There’s nothing wrong with making New Year’s resolutions. In fact, the start of a new calendar year is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to achieving a fresh start. The problem with most of the resolutions people make is that they are so broad as to render themselves difficult at best and often impossible. Resolutions like “lose weight,” “eat better,” “be healthy,” or “be happier” are hard to accomplish because they are too generic. In short, your goals aren’t clear. Here are some simple things you can do that will help you live a happier, healthier life.
Your first resolution should be not to stress about your resolutions. While setting goals is an effective way to improve yourself, unachievable expectations can derail your progress or cause you to give up all together. Luckily, a little bit of self-care can go a long way to helping minimize anxiety and stay the course. Start by letting go of the idea of perfection and allowing yourself to make mistakes. When you inevitably do something that isn’t in line with your goals, forgive yourself. If you let it go, it will be easier to get back on track. Second, be sure to make time for activities that bring you joy, like reading a book, enjoying a soak in the tub, or catching up with friends. Even in small bursts, your favorite hobbies can reduce your stress levels.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help to manage your anxiety. Talk to a partner or friend, schedule an appointment with a therapist, or talk to your doctor about medication. In addition to prescription options, natural supplements like CBD oil can help regulate your mood without many of the harsh side effects of pharmaceuticals. Just remember, stress and anxiety are a threat to your health and happiness. Taking steps to minimize these feelings is as valuable and important as any other goal you’ve set for yourself.
Stop Drinking Your Calories
Want to lose weight and treat your body better in the process? Cut out all of that highly caloric stuff you’re drinking. Your body will appreciate the break from sugary sodas and juices, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol. Focus on carrying a reusable bottle of water with you wherever you can — around the house, at work, and even when you’re out running errands.
Consider a Better Sleeping Surface
Few things negatively affect your life more than poor sleep, and one of the main causes of sleepless nights is subpar support. If 2018 was a bad year for your sleep quality, strongly consider investing in a new mattress — especially if your mattress is seven to 10 years old. Do your research and find out what type best suits your sleeping style, needs, and comfort level (softer vs. harder, memory foam vs. air or gel, etc.).
Practice Relaxation for 15 Minutes Every Day
Do you have the time to devote to relaxing your body and mind? Of course you do. Find a relaxation exercise that works for you, whether it be yoga, meditation, guided breathing, or simply closing your eyes and visualizing. Perform this exercise for 15 minutes every day. You can do it at home, work, or when you’re stuck in traffic (well, not the yoga). Harmful excess stress doesn’t dissolve on its own; you need to actively fight it, and this will help.
Set Aside 30 Minutes Per Day for Moderate Exercise
If this sounds hard, then know this: Exercise isn’t just lifting weights and running miles. You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of daily physical activity. There are dozens of cardio workouts that don’t require running. There are 30-minutes workout routines that work your entire body and don’t require equipment. What’s more, hiking, swimming, and climbing are other physical activities that are actually fun.
Eat the Rainbow
This one is simple but not always easy. You should eat more fruits and vegetables, and when you do, eat the rainbow. This means you should eat fruits and veggies of as many colors as you can find — blueberries, beets, leafy greens, apples, cauliflower, etc. While you do this, try to limit your intake of high-fat proteins, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. If you do all of this, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier diet in the new year.
Say No to Excess Screen Time
Playing video games, watching movies, and browsing the internet on your phone are not inherently bad things. In fact, they are all part of a well-balanced daily routine. However, you can better yourself by reducing screen time and replacing it with other things like reading, crafts, exercise, cooking, and games with the family. This is especially important in the evenings when excess screen time can negatively impact your sleep.
If you want to achieve your goals this year, be sure to set goals that are specific and attainable. Once you hit one, the rest will be easier to manage. Success builds in waves.