New year, new resolutions and goals, right? Listen, dieting is hard and usually leaves a bad taste in our mouths--pun intended. But many of us either want to lose weight, be healthier, or both. Dieting doesn't have to hurt. You can make small changes here and there, establishing habits as you go, and before you know it, you'll be healthier and happier.

1. Drink more water.

Buy a thermos or cup with ounce markings so you know how much water you're getting. Drink at least one glass with every meal, and drink a glass to stave off after-dinner cravings. Keep in mind that the more waterlogged foods you eat, like fruit and soup, the less water you will have to drink to stay hydrated and healthy.

2. Drink less soda.

Soda is a huge risk to your long term health. It consists of spoonfuls upon spoonfuls of simple white sugar, so unless you'd be cool with sitting down and shoveling sugar into your mouth, you should definitely rethink your soda consumption. If you have been drinking caffeinated soda, you may need some help from your doctor to avoid caffeine withdrawal.

3. Set a Junk-Free Day.

Rather than only allowing yourself one week per day to indulge (which can be really hard), instead choose a day of the week that you won't indulge. Identify one food or food group that you know you should have less of--soda, ice cream, potato chips, dairy, meat, white grains--and avoid it for that day of the week. If you're feeling empowered by this, you can move up to two days, then three, and so on, but cutting out the nasty stuff on just one day is great start!

4. Eat more wheat, less white.

White breads, pastas, and pastries all contain simple sugars and have very little nutritional value. On the other hand, wheat is a complex carbohydrate, which provides your body the sugar it needs when digested without overloading your body and sending those sugars into fat storage. Cook with wheat flour rather than white, eat the heel of the loaf of bread, and buy whole wheat pasta. You will be more filled and less fluffed!

5. Get moving, even if you're not exercising.

It's important to be physically active to burn off what you're consuming. If you can't stand the thought of going to the gym every day, resolve to do something active that fits with your normal routines. Play tag with your nieces and nephews, jog your dog instead of walk him, turn on loud music while you're cooking and rock out to it, or try a new sex position with your partner. You don't have to be an athlete to get physical.

You don't have to make big health resolutions to make a difference in your life. Remember to love and care for yourself as you implement a dieting plan, and seek a doctor's help if you become depressed or can't control your weight on your own. Self-care and finding happiness are also important to your health. Wishing you love and peace in 2017!