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Make 2023 Your Year

2023 is just around the corner, and with it, New Year’s Resolutions. Brace yourself for Instagram influencers sharing “New Year, New You” workout challenges, and other diet and exercise tips to “Burn Off Holiday Calories” or “Lose 5 Pounds in January”. Now, we don’t have time to unpack all of that, but I hope that you enjoyed every Christmas cookie, pie, and delicious holiday meal and that you know that not a single bite needs to be earned by working out. So, in 2023, skip the fad diets, restriction, and gym punishments and instead focus on building healthy habits that will improve your overall well-being, well past January. Without further ado, here are 8 New Year’s Resolutions that have nothing to do with your weight.

1. Practice mindfulness

A healthy body starts with a healthy mind. We often focus on our physical health, and the physical exercises that we do to maintain this. Similarly, regular mental exercises such as mindfulness and meditation can help support your mental health. The practice of mindfulness works to improve your ability to be present, and can reduce anxiety caused by ruminating over past experiences or stress over future possibilities. Start with 5 minutes of mindfulness or breathing exercises per day, and later you can work to increase this.

2. Once a week, call a new friend or family member

Challenge yourself to pick up the phone and catch up with someone who you don’t do this with often (i.e. not your best friend or mom that you already call multiple times per week). The human connection is so important for supporting our mental health, and I know you will make someone’s day when they see your name pop up on their phone!

3. Try a new recipe once a month

It is so easy to get stuck making the same dishes on rotation. This is something that I personally want to improve on! Not only is making something new a fun way to try a new cuisine or add some spice (pun intended) to your routine, but it can also introduce different nutrients to your diet. Bonus if you challenge yourself to cook with in season vegetables or support a local farmer’s market when you shop!

4. Read one new book a month

Reading is great way to unwind and give you a break from the blue light of screens that can disrupt your circadian rhythm. You can read to learn something new, or to escape to a different time and place. A good way to keep yourself motivated is to create a list of books that you are interested in reading and assign them to each month. Allocate 15 minutes before bedtime to read and you’ll be crossing books off of your list before you know it! It can also be fun, and increase accountability, to read the same book as a friend in a given month, and then discuss it when you both finish the book.

5. Average 8+ hours of sleep per night

We probably all know that sufficient sleep is imperative for our memory, muscle recovery, energy, and overall performance. However, about one third of Americans don’t get the 7-9 hours of sleep per night that is recommended by the CDC for adults over 18. Athletes are suggested to get even more sleep – 8 to 10 hours – to optimize performance. Improve your sleeping habits in 2023 by setting yourself a bedtime that will allow you to meet your sleep needs and starting your wind down routine 30-60 minutes before that. If you can’t get your 8+ hours overnight, try to squeeze in a nap during the day to meet your goal.

6. Go to all of your doctor’s appointments

Primary care, Dentist, Eye Doctor, Dermatologist, Ob-Gyn, Cardiologist, etc. Whoever you need to see, write them on a sticky note or document on your computer or phone. Call and schedule the appointments that you can now, add them to your calendar, and check those off the list. Keep your note to remind yourself to call back later for any that you need to schedule later in the year. It is so easy to push off finding providers or making appointments due to a busy schedule – I understand, I didn’t see a primary care doctor for 4 years during PT school- but preventative care is essential for early detection which reduces your risk of severe or chronic illness, disease, and death. Get all of the tests and bloodwork that you need and pat yourself on the back for prioritizing your health.

7. Practice gratitude

Gratitude practice is an excellent form of mindfulness and helps to remind us of what good things we have in our lives, which can be challenging especially when things seem to always be going wrong. Begin with a weekly practice of writing down 5-10 things that you are grateful for. Then, increase the frequency once you’ve got the weekly routine down.

8. Set yourself a new activity challenge

Give yourself time to brainstorm this one. What is something that you’ve been wanting to try, train for, or experience? Maybe you want to take dance classes, learn to ski, train for a race that you’ve never done before, start swimming, go hiking in Colorado, or qualify for Boston Marathon. The possibilities are endless and can be as easy or hard to attain as you choose. Pick something that excites you, and maybe is even a little bit scary! Then figure out what planning needs to be done – find somewhere to take a class, buy equipment, research training plans – and start your journey to trying something new.

I hope that this list inspires you to try something new to benefit your well-being this year. Thanks for reading! I wish you a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

Dr. Elizabeth Karr PT, DPT


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