Get Healthy in the New Year: 20 Resolutions for 2017


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It's almost a new year and time to think about the resolutions you want to make and live by. Setting goals that can help you feel better physically and mentally may also save a little money (or a lot in the long run). These 20 healthy resolutions are easy to achieve and maintain. As with all New Year's resolutions, it's important to write them down, share with family and friends, and decide how to hold yourself accountable.

Related: 10 Ways to Prevent Financial Disaster from a Serious Illness
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Not sure how much sleep to get? Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Going to bed and waking up around the same time daily facilitates more and better sleep, as does banning electronic devices from the bedroom.

Related: 11 Sleep Myths That Could Explain Why You're So Tired
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This doesn't require a radical change that creates unnecessary physical strain. Moving more could be as simple as a daily 15-minute walk or following along with a 10-minute yoga video each morning. An hour of physical activity every day is a laudable goal, but small increments can do wonders to boost physical and emotional well-being.
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While the old exhortation to drink eight glasses of water a day is outdated, staying hydrated is still critical for good health. Don't wait until thirst hits before drinking up. Sip fluids regularly throughout the day and with each meal. People who live in hotter climates or engage in a lot of physical activity need more water than others. The same is true for people who are sick and women who are breastfeeding.
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Kicking a soda or juice habit is vital for good health. Stick with cold, clean, refreshing water instead. This simple New Year's resolution saves about 240 calories for each 20-ounce soda, not to mention the money otherwise going toward sweetened drinks. A glass of water, after all, costs mere pennies.
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An alcoholic drink here and there is fine, but overdoing it on a regular basis can have serious health effects. Too much alcohol has been associated with problems such as depression, memory loss, seizures, liver and heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and even some cancers. Cutting back on the booze also alleviates pressure on the wallet.
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Having friends and strong social ties is vital to well-being. A study published by Plos Medicine suggests that social ties can influence life span as much as known health factors such as smoking, obesity, and alcohol abuse. Find your people and stick with them.

Related: 10 Ways to Make a New Community Feel Like Home
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This is a popular resolution, and for good reason. The detrimental effects of smoking are well established, and there's no excuse for holding on to this bad habit. Although it's difficult to do, resolve to quit and make it happen. The savings will accrue to your health as well as your budget.
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Walking into the supermarket with a shopping list is an effective way to avoid impulse purchases of unhealthy foodstuffs. 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: 50 Easy Ways to Save at the Grocery Store
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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 beginner's guide on the Gaiam website for tips on getting started. Meditation is believed to lower anxiety, stress, heart rate, and blood pressure and increase feelings of relaxation and wellbeing.
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Remember the adage "what goes around, comes around"? Helping others by volunteering and generally emitting good karma can generate a certain kind of health benefit. Adhering to this resolution doesn't cost anything but time, and you'll walk away with a sense of fulfillment that can do wonders for decreasing stress.
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Everyone needs a break -- time to unplug and get 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 benefit personal health by freeing up positive emotions and while negative emotions recede.
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Breaking away from the daily routine is a boon to health. Challenge your body in a new way and challenge your social skills by meeting new people. Take a dance or martial arts class, for example, or sign up for a 5K run. Many local studios offer free introductory classes, so make the rounds and then settle on one. Chances are you'll meet new people and have fun -- both balms for body and soul.
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Keeping the mind active is as critical to health as keeping the body active. Exercising the mind boosts memory, vocabulary, and self-esteem. Take a class at the community center or community college, or go back to school for that degree you always wanted.

Related: Never Too Old to Learn: 11 Best Free Online Courses for Retirees
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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.
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Kale, spinach, cabbage, arugula, turnip greens -- they all provide health benefits. Dark leafy greens contain calcium, iron, and folic acid. They can help prevent cancer and heart disease and manage weight and Type 2 diabetes. Commit to adding more of these vegetables to your diet this year.
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Instead of eating out every day, bring lunch from home to save money and calories. Brown-bagging gives you more control over the quality and quantity of food you eat -- and an opportunity to pack in those dark leafy greens.

Related: 12 Cheap and Easy Brown-Bag Lunches
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Raise the odds of getting and staying active by working out with a pal. The buddy system keeps partners accountable and on track. It's also easier to meet goals and a lot more fun with a friend beside you.
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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.
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Overextending oneself is an American pastime. Everyone is overworked, overbooked, and downright stressed. Vow to put yourself first this year by saying no at least once a day. This will help eliminate at least some stress, which is good for mental and physical health.
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Being in debt can be stressful, but there are many ways to save more in the coming year. Cutting daily outlays by $10 adds up to big savings and is easier than you might think. Simple suggestions: Bike or carpool to work instead of driving, make coffee in the morning instead of hitting a local haunt, and work out at home instead of buying a gym membership.

Related: 10 Ways to Save $10 a Day (or $3,650 a Year!)