According to this Forbes article, 40% of us will make New Year’s resolutions, but just 8% of us will actually achieve our New Years’ goals. Look at the various lists of resolutions popping up today and you’ll likely see those listed below. In fact, you probably included a few of these on your own list of resolutions.
Let’s make 2014 the year we increase that 8% statistic! Use the tips and resources below to stick to resolutions and turn them into healthy habits!
1. Stress less
- Set your cell phone timer to ring every hour with a reminder to take 5 or 6 deep breaths and get up from your desk to stretch your legs
- Minimize morning stress by prepping your breakfast the night before using these ideas
- Consider a daily meditation practice. Apps like Breathe2Relax and HeadSpace are both really helpful and easy to use!
- Keep a gratitude journal that you write in daily.
- Practice “4-7-8” breathing 2-3 times each day (Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and exhale for 8 counts)
- Consider swapping 1 of your cups of coffee for tea, which has special nutrients that provide an even caffeine buzz
2. Lose weight/get fit
- Skip the fad diets. Instead of following a fad diet, join a program like Weight Watchers, join a local hospital’s healthy eating group, or work with a registered dietitian. Consistently eating well should make you feel energized and empowered.
- Sip tea after dinner. Nighttime is often when stress-eating rears its head. Not only does sipping herbal tea provide soothing relaxation, it also provides hand-to-mouth movement that snacking does, but without the excess food intake.
- Avoid “all-or-nothing” thinking. Extreme goals usually aren’t conducive to everyday life. You’re likely to feel like you’ve failed and drop exercise and healthy eating all together. Instead, set one or two small “health & wellness” goals and stick with them until they become habits. Then move on to a few new goals.
3. Eat healthier
- Make more meals at home. Check out the recipes at BumbleBee.com, CookingLight.com, EatingWell.com, and CJNutrition.com for ideas and inspiration.
- If you find that the only veggies on your plate tend to be those that accompany dinner, aim to fit a serving into each of your other meals. Add some sautéed spinach and salsa to your egg sandwich in the morning, crunch on carrots and hummus as snacks, and load up your sandwich with plenty of lettuce and tomato at lunchtime.
- Think of willpower like a muscle — the more you focus on and use it, the stronger it becomes. Remind yourself of this as you make each healthy choice, like cooking dinner at home. Before you know it, what once took willpower will be habit.
- Don’t get discouraged if you get off-track. The most important thing you can do is get right back on track. Don’t try to starve yourself to make up for the extra calories. Just get right back into your healthy eating rhythm!
- Grab some simple spices and use them on everything savory! Garlic powder, smoked paprika, and freshly ground peppercorns are delicious on anything from veggies to fish. Chili powder, ground cumin, curry powder, and a salt-free Italian seasoning blend are also handy ways to add mega flavor to food as you start cooking more at home.
4. Drink less alcohol
- Treat alcohol as you would any other treat, like dessert or fried food — have it in a small amount and really savor it.
- Look closely at WHY you drink. If you love the flavor of a great locally brewed beer, then have a glass and really enjoy it. If you use alcohol as a medication, such as having a glass or two of wine to put you to sleep at night, or heading directly to the liquor cabinet when you’re stressed, seek alternatives that accomplish the same purpose. Sip herbal tea at night before bed to relax, or call a friend to meet up for a walk-n-talk when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Sip water in between every drink when you’re out for social occasions.
- Evaluate how your friends and family affect your drinking. If you have friends who pressure you to drink more than you want to, or who don’t want to hang out unless you’re drinking, consider hanging out with them less often and opt for spending the majority of your social occasions with friends who like to do non-alcohol related activities.
- Take an honest look at how much you drink and your drinking patterns, and seek professional help if necessary.
5. Better work/life balance
- Sit down with the people in your household each week and discuss everyone’s upcoming schedule together.
- Schedule in the work and social events that are most important to you ahead of time. Make these events of equal priority and schedule less pressing items around them.
- Find a good mantra or quote that inspires you to work towards ongoing balance and flexibility, or find inspiration and tips from other people who have sought to find this balance. Here are a few quotes from famous women.
- Look at your current friends, family, and co-workers and be honest about who respects your time and who violates any of your boundaries. This will be personal for everyone and there is no right or wrong set of criteria, but it is worth thinking about in order to be aware of when and where you can create time in your life.
- Be 100% present at work and 100% present away from work — avoid being 50% present 100% of the time. We like these simple yet powerful tips.
Are you making resolutions this year? Are they on this list?