Have you always been reluctant to embrace the traditional New Year's Resolution for fear of setting yourself up to unrealistic demands and ultimate failure? Rather than inciting stress and uncertainty into your introduction to 2019, why not instead establish more attainable and realistic health and fitness GOALS that will inspire you and motivate you to improve your overall, holistic condition? The following five health and fitness goals will start you on a rewarding, fulfilling path for 2019:
1.) Get more sleep
It is amazing how often people will be dedicated to their physical fitness and nutritional plans, yet neglect to listen to their body by getting the right amount of sleep. A deficit of sleep has been directly linked to a greater risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Getting the proper 7-8 hours of sleep per night will improve your productivity, mental acuity, memory cognition, and even your physical appearance. Take that nap and never be apologetic for it!
2.) Reduce your alcohol intake
While an occasional martini or glass of wine will not obstruct your overall health, heavy drinking has been associated with higher levels of depression, memory loss, heart disease, blood pressure, and various cancers. These negative reactions are due to the disruption of your body's efficient, digestive mechanisms as well as the adverse effect the alcohol has on your brain's neurotransmitters. Limit your alcohol intake to one glass of wine or cocktail per day.
3.) Quit Smoking
While the habit of smoking has abated over the last 25 years in the United States, over 20% of Americans still engage in this unhealthy, destructive habit. Smoking has been linked to multiple health risks including cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and reduced life expectancy. Smoking is also an expensive habit.  Make it a goal this year to eliminate this costly (health-wise and monetarily) habit from your daily life.
4.) Re-engage with long, lost friends
Have you ever regretted losing touch with a college roommate or an old, childhood friend? It is never too late to get in touch with a long, lost friend. Recent health research has shown that reconnecting with lost acquaintances improves your health and outlook. Those individuals with stronger social ties typically outlive those people who lack social connectivity. Humans are not polar bears; we are "social" animals! Call or email a friend and rejuvenate your relationship......and your health at the same time.
5.) Volunteer your time for a worthy cause
Scientists have long discovered a fascinating phenomenon about humans: as we help others, our own, personal level of happiness rises! Feeling a part of your greater community by sacrificing your time for a noble cause adds a therapeutic level of happiness to one's life. The positive emotions cultivated from volunteer work protect your health by reducing the risk of stress-related heart attacks or cardiovascular disease.
With so many articles about New Year's Resolutions for 2019, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sense of responsibility implicit in each story. Instead of "resolutions," why not create, simplified health and fitness "'goals" for 2019 that are realistic and attainable? Improving your sleep habits, cutting alcohol intake, eliminating smoking, reconnecting with friends, and volunteering are all New Year's goals for 2019 that will reward you with a healthier body and holistic state of mind.