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Healthy New Year’s Resolution Ideas

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DISCLAIMER:  This article may contain affiliate links and we may earn a small commission if you purchase through one of our affiliate links.  We only recommend products we love.

While sitting in a coffee shop on the Navy base in Yokosuka, Japan today, I told my wife I was going to write a blog called “10 Healthy New Year’s Resolution Ideas…that aren’t about losing weight”.  She, being the beautiful and brilliant project manager and engineer that she is, immediately said, “Oh, you mean focusing on leading metrics rather than lagging metrics?”  Yes, my wonderful wife, yes indeed.  And here I thought she was going to say something like, “That’s kind of a long title”.

Her comment does, in fact, capture my intention for this blog perfectly though.

In “performance management”, when you talk about lagging metrics, you’re talking about things that are usually easy to measure but difficult to directly influence.  When you’re running a business, profit is an example of a lagging metric.  You can usually easily look at the bottom line and see how much profit you made this month, but it doesn’t help much to simply say, “We resolve to make more profit this month.”  In order the change the profit, you must look at the leading metrics and make changes there.  You focus on customer experience, product improvement, advertising tweaks, relationship building, and many other small changes that build over time and eventually lead to profit.

Of course, the lagging metric in health is usually the number on that stupid scale. You can (and probably do) check it just about every day.  Maybe several times a day.  It’s super easy to measure, but you can’t go out and directly decrease your weight this month.  You have to focus your time and energy on the small actions that eventually lead to a decrease in weight.

Oh, and not to be a total downer on the typical New Year’s resolution, but the number on the scale probably isn’t what you really want when you get right down to it anyway.  It seems a bit obvious when I say it this way, but if I just went and turned your scale back 20 lbs so the number was lower but you felt the same, wore the same clothes, and had the same amount of energy, would you have reached your goal?  Of course not!  That would be like being rich but not getting to spend any of the money.  You want what you get when you get healthier, not just a lower number on the scale.

Bottom Line:  Focusing on small behaviors that you can directly influence will, over time, lead to the result you want.  So, if you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution this year, make healthy behavior-based resolutions rather than results-based resolutions.

10 Healthy New Year's Resolution Ideas...that aren't weight loss

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

1 – Breakfast Resolution: You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?  I think the idea that it’s the most important meal of the day is a bit overblown, but it’s true that it can set the tone for the day.  If you were to resolve to put clean, healthy foods in your body at the start of every day instead of processed food or skipping breakfast altogether, you’re more likely to have a healthier day overall.  You’ll have more energy, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment right from the start (kind of like making your bed), and you’ll tend to continue to make better choices throughout the day.

Of course, the hardest part about breakfast is that we often don’t wake up early enough to have time to prepare a healthy breakfast, so we skip it or grab something quick.  So, the most important part of making your breakfast revolution resolution stick is going to be planning.  You could use things like make-ahead egg muffins or DIY instant oatmeal packets to make sure you have something healthy AND easy to make in the morning.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

2 – Hydration Resolution: I’m not one for the idea of drinking 4 gallons of water a day and carrying around a gallon pitcher everywhere you go, but hydration is important and absolutely neglected by most of us.  Hydration affects so many aspects of your health that it had to make this list.  Water is just so critical in your body for so many reasons including sciency things like cell to cell communication and oxygen delivery to cells (that sounds really important).  Plus, it really does affect weight loss.

You’ve probably seen some posts out there telling you to drink half your body weight in ounces (e.g.  150 lbs = 75 ounces per day).  That’s not a bad starting point for most people, but don’t take it too far.  Just like with calorie calculators you might find on the internet, it works fine and makes sense for many people, but people that are very small or significantly overweight tend to get unmanageable and unrealistic numbers from standards like these.  So, please take that into consideration and drink what you can within reason.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

3 – Ditch Processed Food Resolution: Is it a bit self-serving to have one of these resolutions be “do 90/10 Nutrition”?  Possibly…but it really is a very easy to track and impactful resolution.  You have one place to look:  The ingredients list.

