Health and Beauty

Helpful New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Meaningful Ways to Improve Your Health and Happiness in the New Year

While New Year resolutions sound like a nice idea, they can leave you feeling more like a failure once March rolls around and your plans to “get in shape” or “read more” have fallen by the wayside. I’m not sure who invented this tradition, but I’m sure they didn’t account for the amount of inner turmoil it can cause. Too often our resolutions center on areas of ourselves that we consider inadequate. This can make resolutions feel like a cruel punishment, meant to whip us into shape or a "better" person. The problem is that sweeping statements can feel intimidating or un-achievable. A vague resolution can feel uninspired and not very motivating. This year, rather than setting yourself up for disappointment, make a simple resolution that will help you feel good every day. It's way easier to keep and build-on a goal when you start with baby-steps.
Elitia Barnes writes blogs about clean water and water filtration systems for LifeSource Water Systems. Elitia Barnes

Need Help Keeping Your Resolutions?

Be specific - When a goal is too general, it's hard to notice or keep track of your progress, which can be discouraging. Rather than making your resolution to "read more," make your goal more specific.  Instead, resolve to "read for at least 15 minutes every evening before bed."  To get even more specific, curate a list of books you are genuinely excited to start reading. 

 

Make it Meaningful - Write down WHY you chose your goal and why it's important. Make sure your resolution is internally motivated and not something you feel pressured to do. The more you connect your goal to feelings of happiness, the easier it will be to keep. Resolutions don't need to feel like punishments.  Write down all the ways this resolution will make you feel good.

 

Celebrate Progress - A little positive re-enforcement can go a long way.  Give yourself a personal high-five when you see progress or start to notice your resolution becoming a habit. Depending on what your resolution is, it may be helpful to keep a journal or take progress photos to help keep you inspired. 

 

Make it an Add-On Habit - You probably already have a daily routine of when you do things like take the dog out or make a cup of coffee.  Make your new resolution a daily habit by adding it to your routine.  Instead of just taking the dog out, you might add-on taking a walk.  Or add-on drinking a glass of water while you wait for your coffee to brew.

A Few Simple Resolutions to Get You Inspired

Drink More Water

From muscle recovery to skin elasticity, water is your secret weapon.  Drinking more water is a simple way to improve your overall health.  Staying hydrated helps to keep you energized and focused throughout your day. When you are dehydrated, your blood volume drops, making it harder for your heart to pump vital nutrients and oxygen through your bloodstream to your organs and brain.  Merely being 2% dehydrated can start to impede your cognitive function and short-term memory. 

Next time you're feeling groggy, it may be a sign you need a glass of water.  Unfortunately, drinking water doesn't always feel simple.  Over 95% of cities use chlorine and chloramines to disinfect tap water. This can make your water taste bad or dry out your skin and hair. Buying bottled water adds up and scientists are concerned about the presence of micro-plastic found in bottled water. Considering how important drinking water is for your health, it might be time to get a whole house water system. Step up your hydration game with a water system certified to filter out chlorine, chloramines and dirt.  With clean water flowing through your entire home, you’ll have no excuse.  

Move for 30 Min a Day

Whether you want to break a sweat with a vigorous workout or take a relaxing stroll, moving for just thirty minutes a day can make a big difference.  Moving your body helps to build muscle, burn fat and reduce stress.  When you commit to 30 minutes a day, it can feel less daunting and more flexible.  You can start by taking a walk during your lunch break.  Or waking up 30 minutes earlier to roll onto the workout mat.  Vary up your workout to keep your mind engaged. 

Alternating between cardio, weights, yoga or something low impact like swimming, challenges your muscles in new ways.  A workout buddy, even if it’s just a daily check-in text is another great way to stick with your resolution.  It’s nice to brag (or complain) to a friend as you build toward your fitness goals.

Sleep 8 Hours a Night

Rest is essential to your physical and mental health.  As you sleep, your body restores and repairs muscles that worked during the day.  Research is finding connections between the amount of sleep you get (or don't get) and hormonal imbalances, an increase in appetite and metabolic dysregulation.   Keeping your body in balance by supporting your natural circadian rhythm.  Limiting your screen time before bed can help you fall asleep faster by reducing blue light exposure. 

The blue light that emanates from your phone and computer screen suppresses the production of melatonin in your body.  If you can't give up your screen time before bed, try wearing blue light blocking glasses. 

Adopt a Sustainable Diet

There seems to be a new fad diet every year, each one touting its ability to transform your body.  While stricter food regimens may work for some, many people find them hard to maintain.  While restricting calories or counting macros is one way to consume food, it's not always realistic.  If you want to try going vegan, paleo or keto, all power to you!  But sometimes it's best to start by establishing a healthy and sustainable baseline diet. What does that mean?

Start by paying attention to how the food you eat makes you feel. How does it affect your body and mood?  If you are honest with yourself, you may find that eating a lot of sugar or simple carbs makes you feel energetically volatile or sluggish.  Pay attention to your cravings.  Do you really want a cookie?  Or is your body actually telling you it's tired and maybe what you really need is a glass of water.  If you want to reduce the amount of meat you eat, try adopting meatless Mondays (or whatever day you want).  This is a fun way to expand your go-to recipes to include more plant-based meals.  If your goal is to get control over a demanding sweet tooth, start by looking at ingredients. You may be surprised how many things contain sugar - even if you don't think of them as desserts.

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