Improve your Health and Wellness in the New Year

January 8, 2015

Embrace the New Year by reflecting on the past and making small improvements to your health and wellness in the year ahead. 

new year's resolutions - improve your health for the new year

This post is sponsored by the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. I was compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own. 

A new year means time to reflect on the past and move forward to the future and the year ahead. I don’t like to dwell too much on the former, but I do think it’s important to take a few moments to meditate on what has transpired in the past year – what goals were set, whether or not they were achieved and why, and what could have been done differently. Then off into the New Year we go! What are the new goals, how will they be achieved, and what can you apply from the previous year’s lessons? Those are good questions to ask as you step into 2015!

I’ve said it before: I’m not big on resolutions. I think they get hyped up and often lead to disappointment if they are not achieved. But I do believe in constantly trying to improve oneself and do better – whether that’s being a better friend/spouse/daughter/mother, being more punctual (since I have had kids this is one I struggle with a lot), or living a better (i.e. healthier) lifestyle.

One of the ways in which I want to improve myself in 2015 is to be more punctual to yoga. It doesn’t seem like this would be such a difficult endeavor, but it’s been a challenge for me and is important for my health and well-being. Yoga is my “me time;” a chance for me to close my eyes, take deep breaths, and focus on myself. It is through yoga that I have been able to somewhat achieve my focus for 2014  – calm, strength, and concentration. I want to keep that going, and to do so I need to make a greater effort to be on time. To settle into my mat and take some breaths before class starts, rather than rushing in a few minutes late and missing those first few moments that are necessary to slow down. If I can make it on time, or even a few minutes early, once a week, that will be a success for me.

How does this apply to you?

Whatever you are trying to improve this year – whether it’s one thing or ten – take it a step at a time, and remember that small successes lead to big ones down the road. Something as little as adding a serving of vegetables every day, for example, may not seem like a big deal, but it can make a difference if your ultimate goal is to be healthier and maintain a healthy weight.

eat more vegetables - new year's resolutions - improve your health for the new year

Believe it or not, more than 90 percent of Americans don’t get the daily recommended amount of vegetables, which means they’re missing out on important nutrients, and ones that come with few calories attached. It really isn’t that difficult to add one serving of vegetables per day. In my house we incorporate vegetables in a variety of ways like adding sautéed mushrooms to quiches, mixing pureed butternut squash into macaroni and cheese, and making jam out of tomatoes. I’ve even managed to get my kids to eat raw peppers, cucumbers, and carrots by serving them with bean dips or salad dressing!

With the availability of vegetables in all forms, including fresh, frozen and canned, it’s easier than ever to make vegetables a delicious part of the meal. Head over to the Bell Institute for Health and Nutrition website for great resources about adding vegetables to your diet and a variety of other nutrition topics, including this All Forms Matter fact sheet.

I’ll make you a deal – I’ll get to yoga on time at least once this week and you add one serving of vegetables (or go for a 30 minute bike ride, wake up a half-hour earlier, or whatever small improvement you’re trying to make) and we can share our successes together. Comment here, tweet to me, post on my facebook page, or even email me to let me know how you do!

What do you want to improve in 2015?

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  1. So, this habit I have is that whenever I get home from work or home from anywhere, I always crave a snack! I think it is just a comfort thing! But, my goal is to find something to occupy myself or take my dog on an extra long walk when I get home! haha!

    1. Thanks for sharing Erin! I do this snacking thing when i get home too, especially if there are some real goodies lurking in my pantry as there have been over the holidays. Good luck working on this and keep me posted on what works to stop!

  2. Lovely post Jessica! I wish you the best with your goals for 2015. I totally know what you mean about struggling with punctuality once you have kids. My whole life I’ve been early or on-time to everything, but now with my 18 month old, things have changed. I need to try harder to still be on time, I don’t want to find myself using my daughter as an excuse for being late. Sure, sometimes it really is unavoidable, but by now I know I just need to schedule more time to get ready. We’ll see how it goes 🙂

    1. Thank you Sonali! I should stop blaming it on the kids and start planning more accordingly too! Good luck to you in this endeavor as well!

  3. We eat lots of veggies at dinner but one of my goals [really for the family] is to include more vegetables at every meal! Thanks for sharing some resources to help with that 🙂

    1. That’s a great goal and glad you found the resources helpful! Good luck achieving it – I am sure you will!