Planning your New Year’s resolutions? These health-focused objectives are often a list of things not to do.

No sugar.
Stop staying up late.
Eat less.

Look familiar? This year, rather than telling yourself what you aren’t going to do anymore, resolve to get more for your health with positive framing. We’re thinking about joyful things we can add to our lives rather than things we can take away. Creating this perspective of opportunity isn’t just important for our self care — it’s proven to make these habits long-lasting so your New Year’s resolutions can stick for good.

Here are the five things we want more of in 2018:

Drink More Water

One of the most common ways we neglect our health is by not drinking enough water. Rather than making 2018 the year of drinking less caffeine, make it the year that you drink more water. It may seem like a small goal, but staying hydrated can have a major impact on your overall health, from more energy to better skin to increased productivity. You’ll naturally have a more healthful baseline, and will be less inclined to overdo it on the java.

Get More Sleep

We’re big proponents of sleep health here at Rugg Wellness. We’ve talked about the importance of a good night’s sleep and not letting the weekend mess with our circadian rhythm. But it’s so important that we’re here to remind you once again: Get more sleep! I know firsthand how challenging it can be to get decent shut-eye when you have a busy schedule. More often than not, it seems as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. Despite our schedules sometimes feeling out of our control, taking an active role in your rest is the first step towards better sleep health. Practice healthy sleep habits by “logging off” and starting a screen-free nightly routine well before you plan on hitting the hay. This winding down makes it easier for you to fall asleep at the right time, and in the long run, will lead to a more efficient and healthy sleep schedule.

Eat More (of the Right Foods!)

We aren’t here to tell you not to eat a certain food. For us, it’s all about balance and moderation. Stressing over what we’re eating — especially over the holidays — can backfire and build an unhealthy relationship with food. Rather than thinking of our 2018 cookbook as a list what to avoid, we’re thinking of how to best maintain a balanced diet and enjoy the bounty of nutrients available to us. A diet rich in minimally-processed whole foods, made up of portions that correspond to your appetite and hunger cues, will be a more sustainable lifestyle with inherently healthy habits.

Be More Active

It’s no secret that being more active comes with major benefits like healthier brains and better digestion, but sometimes we stay sedentary because we think of exercise with an “all or nothing” mindset, and more often than not, this results in nothing. Instead of deciding to either go to the gym and work out for an hour or stay home and do nothing, schedule short activities to make sure you get a little activity even on your busiest days. You can do simple exercises and stretches in quick five minute intervals. The key is finding things you enjoy and will be more likely to continue doing! Most importantly, incorporating movement into your everyday routine will help build better habits and make it easier to create a healthy lifestyle with longevity.

Be More Informed of Your Overall Health

If we’re making resolutions that center around our health, it’s important to know where we stand, and that means a getting comprehensive medical evaluation. The start of the new year is a great time to focus on our health, but we should be consulting with a medical professional before taking on new nutritional practices or activities, especially if you or your family have a history of health issues. It will help prevent issues down the road and ensure you’re charting the right wellness course for your future.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Leave a comment with your 2018 goals!

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Peter W. Rugg, MD, FACEP is an Amherst College-trained neuroscientist specializing in human neurophysiology and a University of Massachusetts Medical School-trained MD specializing in Functional Medicine. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and in Emergency Medicine, and together with his wife, Patti, he co-founded Rugg Wellness, PC, Functional Medicine and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Practice.