We're a few weeks into 2020 and some people may still be finalizing their list of New Year's resolutions to fulfill.

Every January, people make resolutions such as to lose weight, read more books or quit smoking. The month brings a fresh start which makes it the perfect time to begin working toward a goal. The difficult part usually isn’t deciding what to put on the list for this year’s goals, but to keep those goals throughout the year.

Making a resolution that is healthy for you and the environment may provide some added motivation. The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day will be celebrated this year on April 22. It’s not necessary to wait until April to start an action that benefits the Earth and its natural resources. Below are three resolutions that will not only improve your health but will also help the planet.

More water, less plastic

Drinking more water each day is an easy way to begin the journey toward a healthier you in 2020. About 60 percent of the human body is made up of water, according to mayoclinic.org. Water keeps us hydrated so we’re able to perform daily tasks including exercise. The zero-calorie beverage affects a person’s physical and mental health. The necessary daily intake of water differs depending on the individual. Factors such as age, environment and activity impact how much water the body needs but eight glasses a day is a good goal to strive for according to the Mayo Clinic.

In order to help the environment along with your body, don’t consume the liquid from a single-use plastic bottle. Bottled water is a staple in many households because it’s easy to transport and convenient. Unfortunately, it’s not a convenience when it comes to Earth. Too often, water bottles become litter which end up in waterways such as rivers, lakes and oceans. When water bottles do make it to the trash, it’s still not a good thing. According to the nonprofit organization The Water Project, single-use plastic bottles take more than 1,000 years to bio-degrade which means landfills are overflowing with them.

Save money and help protect the environment by using a reusable water bottle that you can fill up each day. If you are worried about the quality of water coming from your tap, then use filters which will still cost less money than buying single-use plastic bottles on a regular basis.

Bike it or walk it

Exercise is a common New Year’s resolution. The recommendation for adults is to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio activity, according to the American Heart Association. People who engage in moderate-intensity exercises will have a faster heartbeat but will still be able to have a conversation. Examples include walking, dancing, gardening and biking slower than 10 miles per hour. People engaged in more vigorous activities will most likely sweat and get out of breath when attempting to talk. Examples include hiking uphill, running, jumping rope, or cycling at 10 miles per hour or faster.

Several of the activities recommended for heart health can also be beneficial to the environment. Using walking or cycling as a mode of transportation instead of cars helps lessen air pollution. If you live only a mile or two from a destination such as a store or park, then consider walking there instead of driving in a car. Walking or cycling to work is also a green alternative to driving every day. Regional trails and bike-friendly streets are making it possible to do such activities safely. It may not be feasible to walk or bike everywhere but even doing so occasionally can make a difference.

Eat more plants

Plant-based diets can help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the Harvard Health Publishing website health.harvard.edu. Many plant-based foods have heart benefits such as whole grains, vegetables, nuts and healthy oils. Plant-based diets tend to be high in fiber, minerals and vitamins. The nutrient-rich food options help lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy weight and more.

It just so happens that adding more plants to your plate also helps the environment. Eating more plant-based foods and less animal-based foods help to reduce carbon emissions. Reducing the amount of meat you consume can also help conserve water.

“Pound-for-pound, gallon-for-gallon, animal-sourced foods use vastly more water and carbon to produce than plant-based food,” stated an publication on the UCLA Sustainability website sustain.ucla.edu.

The publication also stated one pound of beef can require between 2,000 to 8,000 gallons of water to produce it and one gallon of cow’s milk can require 1,950 gallons of water.

Meatless Mondays is a popular trend that aims to encourage people to start adding more meat-alternative meals to their diet. If you are new to plant-based eating, start by making one or two meals that are completely meatless then expand from there. After you become familiar with making plant-based meals then try making one or two days of the week completely meatless.

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