It’s that time of year. New Year’s Day is just a few days away, and that implies that it’s time to start planning for 2013. What do we want in the new year? What are our goals? What will it take to finally reach true happiness? Well, all of those things can include a healthier body, mind and spirit. Yes, we all know that most resolutions don’t stick. In fact, by the end of January, a third of us will have let our resolutions lapse. The reason? Our goals and strategies are often based more on willpower than on small, simple changes. So, to help you become healthier, happier and more fit in 2013, here are some New Year’s resolutions you can actually stick to:
1. Only eat when sitting down. It’s true, we tend to eat mindlessly and “graze” more when standing up. Sitting down encourages us to be present and eat with more focus–things that can prevent us from overeating.
2. Use small dinner plates. Using a smaller plate, research has shown, leads to taking smaller portions. If you’re trying to avoid overeating, this is a simple trick.
3. Park is the back row at the grocery store. If you routinely hit the grocery store two or three times a week, walking an extra quarter mile to and from the store is an easy way to get more exercise into your busy day. You can adopt this policy everywhere you park, or just at the grocery store for starters.
4. Take the stairs at work. If you are only going up a flight or two, make a promise to yourself that you will take the stairs and give your legs and lungs a little workout mid-day.
5. Switch out coffee for green tea. Green tea has a multitude of health benefits, including warding off cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease, stroke and dementia. If you can’t do without your cup of joe every day, then start with just Mondays. Remember, the goal is to make small, manageable resolutions that you will keep.
6. Sign up for a 5K. Not a runner? Walk. The very act of signing up for a race will make you more accountable to lace up your sneakers and train for it.
7. Give your spouse one compliment a day. It’s so easy to nitpick and criticize our partners, but make a positive change in your relationship by offering one nice, thoughtful exchange a day.
8. Start a journal. You don’t have to write pages and pages. You don’t even have to write in it every day. But honestly jotting down your thoughts, emotions, goals and hopes can be very healing to our souls.
9. Ditch naysayers. Life is too short to surround yourself with people who are negative, thoughtless, selfish or not healthy for you. Know how to tell? Monitor how you feel when you’re around them–do you feel drained, angry, anxious or insecure? Might be time to weed them out of your life.
10. Find more positive friends. In addition to the above, make a commitment that you are going to surround yourself with those who make you feel great, warm, happy and comfortable. You’ll notice a big difference in your energy when you’re with them.
11. Give up soda. You don’t have to completely rid your diet of all sugar and processed foods (although, that’s great if you do), but replacing soda with water each day will make a huge difference in your health.
12. Sign up for a class. It doesn’t matter what it is–yoga, Zumba, dance, photography, creative writing–anything that you are interested in and want to learn more about is great. In order to keep our minds healthy, it’s important to continue learning new things.
13. Turn off the local news. You’ve probably noticed that the local news is often filled with negative, draining stories about violence, shootings, murders, thefts, etc. Definitely not a good way to start or end the day. Instead, get your news through reputable papers and online sites where you can pick and choose what you want to read.
14. Commit to vegan days. Take Meatless Mondays a step further and ditch the dairy too. Just one day a week of freeing your diet from all animal products can make a tremendous difference to your health, our environment and the life of animals who are often treated cruelly and inhumanely at factory farms.
15. Read more. Let’s turn off the TV and our computers an hour earlier each day and read. Commit to reading one book a month and feel the difference it makes in your mental and brain health.
So there you go…some ideas to get you started. Tell us, what is your healthy resolution for 2013?