New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of another year is already upon us! It seems like every time another year goes by, the next one passes by even quicker. The end of the year pushes many people to set new goals for themselves that they didn’t achieve in the year prior- usually health related. However, if you’re like me, setting realistic and achievable goals for yourself sounds very confusing and scary to do on your own. I have put together a list of very achievable goals for you to try in the upcoming year. When brainstorming ideas for achievable goals, I wanted to touch base on all aspects of life like exercise, socializing, food and even sleep!

Meeting new people can seem intimidating especially if you’re not a very outgoing person. This doesn’t mean you have to go out of your way to meet someone new, but more-so having an open mind when you go to a restaurant, local gym or even while walking on the trail. A simple “hi” when you walk by someone is a great effort at achieving this goal. Meeting new people is a great overall mood booster, opens you to more opportunities and they may even become a new accountability partner for you! When you allow yourself to meet new people outside of your typical friend group, it allows your mind to explore new personalities and broaden the horizon’s.

Being active is something I think every person should strive for. It is so good for both physical health and mental health. It doesn’t have to be anything very strenuous or long but just 20-30 minutes of some type of activity outside of your everyday routine can greatly improve your overall health. Walking, biking or even yoga are all great ways to stay active. Additionally, increasing your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), is also a great way to increase everyday activity. Some ways to increase your NEAT would be parking farther away from the door at work or the grocery store, walking or biking to a destination if it’s a reasonable distance or even purchasing a stand-up desk if you sit at a computer for most of the day. Being active isn’t as complicated as people think and is one of the best routes to longevity.

Quality sleep is also key to both physical and mental health. Without quality sleep, our brains can’t function at their best, our immune systems suffer, and it takes a large toll on our bodies. The key to quality sleep is at least 6-7 hours for healthy adults and 8+ hours for teens and children. Teens and children need a lot more sleep than adults because their bodies are still growing and developing so their energy expenditure is a lot higher than adults. However, the more strain you place on your body and the more active you are, the more sleep you need. Some simple things to try if you struggle getting adequate sleep at night are to read before bed, turn your electronics off at least an hour before bedtime or even getting blackout curtains for your windows. Yes, believe it or not, having a pitch-black room improves sleep quality immensely.

Trying new foods and recipes is just a fun goal that I think is achievable for everyone. Next time you make your favorite pasta dish try adding a veggie or two either right in the pasta or on the side. Trying to incorporate more vegetables into your meals provides your body with more nutrients and opens your tastebuds up to new foods and textures. You could even try making a whole new recipe! Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we can’t still learn new things, right? New recipes are fun to make and once you’ve mastered it, then you can even try swapping things in and out to boost up the nutritional value. For example, taking your favorite pasta dish and switching out the regular noodles for whole grain or chickpea noodles is a great and easy swap. Pair this with those extra veggies and you’ve got yourself a very nutritional dish!

I hope you can give at least one of these goals a try in the upcoming year and don’t forget to have fun with it! Reaching goals is good but having fun while doing so is even better.

Cassie Oman

Cassandra R. Oman is a dietetic student at Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Family Consumer Science- Dietetics, I plan on attending graduate school to obtain my master’s in dietetics. A few things I love most with nutrition is trying new recipes, figuring out ways I can make a dish more balanced and I have always been fascinated by carbohydrates and their significance to active lifestyles. I personally am a very active person and enjoy walking, running and CrossFit. Being an active person most of my life has taught me the importance of fueling my body with good food and sparked my interest in becoming a Registered Dietitian.

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