Powerful Habits: 4 Simple Daily Health Resolutions That Pack a Big Impact


Setting New Year’s resolutions is a breeze. Maintaining them can be quite challenging. Many times, people set resolutions with grand ambitions, but they often end up being impractical and unattainable.

One year, I decided to take charge of our family’s meals by preparing them for the entire week every Sunday. I purchased containers to store each meal, devised a menu and grocery list, went shopping, and returned home with all the food. However, I soon discovered that I lacked the motivation to spend my entire Sunday afternoon preparing a week’s worth of meals in one go. Instead, I chose to prepare each meal on demand, just as I always had.

Just like countless others, my ambitious resolution crumbled before it even had a chance to take off.

Making and sustaining changes to your existing habits and routine requires a great deal of self-control and discipline. When your resolution involves multiple steps, a significant time commitment or anything that doesn’t offer immediate gratification, it becomes even more challenging to maintain.

I’m here to offer four straightforward health resolutions that demand minimal daily effort but offer significant long-term health benefits, along with a sense of immediate satisfaction.

These resolutions require consistent daily effort, but they can be achieved with just one step and a minimal time commitment. Consider incorporating one or more of them into your 2024 healthy routine!

1. Floss your teeth daily


Considering that a significant number of Americans do not floss daily, incorporating this habit into your dental hygiene routine could be advantageous for you.

According to my dentist, Dr. Victoria Spindel Rubin, it seems that a significant number of individuals only remember to floss when they have popcorn or food stuck in their teeth. “In reality, food often becomes stuck between your teeth. … According to Spindel Rubin, not flossing means neglecting to clean 40% of each tooth.

Furthermore, Spindel Rubin highlighted the connection between flossing and improved heart health and diabetic control, in addition to its role in fighting gum disease. However, the benefits can only be obtained with the correct technique.

The research of Spindel Rubin, the correct way to floss is by wrapping the string floss around the tooth and moving it up and down to effectively remove plaque and biofilm.

Don’t allow a minor inconvenience to deter you from flossing. According to Spindel Rubin, it is common for gums to bleed when you first start flossing, but this should improve as you continue to floss regularly. “If the bleeding doesn’t stop … it would be advisable to consult with a dental professional to assess for potential periodontal disease,” she suggested.

Although it may seem like a bit of a process, incorporating flossing into your nightly routine only requires a few additional minutes. According to Spindel Rubin, it is recommended to floss before brushing for those who brush every night but tend to skip flossing afterward. It’s a technique that involves stacking habits – by performing the new activity right before the ingrained habit, they become linked in a way that makes it easier to maintain the new habit.

Where’s the immediate gratification I mentioned? Once you’ve mastered the art of flossing, take a moment to run your tongue along your teeth and appreciate the noticeable difference in cleanliness that comes from combining it with brushing. That’s certainly a reason to be happy!

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2. Stand and move your body once an hour


Are you stuck in a job where you spend most of your day sitting? Extended periods of sitting have been linked to higher chances of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality.

It’s worth noting that incorporating brief periods of standing and movement into your day can have a significant impact on your overall well-being. According to a study conducted by Columbia University and published in January, taking a five-minute break to stand and move every hour has been found to be effective in countering the negative health effects of excessive sitting. Research findings indicate that incorporating short bouts of walking into your daily routine can have a positive impact on your health. In a study, participants experienced a decrease in blood pressure after just one minute of walking every hour.

To help you stay consistent with your resolution of getting up hourly, consider setting an alarm on your phone or other devices.

When you take a break from sitting for a while and engage in some light cardiovascular activity, you’ll experience a boost in both your mental and physical well-being.

3. Express gratitude daily


Discovering reasons to feel grateful requires a small amount of effort. Regularly expressing gratitude has been shown to have numerous health and wellness benefits, such as increasing happiness and reducing stress levels. Several studies conducted during the peak of the pandemic revealed that expressing gratitude had the potential to alleviate stress and enhance one’s mood. Practicing gratitude has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, such as reducing depression and boosting self-esteem.

So, what are some ways to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine? Expressing gratitude to those who give you their time and energy can be a simple yet meaningful gesture. To establish a sense of consistency and regularity, it can be beneficial to maintain a gratitude journal. Each night, take a moment to reflect on three things that you were grateful for throughout the day and jot them down. For more than ten years, my spouse and I have maintained a gratitude whiteboard in our bathroom. Every evening, we jot down three things that we were grateful for during the day.

It’s truly satisfying to acknowledge the reasons you have to be grateful. All the health benefits are an added bonus.

4. Cuddle with your pet more


According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 68% of US households have a pet. If you are a pet owner, you are well aware of the numerous health benefits they provide, including companionship and emotional support. Dogs, especially, can encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, and some are even capable of detecting epileptic seizures and cancer in their human companions.

In addition to having a pet in your home, engaging in regular physical interaction with them can help alleviate stress and anxiety. While enjoying the company of your furry companion, have you ever experienced a soothing and peaceful feeling enveloping both of you?

In a recent study involving 242 college students, researchers discovered that interacting with dogs had a significant positive effect on stress levels, happiness, and overall well-being. Interestingly, the longer the students spent with the dogs, the greater the improvements in their mental health. Scientific research supports the idea that increasing the amount of time you spend petting your dog can have positive effects.

If you don’t have a pet, now might be a good time to think about getting one, unless you have any allergies or other concerns. Shelters are filled with dogs and cats who are excited to provide you with numerous health benefits. However, it’s important to remember that bringing a pet into your home is a significant commitment that requires emotional, physical, and financial dedication. It should not be treated as a casual New Year’s resolution.

As someone who has five rescue dogs in my family, I can personally vouch for the increased responsibility and the incredible rewards that come with it. It can be challenging at times, but the rewards for my household are well worth the effort. Consider all factors and carefully evaluate if it is the best decision for you and your loved ones.

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