Get Healthy in the New Year: Resolutions for 2021

26 Resolutions for 2020


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26 Resolutions for 2020
Sleep More
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Exercise 20 Minutes a Day

Get Moving

Don't make a radical change, as the physical strain could result in injury and end your new workout plan before it even begins. Your resolution could be as simple as a daily 15-minute walk or a 10-minute yoga video each morning. An hour of physical activity every day is a laudable goal, but small increments can also boost physical and emotional well-being. A recent Norwegian study even showed that as little as four minutes of "super intense" exercise a few times a day could extend life expectancy.

Related: 15 Indoor Workouts That Don't Require Going to the Gym

Lift Weights
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Drink More Water

Drink More Water

While the old saw about drinking eight glasses of water a day is outdated, staying hydrated is still critical for good health. Don't wait until thirst hits. Sip fluids regularly throughout the day and with each meal. People who live in hotter climates or engage in physical activity need more water than more sedentary people in cooler climates. People who are sick and women who are breastfeeding should also hydrate more.

Related: We Tried 9 Water Flavorings and These Are the Best

Skip Fancy Coffee Drinks

Ditch Sugary Drinks

Kicking a soda, sweetened coffee, or juice habit in favor of plain water is vital for good health. This simple New Year's resolution saves about 240 calories for each 20-ounce soda — along with whatever money might have gone toward the bad habit, which has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. If you hate to ban Coca-Cola and other sweet drinks forever, be sure they're an occasional treat. 

Limit the Booze
Strengthen Social Ties

Strengthen Social Ties

Having friends and strong social ties is vital to well-being. A 2010 meta-analysis suggests that social ties can influence life span as much as known health risks such as smoking, obesity, and alcohol abuse. Find your people and stick with them.

Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking

This is a popular resolution for good reason. The detrimental effects of smoking are well established, and there's no excuse for holding on to this smelly, expensive, and simply bad habit. Although it's difficult to do, resolve to quit and make it happen, whether that means cold turkey or using a nicotine replacement therapy such as patches. The savings will accrue to your health as well as your budget.

Shop With a List
FG Trade/istockphoto

Shop With a List

Walking into the supermarket with a shopping list is an effective way to avoid impulse purchases of unhealthy foods and save money while doing it. Instead of randomly tossing items into your cart, follow a list that includes healthy options such as fresh fruits and vegetables and keep processed foods to a minimum.

Related: 21 Grocery Shopping Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

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Take two or three minutes out of the day to sit and meditate. Newbies who embrace this New Year's resolution can turn to a free beginner's guide from Gaiam for tips on getting started. Or tune into your favorite streaming service for guidance: The Calm app launched "A World of Calm" on HBO Max in October, and Headspace will debut "Headspace Guide to Meditation" on Netflix in January. Meditation is believed to lower anxiety, stress, heart rate, and blood pressure and increase feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Related: I Started Meditating, and This Is What Happened

volunteers cleaning park


Remember the adage "what goes around, comes around"? Helping others by volunteering can, according to a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, lower mortality, reduce depression, and increase functional ability. Adhering to this resolution doesn't cost anything but time.

Related: COVID-19 Crisis: Ways to Help in All 50 States

Take a Vacation

Plan a Vacation

Everyone needs a break and some distance from the daily grind. Resolve to take a vacation (or at least several long weekend getaways) in the coming year. Taking an extended break can improve cardiovascular health, decrease depression, and, ironically, improve productivity. While travel might still be difficult for the better part of 2021, there's nothing saying you can't vacation close to home or even enjoy a "restorative staycation."

Disconnect Each Day

Disconnect Each Day

Find ways to unplug from electronics, even for a few minutes if the thought seems unbearable. Delay checking your phone first thing in the morning, or turn it off an hour before you go to bed. Instead of staring at the screen, try engaging more with the people and environment around you with something like a board game or jigsaw puzzle.

Try Something New
Take Hourly Breaks

Take Hourly Breaks

Take five minutes of every hour during the day to get moving. This is especially important for desk jockeys or anyone who leads a sedentary lifestyle. Set a timer to signal the moment to stand up and stretch or walk around. The small break is a good way to give the brain some relief and get the blood pumping.

Eat Dark, Leafy Greens

Eat Dark, Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, cabbage, arugula, turnip greens — they all provide health benefits. Dark leafy greens contain calcium, iron, and folic acid, help to prevent cancer and heart disease, and manage weight and Type 2 diabetes. Commit to adding more of these vegetables to your diet this year.

Related: 30 Vegetable Recipes for People Who Hate Vegetables

Bulk Up Breakfast
Alena Haurylik/shutterstock

Bulk Up Breakfast

If you're accustomed to a quick bowl of cereal or a pop tart on the way out the door, it's time to rethink breakfast. This essential meal needs to be balanced and healthy no matter how rushed you are in the mornings. If you don't have time to whip up a fresh breakfast everyday, try prepping on the weekend so you can still grab and go on busy weekday mornings, without sacrificing your nutrition and health. 

Related: 40 Breakfast Foods Ranked by Their Calorie Count

Ditch Yo-Yo Dieting

Ditch Yo-Yo Dieting

Instead of hopping from one diet fad to another, try making permanent diet changes that you can live with indefinitely. Extreme diets may work fast and suddenly, but rarely do any of these work in the long run because they are too hard to maintain for any length of time. Instead make healthy eating changes that you can live with and that are easy to maintain.

Find a Workout Pal

Find a Workout Pal

Raise the odds of getting and staying active by recruiting someone to hold you accountable. The buddy system can help keep you both on track, even when you can't work out side by side. It's also easier to meet goals and a lot more fun. Can't find a willing friend? Work out with a pet instead.


Start the Day in Plank

This may sound silly, but get in the habit of holding a plank position (as if you're about to do a pushup) every morning after getting out of bed. Consider this activity as much a necessity as brushing your teeth. Start for a few seconds and increase the time gradually to at least one minute. A plank works the entire body and gets you ready to stay active all day.

Related: The Best Workouts for Staying in Shape Past 50

Say No
Focus on Experiences

Focus on Experiences

Instead of accumulating more stuff in 2021, seek out experiences. Less stuff means less money spent, less clutter, less maintenance, and more money in your wallet to go out and (safely) make memories with loved ones.

Related: 80 Things You Don't Need to Buy