What if you resolved to ditch processed food 90% of the time?  How would you track that?  Easy.  Just follow the 90/10 system as outlined in our Academy.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

4 – Eat More Plants Resolution: We could all probably stand to include more plants (and especially brightly colored, antioxidant-rich green plants) in our daily diet.  You could resolve to include a green vegetable at breakfast.  This may sound odd, but I’m in Japan right now and salads at breakfast are pretty normal.  There are lots of ways to implement a resolution to eat more plants, but for most of us, just adding a bit here or there would be a huge improvement.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

5 – Food Sourcing Resolution: Where your food comes from is highly related to what’s in it.  The closer you can trace your food back to its origin, the more likely you are to know what’s in it, and the more likely it is to be healthy.  Can you trace the ingredients in the bun of a McDonald’s hamburger back to their origin?  Difficult at best!  Can you track the origin of the avocado or steak you bought at the local farmer’s market back to their origin?  Not difficult at all!

So, what if you resolved to get as much of your food as possible from sources you can trace?  You can start with things like farmer’s markets and local farms and then move to online programs like Butcher Box and Thrive Market that sell foods that are more concerned with disclosing sources (if you can’t get everything locally).

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

6 – Eating Mindfully Resolution: Many people don’t realize that how you eat is just as important as what you eat.  Your digestive system is actually designed to work when you are in a relaxed or non-stressed state.  Stress tends to shut down and divert energy from important digestive functions like stomach acid secretion.  Our modern lifestyle is not in tune with this at all.  We eat in the car as we drive 80 mph in stressful traffic or stuff our lunch down quickly before a big meeting.  We physically cannot properly digest our food in these conditions and that makes a difference in nutrient absorption and overall system function.  It can literally affect your ability to lose weight when you consistently eat in a stressed condition.  You can learn more about this in the webinar I did on digestion here.

So, what if you resolved to give yourself 20-30 minutes to eat your 3 square meals a day in a lower stress environment?  What if you made it a habit to get up a few minutes earlier to have a relaxing breakfast, and you took 20 minutes to eat your lunch in peace, and you carved out time to relax for dinner?  I realize this may seem impossible for many of you, and I get that.  Maybe some of the others in this list are more doable, but I implore you to give this one consideration.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

7 – Movement Resolution: If you’ve got some kind of major workout resolution planned, that’s probably fine as well, but just resolving to get a little movement in every day can add up to a huge difference over the course of a few months or a year.  You don’t have to complete P90X or go to CrossFit every day to be a success (although I have no problem with either of those options).

Just resolving to move intentionally for 30-60 minutes a day without some kind of life-changing before and after picture in mind can be quite transformative.  You can even incorporate other activities like listening to audio books.  You can learn a new language while you walk, listen to some novels, become a better leader, and more.  Audible is an amazing tool and walking is not to be discounted as a valid form of transformative exercise.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

8 – Sleep Resolution:  You had to know sleep was going to be on this list, right?  If this seems impossible, maybe it’s the one you need the most.  Ouch.  Getting adequate sleep has been heralded for decades or even centuries as being critical to good health.  Energy levels, decision making, etc, etc, etc.  Making a resolution to get more sleep can affect your overall health in wonderful ways.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

9 – Stretch and Strength Resolution: Getting some movement every day (see #7) is great, but in the quest for weight loss, we historically overdo the cardio and neglect the strength and the stretch even though both have been shown to be beneficial to weight loss as well as overall health.  So, set a resolution to get in 3 simple strength and stretch sessions per week.  It doesn’t have to be dramatic.  Just consistent.

Use the navigation at the bottom of each resolution to go to the next one.

healthy new year's resolution ideas

10 – Say NO Resolution: This is my favorite one of all.  Give yourself permission to say “NO” (politely) to commitments that add stress to your life and keep you from achieving your health goals.  One option is to find something to give up for every new thing you take on so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.

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