5 Healthy Habits To Kickstart The New Year

The new year is here – you can feel the adrenaline taking over and you are raring to go. But where do you channel all this energy? And how do you make sure you don’t lose steam?

We have 5 practical and doable tips that are the answer to that centuries-old problem of “How do I stick to my resolutions?”. You’ll be doing your body a big favor but without having to work too hard. You don’t want to miss this! 

1. Make New Foodie Friends  

Expand your dietary vocabulary to include more new and exciting, weird and wonderful foods. Include native ingredients your grandparents used to cook with – they are still very much in the market, just forgotten!

Start with whole grains. At least once every month, swap out your grocery order of regular white rice and atta for a new grain. Try exciting recipes using ancient grains and gluten-free or multigrain alternatives. Discover a love of ragi in your chocolate cake recipe, the texture and bite from barley in your porridge or salad, or the nuttiness of bajra or jowar in your rotis.  

They are full of fiber, nutrients, and keep you feeling full longer so you may even lose some weight in the bargain. Plus, whole grains can lower the risk of some cancers, heart disease, and diabetes.  

2. Don’t Focus On Exercise 

Yes, you read that right. While everyone is telling you to focus on squeezing in an hour of exercise, we tell you to look at the rest of the day. When you are NOT exercising. 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT looks at the calorie burn in this “downtime.” And there are simple ways to increase the calorie burn from NEAT – a standing desk at work, walking during phone calls, getting up for a short walk down the hallway every half hour or hour, taking the stairs and not the lift. Find out more here

3. Feed Your Gut 

It’s time to make your gut happy and probiotics and prebiotics are the way to go. Fermented foods like dosa, idli, appam, akhuni (fermented soybean) are good news and so is that katori of curd. You can also explore options like kimchi and sauerkraut and that drink of the cool crew and the modern hippie – kombucha.  

These foods contain bacterial strains that help populate the good bacteria in your gut, giving your immune system a boost. Besides helping with problems like irritable bowel syndrome and aiding digestion, it could even have a positive effect on your mood and behavior! 

4. Sleep Through the Year 

Well, not all of it! But focus on getting a full night’s rest every night. And it’s probably one resolution you’ll eventually enjoy keeping. The US National Sleep Foundation says that about 7–9 hours of sleep per night for the average adult is just perfect.  

Time your TV shows and night-time reading so you can shut down at a decent hour.  If you get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, you elevate your risk of developing problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and may experience weight gain. 

5. Don’t Fight Stress Anymore   

Instead learn to cope with it better or avoid it altogether. Stress has a ripple effect on so many other aspects of your health and fitness, it just isn’t worth ignoring anymore. Whether it is headaches, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, or bigger issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity, stress could have an insidious impact you may not even be aware of.  

The good news is stress busting can actually be a lot of fun. Dancing, music, yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can help you cope better with stress or wash away some of that mental load every day. Consciously make an effort to add these to your routine. Soon, it’ll come easy and make all the difference to your mind and body!