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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

5 Ways to Make the New Year Your Healthiest Yet

{Image Credit: iStock}

We finally made it through January and are more than ready for February! Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose… right? If this past month has proven anything for a majority of us, it’s that even with the best of intentions, it can be hard to stick to your New Year’s resolutions and see them play out over the course of the year.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or even tedious for that matter to just “get healthy.” If you can’t stick to resolutions because of time or role constraints, take baby steps that will help you reach your goals. At the end of the day, all you really need to do is become fully aware and mindful of the things we want to achieve, while showing ourselves some kindness.

Prioritize sleep

With more than 70 percent of Americans getting less than eight hours of sleep a night, it’s important to manage a proper sleep cycle. Not only can inadequate sleep put you at risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other diseases, but truth be told — if this is the one thing you can fix and make an active effort for, everything else is going to fall into place, exactly as you want it. Try to create a routine by scheduling sleep time and stick to it. If your job makes it hard, try creating a fixed wake-up time that will allow you to get to bed at anytime and still reap the benefits as your body adjusts to this new wake-up prompt, letting you rest all night. Good sleep prompts healthy habits and a positive outlook that truly makes a difference in overall happiness. After all, the way we live our mornings is actually how we experience the rest of our days.

Do more of what you love

If you want to live a happy life, then you have got to do what makes you happy. The best way to live your life is by doing more of what you love, and that can be anything. From traveling and building, to writing and acting, we are the source — the I Ching, rather — of all our happiness. In addition to creating a sense of overall happiness and positivity, doing more of what you love has the ability to challenge you, help you to learn new things, meet new people and best of all, feel true contentedness.

Eating well

If the word “diet” is too overwhelming, consider this more of an integration of two worlds: the food you love to eat and the food you should eat. Part of eating well is creating a balance, and that includes filling your plate with clean, non-processed foods as often as possible. We’re not saying to give up your favorites at Taco Bell, but we are saying it’s good to try new things and starting with fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein is a great base point. Filled with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, these are critical components to keeping your immune functions running strong.

Fit in fitness

One of the best ways to stay healthy and happy this year is to truly integrate a form of fitness into your schedule. Regularly exercising not only promotes strong muscles and bones, but it can improve respiratory, cardiovascular health, and overall health. Staying active also helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. While some have a schedule that allows to integrate exercise in fairly well, others don’t. But this doesn’t mean you can’t still stay active. It just means, you’ve got to get a little sneaky! Use the commute, use your down time to jump rope, always take the stairs, create an exercise date with friends or a loved one… just get up off of your butt! That’s all you’ve got to do.

Stay hydrated

Drop the pop and stay away from the caffeine—drinking water needs to be better prioritized if you want to feel happier and healthier this year.  Drinking water is crucial to maintaining the function of just about every cell and system in your body, including heart, brain and muscles. Water carries nutrients to your cells, flushes toxins and bacteria from your bladders and prevents constipation. With the recommended 30 to 50 ounces a day to drink, staying hydrated with water will also clear your skin, relieve fatigue, aid in weight loss and improve your mood.

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What are some ways you are staying happy and healthy this year? Let us know in the comments below.

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