Written by Victoria Candland
Just as fast as they came, the holidays are finished and 2015 here! And you know what that means: it’s time to think about New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions can seem so daunting and hard to maintain, and we find ourselves breaking the habit by mid-February, or sometimes the first week of January. But New Year’s resolutions need not be arduous, and we should always be striving toward improvement in our lives, especially in our health.
If you haven’t thought of New Year’s resolutions yet, it’s not too late! It’s still January, so they still count right? I think so! We have a whole year ahead of us so let’s make some healthy changes!
If you’re like most of America, during the holidays you eat way too many calories, sit on your rear way too much and exercise way too little. So, this new year, let’s think of ways to be healthy, and ultimately happy. Here are five simple, doable New Year’s resolutions that will lead to a healthier you.
1. Avoid the scale.
What did you say? In all seriousness, avoid the scale. Nothing is more fickle than a scale—your weight can fluctuate based on what you eat, drink, what time of day it is, even how much you sweat or don’t sweat at the gym. And women’s weight tends to fluctuate slightly based on menstrual cycle and hormones throughout the month. For many, the number on the scale can become an obsession if we’re not careful.
Instead, to mark your weight goals, you can use a measuring tape to measure your waist, thighs, etc. Oftentimes, if we are eating healthy and doing cardio and lifting weights, we actually gain weight rather than lose weight. We lose a lot of fat, and we gain muscle, which weighs more than fat. So the measuring tape can help you to see how you’ve toned and how your muscles have grown and see the fat you’ve lost. You’ll actually be much trimmer than before. You can also focus on the way your clothes fit you, or just the way you feel in general. If you don’t feel bloated or achy, if you feel healthy and strong, then you’re doing it right.
2. Get some sunshine.
In our ever-increasing technological world, we spend most of our time indoors in an office or other environment. Unlike the hunter-gatherers of old who couldn’t avoid it, we have to make a deliberate choice to spend time outside. Decide to take a walk during your lunch break at work or go for a trip to the park with your kids.
Studies have suggested that those who spend more time in the sun live longer. And if you’ve ever spent time in a Polynesian country, where the sun shines year round, you’ll find that they are some of the happiest people in the world. The sun gives us necessary vitamins and nutrients, including
Spending time outside is harder in the winter months, especially if you live in a part of the country where it snows. But, you can always bundle up and go for a brisk walk or make a snowman with your family or go skiing. Seasonal affective disorder is a real thing; our bodies crave the sun and we can grow wary of the long nights and short days. So make the most of the sunny hours!
3. Drink more water.
Goodness gracious, ditch this fad of Diet Coke! It’s actually terrible for you. Ditch your bad drinking habits and drink more water. Sweetened drinks can actually heighten your chance of getting kidney stones if consumed in excess, but water adversely reduces your risk of kidney stones. For more information on how water helps keep your kidneys healthy, click here.
Drinking enough water can rejuvenate your skin and prevent signs of aging as well as help prevent headaches and other health issues. The eight 8-ounce cups a day is a good rule to live by.
4. Use positive self-talk.
We should stop ragging on ourselves all the time. Be confident in your own skin, love yourself, and don’t compare yourself with others and their places in life. Theodore Roosevelt said it well, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When you feed yourself positive thoughts like “I’m smart,” “I’m capable,” “I look beautiful in this dress,” your mind changes and you begin to look at yourself and the world differently. When you love yourself, you are more motivated to complete your goals and you actually believe you can do them.
Try this on for size: before you leave the house every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself three things you love about yourself. You will have a much better day from that simple action.
5. Stay in touch.
The state of our relationships can have a big effect on our health. And, like sunshine, studies have suggested that those who have stronger social ties live longer. If you haven’t talked to some friends in a while, schedule a lunch date. Or if some loved ones live far away, there’s always social media platforms or your phone to stay in touch.
A great and personal hobby that has been lost is letter writing. Make the New Year’s resolution to be pen pals with a friend from high school or with your sister who is 10 years younger than you and you’d like to know better. There’s something very intimate and sweet about communicating through hand-written letters.
The idea of New Year’s Resolutions doesn’t need to immobilize you. Choose one of the ideas above, and take it a day at a time. Once you feel like you’ve mastered that, choose another. Before you know it, you’ll be seeing results as a happier, healthier you.
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