New Year’s resolutions have become something we break within weeks of the start of the New Year. Whether it’s a new diet, a gym membership, vowing to live a less stressful life or just spending more time with your family, a majority of us go back to our old habits fairly quickly. Here are some valuable tips to make the top five most popular New Year’s resolutions more attainable.
Rather than following the latest diet fad, make your goal to simply eat healthier. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein-rich foods are essential for everyday meals. Try not to obsess over food labels and calories and focus on healthy fat and carb intake. Healthy fats consist of fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocado. Healthy carbs include sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and spaghetti squash. The key to eating clean is to eliminate processed foods that contain excess sugar, fat and unhealthy preservatives. Also begin to incorporate more antioxidants, which can be found in fruits, vegetables, juices and tea. Pomegranates, coffee, green tea and dark chocolate are extremely rich in antioxidants. Lastly, if you’re not doing so already, start taking a daily multivitamin. Adding a fish oil supplement can result in boosted energy, increased cardiovascular function and brain health.
There’s no magic secret to exercise and what works the best; just get up and move. While certain methods may not be for everyone, there’s a type of exercise for anyone. One hour of exercise only takes up four percent of your day, so using your limited time as an excuse isn’t going to cut it.
Crossfit is an up and coming favorite for ages ranging from 18 to 45. Traditional Olympic lifting is the most popular form of exercise for the younger demographic, especially former college athletes who continue their lifting regimen after graduation. However, the intensity of these exercises may not seem inviting for some. Zumba is a popular form of exercise that involves dance and aerobic choreography. Hot yoga is also on the rise, which aids in arterial heart health, flexibility and overall wellbeing and stress control. It consists of a Bikram style yoga performed in a 105-degree room with a humidity of 40 percent, so make sure to bring plenty of water.
Another low-impact exercise is biking, which can be done year round through group spin classes at your local gym. If there’s one exercise to avoid, it’s running on a treadmill.
“Treadmills create an unnatural running pattern that can have adverse affects throughout the body, especially on knees and feet,” said Katie Mitchell, an athletic trainer at Hofstra University.
These patterns can eventually lead to major injury. So if you’re looking to run, hit the open road.
Lower Stress Levels
While minor everyday stress is unavoidable, chronic stress has the ability to do serious damage. There is a magic secret to lowering stress levels and it’s called sleep. Getting adequate sleep is something that increases overall heath.
“Sleep lets both your mind and body rejuvenate your whole system. It allows the brain to sort through all new information that it’s gained, let’s muscles relax and recover and allows hormones to be released that promote healing and growth,” said Mitchell.
Without the proper rest, you run the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and mood disorders. Once your body starts getting tired from lack of rest, your mind will immediately follow. When the body and mind are constantly working to play a game of catch-up with your busy life, stress levels begin to skyrocket. “Getting the right amount of sleep allows you to hit the refresh button and let’s you regain the energy needed to face a new one,” said Mitchell.
Other stress relief techniques include yoga, meditation or deep breathing, even if it’s just for a few minutes at the end of the day. Exercise is a huge eliminator of stress because of the endorphins that are released throughout a workout.
Saving money is a common New Year’s resolution. It can be done by either walking, riding your bike or carpooling to work. Not only does it save money, but helps the earth as well. Another tip is making a grocery list. Rather than making multiple trips to the market throughout the week and grabbing things you might not necessarily need, make a list and plan to go once a week to get everything that you absolutely need. Start investing in your retirement. Setting aside money for the future, whether in an IRA, 401K, 403b or even just a savings or checking account can start you on the path to a financially secure retirement. It’s also important to learn how to properly save and build a budget. Using coupons, looking for discounts and sales, tracking expenses and utilizing a budget are skills that many people go years without. As for building a budget, sit yourself down and complete a yearlong budget. Keep it somewhere accessible such as the fridge or computer desktop so it serves as a constant reminder.
Stay In Touch
It’s easy to disconnect with family and friends, especially if they don’t live nearby. However, technology provides us with endless opportunities to reconnect. Social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow us to keep up with what’s going on in others’ lives. FaceTime, Skype and other video chat sites bring conversations to life by being able to both see and speak to the person as well as show them your surroundings. Write on someone’s wall, tag them in a post that simply reminds you of them or when you get some down time, hit the FaceTime button to see the face you’ve been missing.