Most of us go into the new year hoping that this will finally be the one that changes everything for the better. Our health goals tend to be at the top of the list of our New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes these goals require sacrifices in the moment to reap the benefits later — like taking time out of bingeing TV to exercise for a bit — but those compromises don’t always have to be monumental. As you’re trying to be healthier, small changes to your daily habits can make a surprisingly big difference to your overall health, especially as the effects accumulate over time.
We’ve got a dozen healthy habits that can help you enjoy better physical and mental health in the coming year, all backed by science.
12 daily habits for your health
Here, we’re talking about small adjustments that benefit every human. With these minor modifications to your daily routine, you can start working toward better health without having to give up a ton of time, money or enjoyment.
1. Prioritize sleep
Going without sleep is a lot like expecting your phone to run all day on a 12% battery. Your body needs time to not just rest and recharge, but also to do important work like learn new things and solidify memories.
Adults should get at least seven hours of shut-eye each night. If this is a challenge for you, turn to your circadian rhythm. This is your body’s natural process that should help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
How do you use your circadian rhythm for better sleep? Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
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2. Walk more
Heading out for a stroll boosts your physical and mental health, so it’s well worth adding to your list of healthy daily habits.
On the physical front, regular walking supports your immune system, reduces joint pain and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Any exercise helps your mental health, and that includes walking. If you want to shift your daily habits to combat symptoms of depression or anxiety or to boost your mental wellness in general, make it a point to lace up your walking shoes each day.
3. Read for 30 minutes
Feeling stressed? Crack open a book. One study found that a half hour of reading can have the same stress-busting effect as known sources of calm, like yoga and humor.
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