Small changes to make your 2017 a little healthier

Posted on December 29, 2016 by Brynna Gabrielson

2017Making New Year's resolutions always seems like a great idea on the 1st of January, but keeping those resolutions can prove quite tricky for many of us. In a YouGov poll from 2015, for example, 63% of people admitted to breaking a resolution in the past, the majority doing so within a month of setting it! There are likely many reasons we give up our resolutions, though for us one of the main reasons is that we make them too big, too general and too difficult to achieve. If you do the same, then why not try making smaller changes in 2017 that are more likely to stick? Here are some ideas to get you rolling.

Cut back the sugar in your drinks
It's fairly common knowledge that most people consume more sugar per day than recommended. According to the NHS we shouldn't be consuming more than 30g (about 6 tsps) of added sugars per day and average consumption is nearly double that! Quitting sugar outright might seem like a good idea, but it can be difficult to go cold turkey - especially with something that's in so many foods we eat. If you want to cut back on sugar but don't think cold turkey is the right way, start small. A great place to look is in the beverages you're consuming each day. If you take two sugars with your tea or coffee, resolve to cut it back to one (or none). If you drink a can of cola every day, replace it with a glass of water. And don't forget that sugar in fruit juice is classified as an added sugar so try not to drink more than one serving a day.

Increase your step count by 20% a month
Getting fit is a common resolution, and you may find yourself tempted to run out and join a gym this January. But before you sign up for a 12 month membership, ask yourself if you really see yourself using it regularly all year? If the answer is no, perhaps it's best to sit out the costly membership for now and look for smaller ways you can improve your fitness. Start by figuring out how much you actually move in a day - use your phone or a fitness tracker like a Fitbit to measure your steps. If you discover you only do about 4,000 steps per day, why not resolve to increase that amount by 20%? And then keep  increasing it every month. You'll be well over 10,000 steps within 6 months!

Add one more serving of veg to your dinner
Eating healthier is a common resolution we all make, but it's so general it's easy to let it slip. Instead of just resolving to have a healthier diet - set out some ways you're going to do that! One great idea is to simply up the amount of veg you eat each day. If you usually only have one serving with your dinner, bring it up to two! And here's a great trick - eat all your veg first, that way if you find yourself full before you've finished your plate, then you'll have at least filled up on the good stuff!

Go meat free once a week
There are lots of health benefits to cutting back on meat - or cutting it out completely. Going vegetarian or vegan is a big decision though. If you don't think you can take a meat free life, then why not look to cut it out of your diet at least once per week. Not only will your health benefit - but it could help the environment as well. After all meat production, particularly red meat, has a large carbon footprint - contributing to over 7% of greenhouse gasses1.

Get on your feet every hour
If you work in an office then you probably spend hours of your day sat at a desk. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can be incredibly bad for our health, even with regularly exercise2. So this year, why not resolve to get up on your feet more?  Try and get up and move about at least once an hour - if you find yourself forgetting set an alarm on your phone or get a fitness tracker that reminds you!  And if you want to take it even further, how about getting a standing desk?

Keep a healthy snack on hand
We don't know about you, but every afternoon around 3pm we find ourselves in that afternoon lull that seems to demand a snack. We oft find ourselves reaching for the biscuits - which aren't exactly the healthiest option. If you're in the same boat - then do as we plan and resolve to keep a stock of healthy snacks on hand! Try keeping a small bowl of fruit on your desk - or a box of oatcakes nearby.