Happy New Years (almost)!!! 2018 is just around the corner, and many people are trying to hammer out what their New Year's resolutions will be. Unfortunately, most people will bite off more than they can chew by making resolutions that are nearly unattainable. New Year's resolutions should not add to the stress of your lives; they should relieve them! So what I've done here is layout 15 practical New Year's resolutions that will help you attain a more fulfilling, joyful, and healthier life in 2018! I hope some of these ideas help! Have a Happy New Year!!!
Find a type of exercise you actually enjoy doing- So many people resolve to start working out in the new year, but they hate it and end up quitting within a month or two. Find something that you actually enjoy so that you will be more likely to stick to your goals. Don't be afraid to try something new such as ballet, tap dancing, zumba, yoga, pilates, swimming... There are so many different ways to get your body moving and your blood flowing. You just have to find what works for you.
Take the stairs- This is such a simple thing that everyone can do to improve their health. Plus, it doesn't even require a gym membership!
Practice mindful eating - In this busy day and age, so many people eat while they are driving, watching TV, reading a book, working, or any other number of things that keep their brains occupied. What most people don't know is that those practices can actually be bad for your health. For one thing, they typically cause you to overeat - when your mind is busy, you are not paying attention to the cues your body gives you about satiety, so you don't actually feel full until you are really stuffed. Eating while working on other things can also inhibit digestion, which is largely controlled by psychological factors. When you begin to think about food, your brain sends a signal to the salivary glands to release secrete saliva, which is in charge of the first step of digestion on the mouth. The brain also sends signals to the G cells and parietal cells of the stomach to release more hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which aids in digestion. When your mind is preoccupied on things other than what you are eating, these signals may be interrupted, causing inhibited digestion which can lead to abdominal discomfort such as cramping or bloating. So slow down and make time for your meals!
Unplug from technology a little more throughout the day- This year, make a conscious effort to be more present in the moment, which means not being attached to your phone and computer all the time. Work towards reconnecting with yourself, your family an friends, and nature without being distracted by technology. I promise your texts and snapchats won't go anywhere!
Have an attitude of gratitude- Focusing on the blessings in your life has been scientifically shown to reduce stress and symptoms of depression as well as improve your overall health. To read more on the power of gratitude in one of my earlier posts, click here.
Get to bed at a reasonable time- Late nights are absolutely fine every now and then, but they can be a problem if they interfere with your being able to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.
Incorporate new healthy foods into your diet- Variety is the key to any healthy diet. People are amazed when I tell them that you can have a "bad" diet even if you are eating salads at almost every meal, but they are the same salads. You need to have a variety of foods on your plate so that you get a multitude of nutrients!
Eat at home more often rather than eating out- Restaurants are notorious for adding hidden sugars and fats to foods. When you cook at home, you are completely in control of what ends up on your plate (and no... heating up pre-packaged frozen entrees does not count as "cooking"). Check out some of the recipes on my website for ideas on healthy foods that are easy to make!
Drink more water and less caffeine and alcohol- Caffeine and alcohol can be okay in moderation, but an excess amount of either can have negative impacts on your health. I know that for a lot of people it is hard to wake up in the morning without 3 or more cups of coffee, but I promise you that it is because you have trained your body to rely on the caffeine, and it can be "un-trained". Cut back gradually, not all at once, so that your body learns that it doesn't need to have that much caffeine to function. Before long you will be down to just one cup a day or less! When it comes to alcohol, I also recommend having no more than one or two glasses a day. Again, try to cut back gradually so that it is not too overwhelming. As for water, try to drink about 2 liters a day. Water is involved in just about every physiological system in your body, so drink up!!
Stretch!!!- Your body will thank you!!
Find 30 minutes each day to go for a walk- Even this small amount of physical activity can help improve your health. You don't even have to do it all at once; you can break it up throughout the day for when your body feels like it just needs to move around.
Find a hobby you enjoy that helps relieve stress- Try taking a pottery or painting class or learning how to play an instrument! For me, nothing helps me relax more than taking time out to play guitar.
Take more time "you time"- Get a massage, take a hot bath - allow yourself to be pampered. Taking time for yourself will help relieve stress and restore your energy levels so that you can function at your best.
Spend more time outdoors- Recent studies have shown that walking barefoot in the grass has actual, biological health benefits, and it's really quite astounding!! I've always known that I feel better when I spend time out in nature, but the science behind it was only recently brought to my attention. For more information, you can watch a video about the research here.
Quit those unhealthy habits- Staying up way too late every night, being in toxic relationships, excessive drinking, smoking, etc. I know it is easier said than done to break bad habits and addictions, but I encourage you to work at it. Tell your friends and family what you are trying to do and ask them to support you through the transition. If you are having a low moment and really want to fall back into that bad habit, go out with friends who will help keep your mind off of it, and most importantly: don't give up. If you fall back into the habit or addiction, just start again. I promise you are stronger than you think.
Please comment below if you have any questions, want want more ideas, or need advice on how to stick to your New Year's resolutions! Happy New Years!!!