The start of a new year is an exciting time for setting goals and resolving to make positive changes in our lives. For many, this often includes a focus on health and wellness. If you're looking to kickstart the new year on the right foot, here are a few tips based on scientific research to help you get started.
5 Scientifically-Backed Tips for Kicking Off the New Year with Health and Wellness
Set realistic goals.
It's important to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help increase the chances of success and prevent frustration or disappointment. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (Duda, 1992), individuals who set specific and challenging goals are more likely to achieve them compared to those who set vague or easy goals.
Make a plan.
After setting your goals, it's important to create a plan of action to help you achieve them. This might include scheduling workouts or meal planning for the week. Research has shown that individuals who have a specific plan in place are more likely to stick to their goals compared to those who do not (Gollwitzer, 1993).
Get enough sleep.
Adequate sleep is crucial for overall health and wellness. Research shows that adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night (AASM, 2015). Lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of negative health outcomes, including an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes (Cappuccio et al., 2010).
Eat a healthy diet.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help improve energy levels, boost immune function, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Fung et al., 2016) found that a healthy diet was associated with a longer lifespan and a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Practice stress management techniques.
Chronic stress can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help manage stress and improve overall well-being. A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine (Davidson et al., 2003) found that participants who practiced mindfulness meditation experienced a significant reduction in stress and an improvement in overall well-being.
By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can set yourself up for success in the new year and take steps towards improving your health and wellness.
Remember to be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way.
- American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). (2015). Recommendations for adult sleep duration. Retrieved from https://www.aasm.org/resources/factsheets/recommended_sleep_durations.pdf
- Cappuccio, F. P., Taggart, F. M., Kandala, N. B., Currie, A., Peile, E., Stranges, S., & Miller, M. A. (2010). Meta-analysis of short sleep duration and obesity in children and adults. Sleep, 33(5), 585-592.
- Davidson, R. J., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S. F., ... Sheridan, J. F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564-570