It’s that time again — the time where we begin to shed the mistakes of the previous year and imagine the new “you” that will begin right after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. While on the outside New Year’s Day seems like the ideal catalyst to begin forming newer, better, habits, it usually falls during one of the most stressful times of the year. And have you ever noticed that during times of high stress, taking on new challenges is even more, well, challenging? This week we discuss a few key New Year’s Eve health resolutions for a happier and healthier you, and tips on how to actually stick with them.
We have so many things going on around us. It can be difficult to stop and think about the aspects of our lives that we love. Being in a mindful and present headspace has been shown to reduce overall stress and increase mental focus. So, how and when can we remember to stay mindful and present during the craziness of our daily lives?
- When you can’t designate, integrate. Of course we would all love to take some time out of our day write about gratefulness, but some days are just too busy. So, do it on the go. Your evening work commute is a great time to sit and reflect on the important things. During family dinner, ask your kids what the best part about their day was. The little moments of presence and clarity will begin to add up, giving you happier days and a more fulfilling year overall.
- Change up your routine. It can be as simple as eating something new for breakfast, or driving a different way to work in the morning. When you change the way you inherently do your routine, you allow your brain to focus on the activity at hand, instead of thinking about your next step.
We’ve all had the “this is the year I lose weight” resolutions. For some of us, it works. For many of us, we fall back into the same rut after about week 2. This year, instead of having a specific, body-conscious goal, resolve to make healthier changes in the way you eat and live. This gives you the space and time to reflect on your choices, and improve them as the months go by.
- Meal planning and prepping really does work! Start the week with a list of the meals you’d like to cook. Even if you can’t cook all those meals for the week in one sitting, prepping your fresh ingredients is a great way to reduce cooking time all around and will set you up to cook at home, even on those days when takeout seems tempting.
- Always have a snack ready to go. It’s so easy to grab a fast snack at the gas station, or in the drive-through. But, by keeping a small stash of your favorite healthy (and portable) snacks in convenient places like your purse, car, work desk etc., you are more likely to choose the healthier option. Bonus points: Snacks high in protein and fiber will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- Schedule workouts like you do everything else. You schedule your doctor’s appointments. You schedule your hair appointments. Why don’t you schedule your workouts? According to a 2018 update of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, we should be getting 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (like running), at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (like brisk walking) or some combination of the two. When you live a busy life, making time for extra things on your to-do list can become overwhelming. But if you integrate healthy activities into your week by scheduling them, they will become part of your overall routine and won’t “take away” from your other responsibilities.
Wait, didn’t we just talk about getting fit a minute ago? Physically, yes. We know it’s important to keep our bodies strong, but we can sometimes ignore our mental and emotional strength. This year, making your inner strength a priority will give you the freedom to be more yourself than you ever have been. How do you get started?
- Only do things that bring you joy. Yes, we all have obligations and responsibilities. But, as women, we also tend to take on the obligations and responsibilities of others as our own, leaving us with less time, energy, and focus to do the things that recharge our batteries. This year, cut that out. If it’s a superfluous task that does not serve you, let someone else take the lead. Save your time for the task(s) that best serve your work/community/etc., AND you at the same time.
- “No” is a complete sentence. So many times we search for reasons to say no to things we don’t want or need, when in reality we don’t need to give an explanation for our decision at all. Declining an invitation to an event, or declining to participate in an activity does not make you an isolationist. What it does do is open you up to participate in the things that bring the best out of you.
- If you need something, ask for it! There are times we find ourselves wishing we had asked for our partners to get up with the kids, or gone out for that promotion at work, or even taken the lead in a group project, but for some reason didn’t. No longer can we expect others to know what we want out of our own life. We must take charge of ourselves and ASK for the things we want and need. When you value yourself enough to champion for your own happiness, the rest of your life and priorities begin to fall into place.
The simplest of all these “resolutions” is the understanding that you will give in occasionally, but also understand that it will be OKAY! Don’t take a slight falter as a sign you’re not cut out to take care of yourself. Learn from it, grow from it, and pick yourself back up. Remember that you’re not starting over, you’re starting again.
What are some of your big (or small) New Year’s resolutions this year? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter.