vegetables you normally boil, steam or saute. You may just like them better! Brussels sprouts are one of our favorites to roast.
43. Try a new workout each month for the entire year. Some ideas: CrossFit, Zumba, boot camp, yoga, pilates, spinning, strength training and high-intensity interval training.
44. Make an standing exercise date with a friend 1 day per week.
45. Set a weekly activity goal in MyFitnessPal (150 minutes is what the CDC recommends) and log your active minutes in MyFitnessPal after every sweat session.
46. Plan your workouts in advance (one or two-weeks at a time) and be sure to work in variety so you don’t get bored.
47. Add one more strength session to your exercise regimen each week.
48. Sign up and train for a race in 2014. If you want to dive into running, check out these great tips!
49. Plan 1 additional active outing or workout for every social event on your calendar.
50. Mentally commit to morning workouts by packing your gym bag or set out your workout clothes the night before. It really does make getting out of bed easier.
51. For every hour you at your desk, set a timer and do 30-60 seconds of body weight exercises. Here are 8 to get you through the work day: push-ups, squats, burpees, lunges, jumping jacks, tricep dips, plank, mountain climbers.
52. Treat yourself to a personal training session once a month.
53. Try two new fitness apps each month. You may just get hooked on one! For an added bonus, check out some of our great partner apps and have your workout data automatically sync with MyFitnessPal.
54. Set up a small (and inexpensive) home gym with a mat, some light dumbbells, a jump rope and try one new, at-home workout per week.
55. Plan an active weekend reunion with friends once a month. Think destination road races, a hiking trip, hunting with the guys, exploring a new city by foot, or bicycle.
56. Do jumping jacks, crunches, squats, lunges or push-ups every time your favorite television programs cut to commercial break. And don’t cheat by fast forwarding through them if they’ve been recorded.
57. Instead of driving, bike or walk to work, to run an errand or visit a friend once per week.
58. Adopt a stair-only policy. If you have 6 flights or less to go and you’re not hauling a heavy bag, pretend elevators and escalators don’t exist.
59. Log your eats and exercise at least 5 days per week.
60. Make at least 1 new friend on MyFitnessPal each week. Our data shows, the more friends you have the more weight you lose!
61. Stay hydrated. Set a water goal in MyFitnessPal and meet it by tracking your daily water intake.
62. Log inches or centimeters (not just weight) every two weeks. Your body may be changing even though the scale isn’t moving.
63. Log exercises as you do them, or right after your workout–every time.
64. Make a goal to not exceed your calories by 100 at least 5 days a week.
65. Commit to always eating the minimum number of calories-which means eating back those exercise calories!
66. Meet your fiber goal 4 days out of the week. When that becomes easy, go for 5.
67. Choose one day each week to analyze your food diary and reports in MyFitnessPal. Look for foods that put you over your calorie, fat and sodium goals but also those that helped you meet your fiber, protein, vitamin and mineral goals.
68. Track your steps. Studies show that 10,000 steps a day can have big health benefits, and simply wearing a pedometer can influence you to walk more. Connect a step tracking device like Fitbit, Fitbug, Jawbone Up, or Lumo with MyFitnessPal and have your steps automatically sync with your exercise diary.
69. Set a bedtime–preferably 7-8 hours before you need to wake up–and stick to it.
70. Stop working by 7PM every night.
71. Turn off phones, tablets, computers and televisions one hour before bedtime. The lights they emit stimulate your brain and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
72. Read a book, magazine or write in your journal each night before nodding off.
73. Abstain from eating and drinking 1 hour before you go to bed, to help you sleep through the night without having to make a trip to the bathroom.
74. Exercise early in the morning or mid-afternoon instead of late at night. Exercising too close to bedtime may interfere with your sleep.
75. Turn off the television and keep blinking laptops and other electronics in another room. Lights of any size or brightness can impact your sleep cycles.
76. Keep all phones, computers and tablets out of the bedroom, or at the very least, far enough away so you can’t reach them from bed.
77. Turn your alarm clock around and don’t look at it once the lights are off. Doing so only promotes anxiety about how long you’ve been awake or how little time you have left to sleep. Trust that your alarm will wake you when it’s time.
78. Choose 1 day per week to catch up with a friend or family member–make phone call, send an email, meet for coffee or go on a walk together.
79. Set aside a certain amount of cash each week for a solo getaway weekend.
80. Take 5-10 minutes every morning to do a light meditation or quiet stretching before starting your day.
81. Volunteer a set amount of time each month for a cause that is dear to your heart.
82. Check in with yourself once a week to asses how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally and jot it down in a journal.
83. Learn how to accept a compliment. Here’s an article to get you started.
84. Take a close look at your finances and make a budget for 2014.
85 When you catch yourself mindlessly surfing the web, power down your laptop, phone or tablet.
86. Open a retirement account and budget to save the maximum amount allowed by the end of the year.
87. Learn a new skill. Study a new language, take a workshop in sewing, crafting, woodworking, sign up for a cooking lesson… the possibilities are endless.
88. Plant a garden, preferably one that’s edible.
89. Get to yoga at least once a week.
90. Wear sunscreen religiously. Buy a daily moisturizer with SPF and keep an extra tube of sunblock in the car and in your travel toiletries so you’re never without!
91. Take a long walk with your loved ones (dogs count!) at least twice a week.
92. Back up your phone and computer on an external hard drive on the 1st of every month.
93. Take a digital Sabbath one day per week.
94. Kill the clutter. Go through 1 closet or bookcase per week and donate unwanted items and poorly fitting clothes to those in need. When those have been organized, section off the garage, basement, attic and tackle those next.
95. Set up a stand-up desk in your office and use it at least one hour per day. Encourage your co-workers to use it too!
96. Lose the negativity. Write down one thing you love about yourself in a journal each day.
97. Only purchase clothing that fits, flatters and makes you feel good–no matter how heavily discounted it may be.
98. Write down 5 things you want to achieve this year and check in on your goals every month to stay focused.
99. Swap a chemical-filled household cleanser for safer, more eco-friendly, vinegar.
100. Stop saving your china, silverware and favorite perfume/cologne for special occasions. Enjoy what you love every day.
101. Unsubscribe from 5 catalogs and email subscriptions per day until your inbox and mailbox are de-cluttered.
What health & fitness resolutions are on your list this year?