Did you know what the single most common New Year’s resolution is? For 82% of people, their resolution is to make some kind of healthy life changes.
That’s a great resolution to have, but if you’ve ever set New Year’s resolutions yourself, you know how rarely they actually carry through into practice. Still, setting resolutions each and every year is a popular activity, because it gives people a chance to reimagine their life in a positive way.
Let’s face it: sometimes life gets boring. And that’s especially true if you’ve been stuck in the same routine for goodness knows how long. If you feel like it’s high time to shake things up and make a change in your life, you’re not alone.
Of course, not all life changes are necessarily positive, even when they’re self-imposed. So to inspire you with your own great ideas, here’s a list of four healthy life changes you can make, starting today.
Invest More Time in Your Oral Health
For the first of our healthy life changes to discuss, when was the last time you went to the dentist?
Getting dental care probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you consider ways to change up your normal routine (don’t worry, we’ll get into some more fun ideas later). But before you can enjoy your life to the fullest, it’s imperative that you be in good health. Plus, for all too many people, their normal routine involves actively ignoring signs that their health is failing or avoiding doing things to properly maintain their health. If that’s you, then the best healthy life changes you can make will involve prioritizing your health.
But why oral health, specifically, you ask? Because the health of your mouth and teeth offer clues about your overall health, and problems that start in the mouth can rapidly affect the entire body. This is why general dentistry is such an important part of regular healthcare, even for typically healthy people.
Like many parts of your body, your mouth is always teeming with bacteria. Before you freak out, recognize that most of those bacteria are harmless, and many are beneficial and even necessary. But some bacteria aren’t as necessary, or as friendly, and can cause disease. Add to that the fact that your mouth is the entry point for both your digestive system and your respiratory tract, and you can see exactly why oral health impacts the rest of your body so significantly.
Fortunately, your body has its own natural defense system to guard against rogue bacteria and diseases. Combined with proper oral healthcare, you should be able to avoid diseases caused by this bacteria without any issue. However, if you’re like many people, you may not brush your teeth twice each day, or even floss regularly. While brushing more than once daily might feel excessive, doing it twice isn’t that much more of a commitment, and the payoff can be huge. Flossing and using a high-quality mouthwash don’t take much time or effort, either, but they also go a long way to keeping your oral (and overall) health in line. Do some research and look for toothpaste and mouthwash made from gentle, healthy ingredients, and check out customer reviews before purchasing instead of mindlessly choosing whatever’s on the shelf.
Taking proper care of your teeth and your oral health at home is incredible, but even so, it can’t replace regular visits to your dental clinic. Besides having a big impact on your body’s overall health, your oral health is like a window into the condition of the rest of your body. Conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even certain cancers can all show early warning signs in your mouth, sometimes before they become noticeable anywhere else in your body.
This makes your personal dentist an important figure in your medical life. Not only will they provide deep cleanings for your teeth and monitor your oral health, but they may also pick up on early signs of disease that manifest in your mouth first. Of course, no one wants to think about that kind of thing. But if you were to get sick, you’d want to know sooner rather than later, while there’s a better chance at a speedy recovery.
Seek Any Medical Treatments You’ve Been Postponing
As we mentioned above, too many people actively avoid doing everything they should to care for their health, or seeking medical attention for ailments. For people like that, healthy life changes need to involve clear steps taken to improve their health and wellness.
Whether you were represented by a personal injury lawyer for an accident you haven’t fully healed from, or you’ve just started to notice a suspicious pain somewhere, postponing medical care is rarely wise. Yet people often avoid seeking medical treatment even when they suspect it might be necessary. In fact, according to a study published in 2014, almost one-third of all survey respondents reported that they actively avoided the doctor. Even people with serious health problems, who experience obvious symptoms of a severe condition, are known to avoid seeking medical care.
As you can imagine, avoiding medical care can result in late detection of disease, reduced survival, and prolonged suffering that might well have been preventable. Yet people who do it often feel that their reluctance to see a doctor is justified.
The study mentioned above sought to understand why people avoid medical care, and it came up with three major reasons:
- About 33% of participants claimed to have unfavorable or distrusting views of doctors, healthcare organizations, and the medical industry.
- Next, just over 12% said that they didn’t really feel the need to seek care, often because they expected their condition to improve over time on its own.
- Lastly, many participants (around 58%) claimed to experience more economical barriers to seeking care, such as high cost of care, a lack of health insurance, or simply not enough time to go to the doctor.
Whether you need serious attention, like arthritis treatment, or you’re generally dealing with mild discomfort from an untreated medical problem, postponing or avoiding care can only lead to more discomfort. If you’re concerned about finding a doctor or healthcare service you can trust, you can seek referrals from your family, friends, and neighbors. You could also talk with a patient advocate or physician referral representative in your area. When you find a doctor that comes recommended highly, you can check their credentials through the American Medical Association or American Board of Medical Specialties. Finally, it’s a good idea to find a specialist for the condition you’re seeking treatment for, as they tend to be more knowledgeable and qualified for specific treatments than general practitioners.
