With the optimistic energy of the New Year, it’s easy to set unrealistic goals that you’ll end up break. Spare yourself the disappointment of failure and try our list of New Year’s Resolutions you can actually stick to.
An important and healthy habit to form is making sure you stay hydrated. The common recommendation of 8 glasses a day is a good guideline, although depending on how hot it is and how active you are, you may require more. Staying hydrated doesn’t mean having to only drink water. Milk and fruit juices are a healthy option, while tea and coffee in moderate amounts also count.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. If you play it smart and take it gradually, improving your diet is a lot easier than you might think. A good start is dishing smaller portions to reduce your caloric intake. Reducing the amount of meat and increasing the amounts of fresh vegetables in your meals is another easy way of making healthier meals with less calories. If you’re trying to lose that holiday weight remember that weight loss is 90% what you eat and 10% exercise. As long as you’re burning more calories than you consume, you’ll lose that excess in no time.
A small veggie and herb garden makes a beautiful and practical addition to any home. Not only will you save a little on your shopping trips, but also get to enjoy much fresher tasting veggies and herbs. As an additional bonus, working in the garden releases bacteria from the soil which have “been found to trigger the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety”.
The benefits of waking early are many. Early risers tend to eat healthier and are less likely to blow-off morning exercise. Mental vitality is also improved, with ‘morning people’ being more likely to anticipate problems and plan better. Finally, getting up early also elevates your mood, in part because you get to enjoy some ‘you-time’ before heading off to work.
Regular exercise is good for body and mind, and while most of us have uttered the words “this is the year I get into shape”, the truth is that the majority don’t make it past day three. The key is to start small and work your way into more regular and strenuous exercise. Starting with daily, 30 minute walks is a great way to get some exercise without committing to a gym contract. Research has shown that it helps “prevent obesity and diabetes, lower the risk of some cancers, relieve depression and anxiety, increase mobility, and reduce the chances of hip fracture by 40 per cent. It also improved the ability to think and reason, slowed the progression of Alzheimer's disease, cut arthritic pain by 50 per cent, boosted energy levels, reduced fatigue and led to a 23 per cent lower risk of dying.” (Source)
Your home should be a safe space, away from the stress and bustle of the outside world. By reducing clutter not only makes your living space easier to look at, but has positive mental effects as well, improving focus and process information. Gather non-essentials and decide if you can donate, gift or sell it before throwing them away. Don’t be tempted to keep items ‘just in-case’, if you haven’t touched them in more than a year.
While TV in moderate amounts can be a great way to relax, too much TV can negatively impact your mental and physical health, relationships, worldview and capacity for rational thought. Reading, on the other hand, expands your worldview, keeps your brain active and builds focus. It also helps you learn new things and makes you more interesting. If you have kids, reading to and with them has been shown to positively impact their educational development.
Getting rid of debt not only frees up money you would be spending on interest and repayments, but also means you have one less thing to worry about. If you have multiple Credit Cards with outstanding debt, tackle one at a time. You can either focus on the card with the highest interest rate, or pay off the card with the smallest balance first and then move onto the next smallest amount. If possible, pay more than the minimum, as this will reduce the amount of money spent on paying interest. Another option is debt consolidation. You may be able to move credit card debt from a high interest rate card to a low one, or if possible, pay off the debt with home equity loan whhich could offer a lower interest rate. Finally, track your spending habits and see which non-essentials you can cut back on. Use the money towards paying off your debt.
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