Whenever we write down our New Years’ resolutions, they usually include some pretty lofty goals. Maybe you want to lose 20 pounds, or finally save enough to put a deposit down on your dream home. You may have committed to reading a new book every month, or to learning a new skill while hunkered down in quarantine. But what if I told you that the biggest changes you’re aiming for start with small daily habits you might not have been thinking about?
You’d be surprised by how small seeds of change lead to mighty results. That’s especially true when it comes to living healthier, which is usually at the top of everyone’s list of annual goals. Whether you’re determined to shrink your waistline or get more sleep at night, changing the way you go about every single day will make the path to your goals even clearer. Here are 10 daily habits you can start forming today that will lead to a healthier, happier you in 2021.
Article continues after video.
Article continues after video.
Drink More Water
You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but it bears repeating. Drinking water benefits your body and brain function in infinite ways. Water is a key element your body needs to stabilize your blood pressure and heartbeat, carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells, aid in digestion, and cushion your joints. Before making a run to the coffee pot first thing in the morning, drink a tall glass of water to replenish the fluids your body used up while you were sleeping. According to Harvard Health
, a general rule of thumb for healthy people is to drink two to three cups of water per hour. If you’re exercising regularly, you’ll want to drink even more.
Jot It Down, Sis!
No matter how good you think your memory is, the human brain just isn’t 100% reliable. That’s why putting pen to paper and writing down your goals, tasks and to-do lists are a must in 2021. Keeping a list of your most important tasks not only ensures you don’t forget to do them, but also conserves mental energy for the things that matter most. If notebooks and sticky notes don’t really do it for you, feel free to plug everything into a notes app on your phone or set calendar reminders digitally. No matter the method, you’ll feel lighter and more accomplished by the end of every week once you commit to jotting everything down.
Wake Up Earlier
As a self-proclaimed night owl, I’ve never liked early wake-up calls. I’m sure that’s true for many of you, too. However, waking up earlier can jumpstart your productivity in ways you might not have imagined. Studies have shown that getting up earlier makes you sharper, more alert throughout the day, and improves overall mental health. There’s also a proven correlation between getting up early with greater career success. So in summation, leave that snooze button alone!
Speaking Positively To Yourself
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that there are some things in life we simply can’t control. But one thing you can control is how you treat yourself
. As Black women, we pour so much into others and often neglect to do the same for ourselves. That stops today. In 2021, start the daily habit of speaking positively to yourself. Tell yourself how great of a job you did after every accomplishment, no matter how small it may seem. Thank yourself for the work you’re doing to better yourself and others. Tell yourself you can do it. According to Healthline
, this type of positive self-talk leads to increased vitality, reduced stress and greater satisfaction in all areas of life.
Eat Something Green Everyday
It’s likely you’ve added “lose weight” or “eat healthier” to your list of New Year’s resolutions, which is a great goal to have. But when it comes to health and nutrition, people often think about taking away foods instead of adding them. Eating healthy starts with shifting the way you think about food. The easiest way to do that is to start by adding one green thing a day to your daily menu. Green foods like spinach, kiwi and broccoli are packed with the vitamins your body needs to function. Consuming 3-4 portions
green veggies daily also reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Whether it’s a kale salad with lunch or a spinach-based smoothie in the morning, adding greens to your diet daily will benefit you tremendously.
Spend Less Time On Your Phone
This may be easier said than done given that we are living in a mobile-driven world, but designating set times where you deliberately stay off your phone is necessary for your health. Staring at your phone all day and night not only puts strain on your eyes, but it also makes it harder to fall asleep at night. Turning off your notifications and monitoring your screen time via apps like ZenScreen
will help you put your phone down a little more often.
Move Your Body For 30 Minutes Every Day
At the start of every new year, we are bombarded with advertisements for new gym deals, home workout equipment and other things for sale that promise to help us lose weight. And while many of those things are beneficial in helping us shed those excess lbs, the reality is that many of us are not fitness fanatics…and that’s ok! Like many other things, getting in shape starts by building small yet consistent habits. Whether it’s walking around your neighborhood or dancing around your living room to your favorite album, get moving for at least 30 minutes every day. A Study by The American Journal of Epidemiology
found replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with any kind of physical activity could help you live longer and reduce your risk of chronic illness.
Be More Grateful
Do you remember those speeches you used to get from your elders telling you to be grateful for what you have? Well, its time to apply those speeches to the present. Practicing gratitude has been scientifically proven to improve self-esteem
by drawing you away from the temptation to compare yourself to others. Gratitude also helps reduce negative emotions that have an impact on our physical health like fear and resentment.
Spend More Time Outdoors
If you can find time in your schedule for a socially distanced walk or run in the park, you’ll find that it’ll have a profound effect on your health. This study found that spending a minimum of 120 minutes per week outdoors decreases heart rate and improves psychological well-being. It should also be mentioned that being outdoors increases your exposure to sunlight, which is vital to receiving the vitamin D our bodies need.
Say No And Don’t Apologize For It
Many times, we say yes to things we really don’t want in an effort to appease others or, in tough situations, keep the peace. In 2021, it’s time to choose YOU. It’s ok to say no to that invite if you’d rather stay in, or to that favor that’s being asked of you that will cause a major interruption to your day. Saying no to things that we don’t have the bandwidth to commit to allows us to reserve our time and energy for the things we must get done for ourselves first. It’s not an easy thing to do at first. But down the line, it makes saying yes to the right things even easier. Remember that no is a complete sentence.