The beginning of a new year is a popular time to evaluate your life and set goals for the year to come. It’s a time to dust off the cobwebs and breathe life into your stale routine. The changing of the calendar, though, is often not enough to break our habits and suddenly start the healthier, happier life you always dream of. But it is possible when your resolutions are small, manageable changes that you can start now — here are some ideas:
Start with 15 minutes
Buying exercise equipment for your home or a new gym membership doesn’t guarantee you’re going to use it. For many of us, finding an unused hour each day is not as realistic as our fitness magazine makes it out to be. How do you fit your health goals into a busy schedule? Start small! Find 15 minutes one time during the first week of your resolution and use it to be active. Go for a walk at lunch, walk the stairs, ride on a stationary bike during your break, or wake up to a mindful yoga class before hoping in the shower.
Make 15 minutes your resolution and give yourself a big, healthy pat on the back when you achieve it! Soon you will begin to look forward to that time and start to look for more 15-minute blocks of time throughout your week. Before you know it, your new year’s resolution is now a healthy lifestyle.
Learn to love the food you thought you “hated”
Not a fan of mushrooms? Seafood makes you cringe? You’ve always been a picky eater? Sound familiar?
We have good news for you! Picky eating habits often emerge in childhood. While your palate will develop naturally as you get older, it is also possible to adapt your palate to enjoy more flavours and textures. The best way to learn to love a new food is to just eat it, and stick with it! According to Psychology Today, adults forced onto low-sodium diets for medical reasons have reported that lower-salt foods taste different and less bland after several weeks of exposure.
An easy way to learn to love a forbidden food is to mix it with tastes you enjoy. Add those “ghastly” mushrooms to pizza or pasta. Chopping up a food rather than eating it whole can introduce the food in a more delicate way. Experiment with different textures by preparing or cooking food in different ways. Maybe mom’s steamed broccoli isn’t for everyone, but you could find that eating it raw is delightful!
Find a moment of calm
As global and local events continue to bombard our news feed and pressure to live a “perfect” life brings daily stress, it’s more important than ever to take time to decompress. If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider adding meditation to your new year’s resolution.
Anyone can practice meditation, it’s simple and inexpensive, and doesn’t require any equipment. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefit both your emotional well-being and overall health. There are many types of meditation; a guided meditation may be a good place to get started as you learn what works for you.
Like most new skills, meditation takes practice. Don’t stress about finding an hour in your busy day to meditate, just a few minutes of quality time to breathe deeply, relax your body, reflect, and repeat your mantra, can bring calmness to your day.
Improve your sleep
Most adults need seven or more hours of deep, good-quality sleep on a regular schedule each night. Getting enough sleep isn’t only about the total hours you’ve slept, but also the quality of your sleep. Irregular bedtimes, pets and kids, caffeine and sugar, screen time, and alcohol can all influence how you sleep through the night. Sleep is critical in restoring energy, repairing muscle tissue, improving brain function, and controlling emotions.
Work, chores, social time, and entertainment are important but find a balance that allows you to get a healthy amount of sleep. Sleep isn’t optional, it’s as important to your physical and mental health as food and water. Don’t let sleep fall down your list of priorities this year, work on a consistent bedtime and limit distractions and unhealthy habits before and during sleep time. Try this resolution for two weeks and see how you feel!
If you’re getting enough sleep and still feel tired, it may be time to check in with your doctor. Sleep conditions, like sleep apnea, can have a detrimental effect on your sleep quality and should be treated.
Love these suggestions but you’re wondering how to fit even one of them into your schedule? You’re not alone. A great way to de-stress your life is to get organized and keep it that way! While getting organized can feel like a burden, making some adjustments can leave you with more time to work on your resolutions and crush your goals.
Did you know that clutter in your bedroom can cause you to lose out on sleep? Keeping a to-do list in your brain rather than on a list can keep you awake at night. If you’ve planned out your meals, you’ll be less likely to indulge in compulsive eating. Decluttering your workspace and inbox can help you focus on work and be more creative. Disorganization can wreak havoc on your life and lead to increased stress and even depression.
This year, start by organizing physical items around your house or work. If that feels overwhelming, pick one space, and make it your resolution to organize it and keep it that way.
Your small changes will start to make big impacts on your health and well-being, and in time, your resolutions will become your successes!