The New Year's resolutions we make say a lot about who we are and who we hope to be. Problem is, it's easy to get overly ambitious. Starting over offers such broad possibilities, and we often take on more than we're ready for.
But that doesn't mean you're destined to fail. Just make changes that you really, really want to do. And make them fun and easy. There really are ways to stick to your resolutions. Like making sure your workouts, which you promised yourself you'd do regularly this year, are with a friend. Because friends make everything better.
You can easily increase the amount of water you drink, which is a great and healthy New Year's resolution. Invest in a reusable water bottle you love and work your way up to eight 8-ounce glasses a day or more. Don't overdo it at first, or you'll feel bloated and go back to coffee and soda.
Stretching is one of those resolutions that make you feel good when you're doing it. You also see results pretty quickly. Regular stretching improves your health, in that it protects you from sprains and strains you might otherwise get when you're working out.
If you pick the kinds of brain games you like, you'll stick to them—daily mini crossword puzzles, Sudoku, online trivia, a Rubik's cube or other manipulative toy. Use commute time (unless you're driving), or keep it at your desk for free moments during conference calls. Even an app for learning a new language will feel like a game and get your noggin tuned up.
You know breakfast would make you feel a lot less sluggish, but it's hard to get ready and out the door and find time to eat. So, find three breakfasts that you really like, and make them the night before (or early in the week). Be sure to include flavors and textures that you enjoy, not just something you're supposed to like. That way, you'll stick with it and make a permanent lifestyle change.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great resolution to make for the New Year. But it can get old fast and send you back to eating too few. Instead, make this year about trying new flavors and textures (and revisiting ones you thought you didn't like). You don't have to finish a piece of fruit if you really don't like it. But find things you're not familiar with, ask a grocery store clerk the best way to eat it and give it a try.
This takes no time, no practice and no special equipment. And it's one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. If you have to, set a reminder so that, at least once a day, you'll stop and take 10 deep, cleansing breaths. You'll even starting looking forward to it.
If you're trying to change what and how you eat or save money, one of the best things you can do is cook at home. Even if you work every day and have a family, eating at home one more day a week than usual will pay off. Think of easy meals that get out quickly—or ones you can prep on the weekend. Once it's a habit, cooking, serving and cleanup go more quickly. And you'll never regret staying home instead of going out.
A great resolution that sounds impossible but really takes just a few days to get used to is getting off of social media. You don't have to stay off forever; you can even check in daily. But track how much you're on Facebook, Pinterest or whatever platform sucks away your time, and agree to cut it in half. There are apps that will help you honestly track the time you spend, as well as apps that will turn off social media once you've reached the limit you've set for yourself.
You've been wanting to do more for others, what with your own abundance and gratitude. So, making a New Year's Resolution to give back more this year is something you'll be motivated to do. But make sure what you do is in line with your values and interests—you'll be more likely to follow through. Decide how much time you have and commit for at least three months. Or if you're putting money where your values are, set up automatic payments. You'll love getting the notice every month.
It sounds ambitious to resolve to create healthy family meals. But there are websites, services like Blue Apron and One Potato, and local grocery stores with pre-chopped ingredients that make healthy, home-cooked food almost as convenient and easy as going out. Line up a few meals that you like and make a plan. Get used to those and incorporate a new one each week. Get the family involved in everything from menu planning to shopping, chopping and cooking.
Meditation, like deep breaths, is one of those things you miss when you stop doing it. Give yourself a week, follow along with an app and improve your time, technique and concentration. Meditation pays off in terms of health, happiness and overall attitude.
With podcasts and endless TV and smartphone content competing for our attention, a lot of us have put listening to music out of our daily lives. Make this year about finding a new song every week or revisiting your old playlists (or albums). Make a point to see live music at least five times this year. Refresh your Spotify lists.
We're in the golden age of TV, but there's something about movies at an actual theater that rises above television in terms of experience. This year, get back to the kind of stories only the big screen can tell. It's even better if you go on a weeknight.
Smartphones and screens have undermined our ability to focus on an actual page. It will take some effort to retrain your mind to reach for books, but once you do, you'll remember your roots as a bookworm. Definitely put "Read More" on your New Year's resolutions list.
You get so much from even just a short evening with friends, and it's one of the easiest resolutions to make for a happier life.
Budgets are a popular focus of New Year's resolutions. They're also one of the easiest and quickest to break. This year, build fun into your budget and you'll be much more likely to stick to it. Set money aside for a mid-winter trip or a big-budget vacay with friends this spring or summer. If this is the year you want to finally get a kayak, put that in the budget. You'll not only follow through on your water sports adventure, but you'll also be ready when it comes time to make the purchase.
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