A new year often brings new plans for healthier living, but research has shown that only 9% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions actually complete them. Overly ambitious health and wellness goals can often lead to abandoned resolutions. But what if it were easier?
Remember: Health is more than a toned physique. Take it from the U.S. Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) system, which focuses on five pillars of readiness — physical, mental, nutritional, spiritual and sleep — for Soldiers to incorporate into their daily routines. By following these 5 simple tips from health experts in the H2F system, you can start making small changes to your everyday routine — so when December comes around, every new habit will add to a difference you can see.
1. Make Moves That Make Sense.
Sticking to an exercise routine is all about finding what works for you. Choose workouts you enjoy or have always wanted to try. Staff Sgt. Andrea Marie Ramos, a Soldier who regularly uses Army H2F programming, recommends incorporating functional movements that mimic daily activities. For example, weighted squats can help with everyday lifting and yoga can encourage better breathing. Functional movements can make your workouts feel less like work, and you’ll reap the benefits in your everyday life.
2. Write it Out.
When our minds get cluttered, putting our thoughts down on paper has been shown to better our mental health. Writing even a few lines regularly about ourselves and our days helps clear space to focus on what matters. According to Maj. Donald Chase, the H2F mental readiness domain expert, practicing gratitude and reflection in this way can help us be more resilient in tough times.
3. Enjoy What You Eat.
Eating healthier can feel like an overwhelming goal, but a better mindset toward food can make it feel more attainable. H2F nutrition expert Capt. Savannah Gideon believes food shouldn’t be judged as good or bad but should be a fun experience. Fill your plate with balanced meals you actually like that also work toward your overall goal, whether it’s performance, energy building or more. A positive relationship with food is the foundation of better nutrition.
4. See Outside Yourself.
There’s nothing like the great outdoors to feed your soul. Maj. Joel Payne, a chaplain in the Army, encourages getting outside daily, even just a quick walk, to tap into your spiritual core. Maj. Payne helps to lead the “Tough in Spirit” program, connected to the spiritual readiness domain, helping Soldiers face adversity through belonging and purpose. You don’t need to be religious to be spiritual — it’s all about finding connection, an important part of everyone’s wellbeing.
5. Save Your Bed for Sleep.
Sleep is an often overlooked but critical piece of your health. One simple habit for a better night’s rest: Avoid working, scrolling your phone, or doing anything besides sleeping in bed. According to sleep expert Maj. Allison Brager, this helps your mind and body associate bed with relaxation, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Find out more about fitness in the U.S. Army and what a Soldier’s healthy habits can do for you and ring in the new year with achievable resolutions that can last a lifetime. It all starts with you.