Creating Healthy New Year's Goals
By: Mia Chu, Peer Educator
January 7th, 2021
Happy New Year! 2020 was a challenging year for people globally. Many of us dealt with both physical and mental challenges, and it was difficult to make healthy lifestyle changes when the world around us was changing so rapidly and quickly. However, for many of us, the start of a new year brings new hope!
Like many other years in the past, the most popular New Year's Resolution of 2021 was to exercise and lose weight. Although COVID regulations can make goals a bit more difficult to reach, you can still do many healthy activities in 2021!
This blog is all about ideas for setting healthy lifestyle and exercise goals in 2021. We can often have large and vague goals that can be difficult to achieve, so I want to offer smaller and more sustainable habits that can be easily implemented into any college student's hectic life.
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"
- Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates
Although food is primarily fuel for our bodies, people consume certain types and amounts of food for various reasons. Many factors can influence a person's dietary habits, including geographic location, financial status, living conditions, ethnicity, personal values, and religion. With all of this in mind, sometimes changing a diet can be more difficult than you would think.
In college, many students tend to eat many high-fat, high-carbohydrate processed foods because these foods are often cheap, easily accessible, and are comfort foods. However, while highly processed foods are inexpensive, easy to access, and taste good, they can cause an individual to be more at risk for developing severe health conditions if they make up a large portion of a person's diet. Therefore, it is important to limit the amount of processed food you eat and to make sure to eat plenty of fresh produce, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. A college budget and limited kitchen appliances can make cooking healthy foods more difficult, but here are a few tips for creating healthy dietary habits in the new year.
Goal Idea 1: Eat fruits and vegetables as snacks throughout the week
As a busy college student, it can be easy to forget to eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. When you are on the go most of the time, you do not have a lot of time to sit down and eat a full meal. So, eating your recommended amount of fruits and veggies in the form of snacks rather than meals can help you incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine without taking up an excessive amount of time.
Some examples of fruit and vegetable-based snacks include: apples with cinnamon and peanut butter, carrot sticks and hummus, mini veggie wraps with a whole grain tortilla, a green or fruit smoothie, and orange slices with mixed nuts.
Goal Idea 2: Reduce added sugar consumption in your daily diet
Although most of us can agree that cane sugar tastes delicious, it does not have a lot of nutritional value. Luckily for us, there are many ways to cut down on added sugar intake without compromising taste!
Replacing candy or other desserts with similar tasting fruit or a lower sugar option (such as dark chocolate or cinnamon) can help curb sweet cravings. Also, switching from drinking sodas or other beverages with added sugars to drinking fruit infused water is a small change that can make a significant impact on your health.
Read more about managing stress as a college student through healthy eating by checking out our blog here!
Exercise benefits many aspects of our health. Among many other benefits, regular exercise helps improve circulation/cardiovascular function, bone and muscle strength, and mental health! Below are some ideas on how to incorporate exercise into your routine even with COVID regulations.
Goal Idea 1: Go on a run or walk outside a few days a week
Running is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and is also has many benefits for neurological health. If running isn't your thing, going for a brisk walk outside is also a great option to get your cardio in. Getting your exercise in outside, especially when it's sunny, has even more health benefits because you will be getting your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun!
Goal Idea 2: Combine spiritual, mental, and physical health by trying out yoga
Yoga is an exercise that incorporates spiritual and mental health practices into its philosophy. Many people find yoga to be a relaxing form of exercise and use it to help reduce stress. Another benefit of yoga is that you can do it anywhere as long as you have a towel or yoga mat, making it a more accessible form of exercise amidst COVID regulations. Regularly practicing yoga can also improve your flexibility, which helps benefit bones and muscles' overall health. As a Tech student, you have free membership to the Texas Tech REC Center, so check out the different yoga classes the REC has to offer here!
As shown in the tips above, living a healthy lifestyle in 2021 does not necessarily require you to make drastic changes in your routine. Through making small changes over time, you are already on track to feeling like your best self! At the RISE office, we want you to know that we believe in your ability to achieve any goal you might have for yourself. Incorporating healthy habits is a process that lasts a lifetime. Remember that you do not have to perfect to succeed in creating healthy habits.
Make 2021 your year to care for your mind, body, and soul!