10 ways to make 2017 your healthiest year yet

January is, without fail, the month that gyms are the most full, salads are in highest demand, people are drinking less, reading more and exclaiming that this year, they'll be, do, and feel their best. It's one of the months of the year that's filled with the most hope and excitement because you're planning all the ways you're determined to improve your life over the next 12 months.

We're with you, and we want that feeling to extend way past January!

There are so many things -- big and small -- that you can do to make this your healthiest year ever. From braving the elements for your favorite workout to eating full fat foods (sometimes it's better for you than the reduced fat version!) and making sure to take care of your mental health just as much as your physical, 2017 is going to be your year.

Below, our 10 tips for making this the best year of your life.

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Ways to make 2017 your healthiest year yet
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Ways to make 2017 your healthiest year yet
Eat smart

Some foods aren't as healthy as they seem, and sometimes "reduced-fat" is actually worse for you than the original food. Take peanut butter, for example: Reduced fat peanut butter often has more refined carbohydrates and sugars -- with the fat in original PB replaced with ingredients like "corn syrup solids, sugar and molasses (read: even more sugar), plus starchy fillers." Yuck.

Just eat the real stuff, in healthy amounts.

Read more: 12 foods nutritionists won't eat

Take a dance class

I don't care if it's ballet, swing, or zumba -- taking a dance class can burn hundreds of calories in just one hour, and it's way more fun than running on the treadmill. Plus, you can do it with your friends, which will make you much more inclined to go!

Read more: The fastest calorie-burning dance classes, ranked

Drink smoothies

Smoothies shouldn't replace meals entirely (unless you're looking for a light breakfast!) but including them in your schedule is an easy way to add essential nutrients to your diet and help you detox. And trust us, if you use the right fruit, it *won't* taste like grass. 

Read more: The ultimate green smoothie you'll actually enjoy

Take time to de-stress

It helps with your mental health, you physical health, your appearance ... really your overall well-being. Take time to de-stress from the big stuff, and seek out what's adding unnecessary stress to your life. Then do your best to remove those unnecessary factors all together.

Our most important tip? Start learning to say "no" more.

Read more: 7 easy ways to reduce stress

Travel

We can't stress this enough. There's nothing like experiencing new places, new cultures, and meeting new people. There's nothing that makes you feel entirely existential and completely human at the same time.

Travel.

Read more: 17 must-see destinations to visit in 2017

Take care of your mental health

Take care of your mental health this year -- and that of those you love. Talk. Listen. Do your best to understand -- and seek help when necessary.

Mental health should never be hidden away or brushed under the rug.

Read more: How Kate Middleton is causing a "national shift" in mental health discussion

Build yourself a home gym

Create the perfect home workout system for you. If you're a private person and don't really like working out alongside others at the gym, all you need to do is invest in the right home products for your best workout -- and it doesn't have to be a massive treadmill or expensive weights system.

Read more: The ultimate home workout gear to kickstart 2017 (all under $130)

Don't be afraid of the elements

Love running but hate doing it when the weather gets freezing? Don't be afraid of the elements -- just stock up on the right gear so you can get out there. 

Read more: Cold weather workout gear to keep you motivated this winter

Meditate

Seriously -- try it. It just might change your life.

Meditating can be something you spend 20 minutes on, or 2 hours. It's completely up to you, and it's entirely for you. So go on. Those who love it have experienced better sleep, less stress, better peace of mind ... it might even make you younger. Sounds pretty great, right? 

Read more: Study: Meditation could make your brain 7 years younger

Get regular health checks -- and check yourself

A story has gone viral recently about an early cancer diagnosis being triggered by lemons.  In actuality, there was a graphic released that showed lemons with various imperfections along with the caption "what breast cancer can look and feel like." One woman saw this ad and immediately knew she had breast cancer.

Go to your doctor for your yearly check-ups, check yourself regularly for anything off about your health, and when in doubt, ask.

Read more: Woman credits early cancer diagnosis to viral lemon photo

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