Make 2020 a year of health and well-being. (For Spectrum Health Beat)
Make 2020 a year of health and well-being. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

The quest for health and fitness can be a difficult challenge with the hectic pace of busy schedules and the bustle of the holidays.

It seems that New Year’s Day offers us all a fresh new outlook and opportunity to start the year with optimism and hope to improve our lives.

Health and fitness is a journey that requires dedication and commitment.

There is no easy quick fix, patch, pill, cleanse or detox that will replace optimal nutrition and exercise.

Sometimes we can get side-tracked by injury, self-doubt, medical issues and a host of things, which complicate and derail our health goals. It is important to never give up and always continue to fight the good fight for your health. You are worth it!

Jan. 1 is a great time to start by making a resolution to strive for health.

Here’s how:

1. Schedule your annual

A physical exam with your primary care physician or provider should be first on your list. Make sure you are up-to-date on your screening labs, preventive cancer screenings and immunizations.

If you are starting an exercise regime or have weight-loss goals, this is an excellent time to discuss your options with your doctor and create a plan that will hold you accountable at future follow-up appointments.

2. Strive for 60 minutes of exercise a day

This could be broken up into smaller bits of time throughout the day. For example, you could take the stairs at work or park farther from an entrance.

3. Find a workout partner to hold you accountable

You are much less likely to let another person down. You can keep each other on track virtually through text messages or agree to meet in person to walk or exercise.

4. Add exercise to your schedule, and hold firm

Exercise either before work or on your way home from work. It is much easier to either get it done before the day starts or before you get home.

5. Prep your work-out items the night before

If you are an early morning exerciser, get all set well in advance of the alarm going off.

Sometimes sleeping in your exercise clothes might be the trick until you get into the habit of rising early. Set your shoes out, have your water bottle filled and things ready to go.

6. Get at least eight hours of sleep

Studies have shown that adequate sleep reduces stress hormones and will help with weight loss and overall health.

7. Drink enough water

Stay hydrated. This means 64 ounces for an average size adult. (Sorry, caffeinated beverages don’t count.)

8. Cut screen time

Decrease the amount of time spent in front of screens (TV, computer, tablet, phone) and move as much as possible.

Consider walking on your lunch break or taking a 10-minute walk around the house instead of checking social media posts.

9. Fill up on fruits and veggies

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables at all meals. This is an easy way to increase the amount of healthy foods without taking the time to measure anything.

10. Know the stats

Research shows it takes 21 days to make a habit. If you fall off the wagon, climb back on. The ride is much more enjoyable when you are doing positive things for your health.

Commit to just the day in front of you and make it great. Pretty soon, you might have an entire compilation of days that could add up to a new, healthier you.