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Every year, it’s one of the top resolutions for people of every age across the nation. And it seems to be one of the toughest resolutions to keep throughout the year.

Yes, we know: the raging wildfire of promises to improve your health started in early January, but those promises seem to fizzle and flame-out by early March. The resolution is notoriously tough to keep, but we have a few tips that may help you keep the fire lit in 2018.

Don’t diet. Change your eating habits.

Many of us tend to start the new year with the latest dieting craze. And, as usual, the mundane routine of eating the same thing day after day, or just the mere thought of depriving yourself makes you break the commitment.

Make the commitment to change eating habits completely instead of sticking to a “diet plan” all year. Simple changes in your eating habits can yield wonderful health results. Vow to cook more and eat out less. Homemade meals are typically healthier when you cook from scratch. You also tend to have better portion control and include more vegetables when you cook. Even the most inexperienced cook can whip up a great meal by reading cooking blogs or following social media pages, like Tasty and BuzzFeed Food, for tips. Also, did we mention the money you can save by cooking at home?

Accept that there are no perfect dieting plans. A nutritious, healthy diet allows for flexibility and shifts to meet your needs. Start with small changes – perhaps vowing to add more vegetables to your breakfast and lunch.   

Run for it – or walk if you must.

Believe it or not, running has become a social event. You can find half-marathons and 5K events almost every weekend, especially in the larger Southern cities surrounding us. These runs are a great way to meet new people and get involved in several philanthropic efforts. Many organizations host runs as fund-raisers, so you can find a cause you support and join the fun. You can also find existing running clubs in your local area – or start your own with a few committed friends or co-workers.

If you don’t like running, you can always opt to take a stroll instead. Walking is the best exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels according to the experts at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Drink more water, and then drink even more.

Gulping calorie-free and low-cost water is not only good for your health, it is great for your pockets. Water is healthier than any other drink alternative, and the benefits of staying hydrated are endless. Plus, it's cheap! 

Drinking water helps maintain the balance of body fluids. After all, your body is nearly 60% water. Your body’s circulation, digestion, and even your breathing becomes easier when fully-hydrated. Water also helps energize your muscles and keeps your skin looking great. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of electrolytes and fluids tend to shrivel and fatigue much easier. Dehydration inhibits muscle performance and makes your skin look dry and wrinkled.

Even more importantly, water assists your kidneys in transporting waste products out of your body. When your intake of water is high, your kidneys can perform their job of cleansing your body of toxins. In warm climates, like that of Alabama and Georgia, not drinking enough water can increase your risk of kidney stones.

Work out at home.

Of course, we want you to save as much cash as possible in 2018. Cutting down on your expenses is one of the best ways to put cash back into your checking or savings account. An overlooked expense may be your gym membership. You can save a ton of money by opting to work out at home.

While there are benefits to a gym membership, there are several positive factors of working out at home to consider when weighing your options. The most obvious factor is convenience. If you are just beginning your exercise journey, working out at home provides you with the privacy and comfort of your own walls. At home, your free to work out anytime you wish. You don’t have to worry about getting dressed, jumping in your vehicle, or battling the new year’s crowd for machines and equipment. And you don’t need all of the equipment a gym provides. There are so many beneficial exercises you can do without weights and expensive equipment – and many experts suggest that using your own body weight for resistance is healthier for those just beginning their fitness journey.

Many gyms offer the opportunity to work out with a trainer for a limited time. This offer is usually enough to get people signed up for a annual contract, but what happens after the three free sessions are over? Many Americans pay for gym memberships they never use. Why flush cash that you could be saving or investing down the toilet? With today’s endless technology, you can receive all of the benefits of having a personal trainer right from your smartphone. There are numerous apps that can assist you in finding the proper exercises to meet your needs. Many cardio routines can be streamed to your smart device or television for free. And several professional trainers have YouTube channels overflowing with videos on proper techniques, exercises that target problem areas, and general fitness advice.

Did you know that many of the diseases and sicknesses Americans face are a direct result of poor nutrition and even poorer physical activity? Experts have proven that many ailments can be resolved simply by eating better and becoming more active. Promise yourself and your family that you will be a healthier you in 2018.