If your hesitation to seek medical attention is because of financial constraints, you should look for an affordable health insurance plan that will cover the treatments you think you might need. A local social worker can help you figure out how to enroll in Medicare if you need to rely on government assistance.
Whatever you do, if you suspect you may need medical care, make it one of your healthy life changes today, whether you’re enrolling in Medicaid or going to the doctor. Life is too short to go through it in poor health, even if it’s only mild discomfort.
Go On an Adventure
The first two healthy life changes we discussed were strictly concerning your health and wellness. After all, while no one really enjoys going to the dentist or getting a physical exam, both are often a prerequisite for enjoying the rest of your life to the fullest extent possible. When you want to make a change to the way you live your life, often the best place to begin is your health and your diet.
But it can’t be all work and no play, so next on our list is going on an adventure: simply go somewhere. Like a responsible adult, of course — remember to bring things like a good poison oak rash remedy if you’re going out in nature — but choose a direction to go in and just go. You can plan ahead if you like, but if you really want to shake yourself out of your routine (and your comfort zone), be prepared to keep it flexible.
The only things you should decide for sure are how much money you’re allowed to spend and how much time you have before you must be back. Choose a time to start your return trip and make sure you can afford meals for that long, but then decide along the way where to go in between. Again, flexibility is key to adventure.
If you have a limited budget, determine what your spending priorities are. Do you hope to find some little-known restaurants to tantalize your tastebuds with, or is admission to all the state parks and tourist attractions in a 50-mile radius more important? You don’t have to decide exactly where to go to set a budget. Just set aside certain amounts of money for different categories.
Next, you should consider whether to go it alone or not. You can certainly adventure by yourself, but you will make it even more memorable by bringing a friend along with you. Of course, if you’re going on an actual adventure, such as rock climbing or snow skiing, bringing a partner would be a good idea for safety’s sake.
Make sure you bring a camera so you can capture some incredible memories. Just avoid using it too often. You want to see the beautiful views with your eyes, not just through the lens of your camera.
While you’re out, make it a point to talk to strangers. Yes, we’re instructing you to talk to strangers. You’re a grownup, it’s all right. Ask passers-by for their suggestions about where to go, what to see, and what the best places for food are in the area. When you walk into stores and restaurants, say a friendly word to the other customers and patrons there. Maybe ask them what their favorite book on the shelf in front of them is, or what they like most from the restaurant’s menu. Just avoid being a pest. You can tell when someone doesn’t feel like visiting.
With tips like these, you’ll be introducing some fun and healthy life changes before you know it.
Switch Up Your Environment or Move Somewhere New
Do you ever get tired of the house you’re living in? Maybe you once shared your current home with a toxic partner, or perhaps you even grew up in it, and staying there is making it hard to move on and create healthy life changes. Or maybe you’ve just been in one place for too long, and desperately need a change. Either way, whatever your financial constraints may be, there’s something you can do about it.
For starters, you can sell your house and move somewhere else. If you’ve lived in the same neighborhood all your life, maybe you just need a change of scenery. Selling and moving is a really big commitment, but it all depends on how much you think it would help, and how committed you are to creating healthy life changes for yourself.
Of course, if you’re like many people, you probably don’t feel like getting a new home is within your budget. But if you currently own a home, or even if you’re just renting, you might be able to save money and get a change of space by downsizing. Maybe your house is simply bigger than you need it to be, or maybe your apartment is too fancy or in an expensive area. The cost of living is cheaper in different places, and by settling for a slightly smaller, less luxurious home, you might be able to get one that’s perfect for you at a price you can afford. And if you currently own your home but you’re not sure where you want to live, you’re even better off: you can sell now, and use the money you make to rent cheap apartments here and there until you find a place you want to call home. Condos for sale on the waterfront will be calling your name.
But maybe you aren’t ready to move, and just want your house to feel different. If that’s the case, then there are plenty of things you can do to feel more at home in your home. The following are some fun ideas you can use to make your house feel more fresh and inviting:
- Install an indoor chair swing. It’s like a porch swing, but it hangs from your ceiling inside.
- Install an outdoor garden fountain. Nothing says tranquility like a fountain.
- Go green by bringing a bunch of plants indoors. House plants, of course.
- Upgrade your bedding, especially if you’ve been using the same sheets and blankets for forever.
- Get new dishes and silverware, and throw out or sell the ones you have. It’s an easy and impactful change.
- Buy a pretty bookshelf for your living room, and start collecting books.
Whether you put your house on the real estate or opt to simply redecorate, hopefully, these suggestions will have inspired you with your own ideas.
And there you have it: four ideas for healthy life changes you can implement in your life, starting today. Happy exploring!