You never have to wait for the new year to make looking after your health a priority, but what better time to start if it’s not yet a focus for you? With so many others dedicated to making this next year one they can look back on and be proud of, you’ll have the company to hold you accountable throughout the process.

But of course, “be healthier” is much too broad of a resolution to make, and we know that the broader the goal, the easier it is to not accomplish. Specificity matters, and that’s why we’re dropping you with 3 health-focused resolutions to help make this next year one your healthiest yet.

1. See Your Primary Care Physician

Most of us neglect the very basics, and a trip to see your PCP is the bare minimum you can do to take steps toward your health this year. Even if you don’t feel sick or in need of an annual exam, it’s still necessary.

An annual exam can provide you with much needed check-ups to continuously have a baseline of how your body is functioning, along with any notes or observations you have that you might not know could indicate an opportunity for care.

When you go in for your annual exam, especially if it’s been a couple years, here are a few things they may do:

  • Give you a general physical
  • Discuss your current lifestyle
  • Discuss the goals you have
  • Consider your mental health
  • Perform preventative screenings
  • Routine lab work

Depending on any insights during your visit, they may schedule follow-up appointments and even help you determine a specific goal for your new year’s health resolution.

2. Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle

Notice that this doesn’t say to excel or accomplish every health goal you have. The commitment here is the goal. When you actually commit to the resolution itself, you’re more likely to approach challenges with a mindset to overcome them rather than allow them to derail your progress.

The main difference between a healthy lifestyle and a single goal is that the lifestyle is all-encompassing. It means committing to considering your health with many life choices, from the beverages you drink daily to the relationships you have with other people.

There are opportunities to make healthy decisions in so many areas of our lives. If you only make a goal to drink more water, for example, the health benefits will end with that one goal. If you commit to a healthy lifestyle, there are no limits to what that means for the choices you make.

For example, a healthy lifestyle would include:

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Stress management
  • Vitamins
  • Hydration
  • Relationships
  • Entertainment choices
  • Work life balance

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but one that can help you picture what a healthy lifestyle would encompass. Committing to that lifestyle involves keeping these areas front of mind, but not necessarily changing them all at the same time.

That’s why it’s a resolution that can take a year to accomplish! Bit by bit, you’ll find that making decisions to enhance your healthy lifestyle in one area will lead to better choices in another.

healthy new years resolutions

3. Encourage Others to Join You

When we do things with others, we do them better and are more likely to continue doing them. For many of us, it’s harder to let someone else down than it is to let ourselves down. And while we could make that in itself a resolution for the new year, focusing on who should be with you on your health journey will help put you in a place to tackle that goal next year.

Many people choose to include their life partners and families—those we interact with daily— for a resolution like this. They tend to be the most effective and rewarding accountability partners. But you can choose anyone to invite along with your journey!

A best friend. A neighbor. A coworker. You can even encourage all of them to join you. With a New Year’s resolution that involves health, the more people on board, the better.

You can also join an online health group where you can set goals and share them with others. You don’t have to go about this alone.

Even if you invite people who can only commit to one specific goal, it’s worth it.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be high pressure, even when they’re health-related. These three will focus your daily intentions so you can come out of this next year feeling better, having more energy, and enjoying life on a level you may not even realize is possible.

To get started with #1, make sure to choose a primary care physician and schedule your appointment today!

Dr. Bertie Bregman
Dr. Bertie Bregman
Full Stack Family Medicine is a newsletter about what it’s really like to practice medicine and run a medical practice in New York City.
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