The new year is a time to reflect on the past 365 days and set new goals. However, if you’re pledging to lose weight, focusing solely on the scale can be deceiving since the number isn’t always indicative of overall health or progress. Instead, try adopting one (or all) of these nine resolutions, which aren’t overtly tied to weight loss, but can help you create a healthier lifestyle and shed pounds in the process.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
Making your needs a priority means listening to what your intuition says and letting go of unneeded guilt. For example, if you’ve had a busy week, give yourself permission to turn down happy hour plans so you can have a relaxing night in and catch up on sleep.
GET OUTSIDE MORE
Studies show natural light increases serotonin levels and elevates your mood. And there are benefits to a 10-minute morning walk that go beyond weight loss — sunshine first thing in the morning can help you feel calmer and sleep better.
READ A BOOK A MONTH
Reading before bed has a whole host of benefits, from reducing stress to helping you get into a nighttime routine that improves quality of sleep. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these six must-read books to help you get fit.
COOK MORE AT HOME
Cooking can be a fun, enjoyable way to unwind after a long day at work or a way to spend quality family time on a Sunday afternoon. Try making healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods — not only will you save money, but you’ll also likely consume fewer calories and help fuel weight loss.
VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Whether it’s walking a dog at a local shelter or helping pick up trash in your neighborhood by plogging, volunteering is a great way to give back and increase your activity levels. Plus, studies show volunteering can help improve mental health and decrease feelings of loneliness.
SPEND LESS TIME ON YOUR PHONE
While technology has made our lives easier in many respects, today we are spending more time than ever in front of screens. Research is finding this has negative effects on the brain — even causing unwanted food cravings. Try putting your phone on airplane mode for at least an hour a day so you aren’t tempted to mindlessly scroll through Instagram or play a video game. Instead, replace that time with something more productive such as going for a walk or making a grocery list for your next homemade meal (see number 4).
MEDITATE FOR 10 MINUTES A DAY
If you’re decreasing the time you spend on your phone (see above), you should be able to fit in 10 minutes for meditation. The practice can help alleviate anxiety, muscle and joint pain, stress and more. Check out these six meditation styles to match your personality.
FIND YOUR MANTRA AND SAY IT DAILY
Studies show negative thinking can spike cortisol levels, leading to chronic stress and health issues. To combat this, find a personalized mantra that helps encourage positive thinking. It can be something as simple as “I’ve got this” or “My best is good enough.”
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Whether it’s a vegetable you’ve never tried, an exercise you’ve never heard of before or a new sport like yoga, rowing or swimming — try a new activity in the new year. Getting outside of your comfort zone helps you create healthy habits and maintain a healthy lifestyle.