Mountain sunrise

Health tips for the new year

January 3, 2023

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to spark positive change. It’s the perfect time of year to reflect on areas of your life you’d like to improve, and with a few simple steps, you can set yourself up for success. The recurring themes each year include a more active approach to health and fitness, improved finances, and learning new things for personal and professional development.

To help you realize your New Year’s resolution this year, start with these key steps:

  • Mentally prepare for change
  • Clearly define your goals, and make sure to set goals that motivate you
  • Be specific
  • Write down your goals
  • Review your resolution(s) regularly

To help get you started on your journey, consider the five healthy resolutions listed below. While small, these changes are meaningful and much easier to sustain than more grandiose goals. Most importantly, remember to be patient and kind with yourself as you embrace new goals.

  1. Exercise daily. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. That may seem intimidating at first, but broken down into daily increments, that’s about 20 minutes of exercise per day. Try setting aside time each day for an aerobic exercise you enjoy.
  2. Want to step it up a notch? Try getting 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days per week, then aim for two 30-minute strength-training workouts per week.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 10 percent of Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables every day. The recommended serving is one and a half to two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables. This year, try packing fruit and veggie snacks, eating fruit with your breakfast, and/or eating a salad before dinner and/or lunch. Bonus: The fiber in fruits and vegetables is good for digestion and can help you feel fuller for longer!
  4. Protect yourself from preventable illness. Make sure you are current on all of your vaccines and visit your doctor for an annual physical and other wellness checks. The best medicine is prevention!
  5. Prioritize sleep. Those eight hours of shut-eye are important for physical and mental health. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, your body works to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health while you are sleeping. Inadequate sleep raises your risk for chronic health problems. To get more sleep, set a normal bedtime and wake-up routine, avoid screens before bed, avoid caffeine later in the day, and cut alcohol consumption. Still struggling to sleep? Talk to your doctor.
  6. Don’t forget about your mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it’s important to be intentional about maintaining it. Regular visits with a mental health professional, meditation, journaling, and deep breathing are all practices that can help you to take better care of yourself.

Need extra help? Please consider the following resources:

  • If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the Colorado Crisis Services Hotline to connect to a crisis counselor or trained professional 24/7 who will assess risk and determine if a mobile response is necessary. Call 1-844-493-8255, or text “TALK” to 38255.
  • Those in need may also call 9-8-8 to access confidential, free, and available 24/7/365, connecting those experiencing a mental health, substance use, or suicidal crisis with trained crisis workers