Each year, January 1 brings with it another round of healthy New Year's resolutions. Make this year's promises practical enough to keep.
Every year, millions of people around the world make promises to themselves to be healthier, more productive, more charitable, and a host of other well-meaning things. But how many of those healthy New Year's resolutions are carried out? While there's no official statistic on it, most people would probably agree the number is disappointingly low.
That's why this year, instead of setting unrealistic goals, we're suggesting practical and healthy New Year's resolutions. Some of these resolutions may sound familiar, but hear us out; even common resolutions can have alternative approaches that make them more attainable, which means satisfaction from accomplishment rather than disappointment over falling short.
Notice that we didn't say to sign up for a gym membership. You can get to that later. Among healthy New Year's resolutions, this is as simple as it gets. Start exercising more in any way you can, whether it's doing leg extensions at your desk at work, walking or biking instead of driving, lifting weights, or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator. When one exercise becomes routine, add another. As the healthy habits compound, so will your energy and confidence.
So many healthy New Year's resolutions include going on a gimmicky diet. Those tend to peter out after they've barely begun. Like with exercising, start small. Cut out fast food and daytime snacking. Eat smaller portions. And one of the most important, though no longer so surprising smart-eating habits: cut soda from your diet. Even "diet" sodas have high concentrations of corn syrup, which can lead to drastic weight gain and other health problems.
Sign up for health insurance
With the ever-changing face of health care in the United States, health insurance is something that some people choose to go without, even when they do have the option of an insurance policy. While there are certainly valid financial reasons to skip insurance, it's not worth your health in the long run. The plans created through the Affordable Care Act provide many options for coverage in case of emergencies and beyond. If you don't already have health insurance, make this one of your top healthy New Year's resolutions.
This is another fairly common resolution, but it's one that can have a positive effect throughout your life. Besides lowering the risk of lung, throat, mouth, and many other types of cancer, quitting smoking can save you a big chunk of change. In addition to the money you'll save not buying cigarettes—which can add up to hundreds of dollars a year—you'll save 15-20% on many health insurance premiums just for kicking the habit. (If you don't smoke, don't worry; you're already saving that much!) And with the Affordable Care Act requiring smoking cessation therapy and medication to be included in plans underwritten after September 2010, there's never been a better time to kick the habit.
Less social media, more in-person visits
A study from 2010 suggests that a lack of social connections can be as detrimental to your health as smoking or drinking. And while social media creates some connection, it's no substitute for the real thing, especially in cases where social media creates illusions about people's lives that aren't real. The next time you feel like getting in touch with Aunt Rita, give her a call or better yet, pay her a visit.
Clean out your basement and/or garage
Clutter tends to build in storage areas, but what we often don't see are the mold spores that grow within. These spores become airborne and can create health problems. Clean your storage spaces annually to help to reduce health problems associated with mold and mildew. While you're down there, check on your furnace or water heater. Think of it as a resolution plus one.
Whether through meditation, getting more sleep, or taking a vacation (where you can turn off your smartphone), hitting the human reset button is important for your health. Lowering stress lowers blood pressure and can even decrease your risk of obesity and—this one's really important—cancer. If you're making a list of healthy New Year's resolutions, this one should definitely be on there.
You already know that volunteering helps your community and people in need, but it also decreases your risk of depression and can contribute to a less stressful lifestyle. You might be surprised by the things you learn along the way.
Sure, it sounds dreary, but afterlife planning is an important part of our adult lives. Consider creating a will, make sure you have a life insurance policy in place, and if you're getting on in years, you might even consider preplanned funeral arrangements. It's not an enjoyable resolution, but it's one your loved ones will be glad you committed to.
Get pet insurance
Healthy New Year's resolutions include the family dog or cat! Pet insurance is an affordable way to help you manage those unforeseen vet bills when Fido eats the insides of his stuffed chew toy. Make sure everyone in your family is healthy this New Year—even if they're furry and walk on all fours.
From your pets to your home to your car, insurance is more affordable than you might think. Contact your Pekin Insurance agent to find out more about how you can protect your family.