New Year’s Eve and a new year are just around the corner, and that means that people are starting to choose their New Year’s Resolutions. And seeing as “losing weight” and “staying fit and healthy” are both listed as common New Year’s Resolutions, we’re willing to bet that at some point you’ve probably thought about how you can live a healthier lifestyle in 2015.

Though many health-related lifestyle changes will (and should) be unique and based on your individual needs, there are also some universal health tips that can help you reach your goals and improve your general health overall. So whether you’ve set an official resolution or you’re looking for a few simple healthy living tips to use next year, we’ve got you covered! Here are five simple guidelines and tips you can use to start building better healthy living habits in 2015:

1. If you’re choosing a health-related resolution, understand why you’re picking it. Anyone can say, “I want to do this.” But without a strong motivator behind your statement, you’ll drastically reduce your chances of successfully reaching your final goals. So whether you’re aiming to boost your energy levels, improve certain areas of your health or do something else entirely, be sure that you understand exactly what you’re aiming to do and why you’re aiming to do it. That inspiration is what will ultimately help you accomplish your resolution and goals.

2. Whether you’ve picked a single resolution or you have a general health-related aspiration, you should put everything down into attainable goals and map out your plan. How many times have you felt too overwhelmed to work on your to do list? Unfortunately without proper planning, your health goals for 2015 will face this same neglection. To avoid this pitfall, you should take steps now to prepare for next year by mapping out when you’ll schedule and incorporate different health-related activities into your life. However, it’s important to remember while making these plans is that your health-related goals will never be accomplished overnight. After all, tackling one smaller goal at a time (like reducing your overall sugar intake) is much easier than tackling a broad, ambiguous goal (like “I want to be healthier”).So as you map out your plan and timeline, be sure to map out reasonable SMART goals that will ultimately lead to your final overall accomplishment. This planning takes a little extra work, but it’s worth it - and you’ll be surprised by how much easier a major healthy lifestyle change is when you work towards it one small step at a time!

3. Try to unplug daily. TVs, computers, phones and other modern electronics surround us during our daily lives. Unfortunately, staying plugged in to electronics can have negative effects on our health. In fact media overload has been tied to depression, anxiety, sleep problems and other health issues. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to combat any potential health issues associated with your electronics: just unplug! Taking breaks – whether they’re an hour, 10 hours or even an entire day – from your electronics and screens will help give your body and mind time to recharge. Even just turning your electronics and screens off an hour before you want to fall asleep will help boost your health and energy, since exposure to screen lights contribute to sleep deprivation.

4. Start tracking what you eat and aim to eat well. Even if you don’t have any weight loss or health-related New Year’s resolutions, tracking what you eat with an app or food journal can go a long way in helping you create a better you. By understanding exactly what you’re eating and when, you can consciously choose to eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods. Then you can tweak your diet and ensure that you’re on the right track to a healthy eating plan. Tracking your intake can also help you identify when you tend to snack and help you create a healthy snacking plan that will make you feel good and contribute to good health.

5. Remember to take things slow, stay the course and use reliable resources in 2015. It can be easy to feel like your healthy living efforts aren’t working, especially with so many fad diet and fitness magazines promising fantastic results quickly. However, it’s important to remember that advertised radical diets and fitness routines are unrealistic, hard to follow and can even be dangerous. Because of this, you’re much better off going one step at a time in your efforts to reach your final goals. This means you should work towards your final goal in phases while making realistic changes, working with doctors and nutritionists, and using certified resources and tools – such as those provided by the USDA - to build a better you. Doing things the right way will help ensure that you can eventually reach your final goal – and the results will last longer, too!

Whether you’ve picked a new year’s resolution or you’re just looking for ways to improve your health generally, these five basic tips can help you make 2015 a better, healthier year all around. If you’re looking for more specialized tips tailored to your specific needs and goals, we encourage you to call our offices – and if we can’t help you in-house, we’ll be happy to refer you to someone who can!

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