The majority of people who make New Year’s resolutions often focus on overly ambitious goals like “losing 30 pounds” or “running a marathon.” Although admirable, these resolutions sometimes become empty promises to ourselves. In 2014, aim for goals orientated towards well-being, whether it be physical, emotional, or social. Here are a few recommendations from experts on achievable goals you can set for yourself in the new year. Choose one, half or all:
- Get some fresh air: Being outside in nature can have a big effect on your mind and can help you de-stress. Find a place that speaks to you and visit it regularly. It can be your backyard or a bench at a local park.
- Step away from the screen: Research shows that children who spend too much time in front of screens such as computers, TV, or video games are at a greater risk for obesity and have a harder time falling asleep. They also tend not to focus as well and experience more anxiety and depression. Spend your free time doing something creative like painting or pick up a new book!
- Sleep more: You can change your entire life simply by sleeping more! Sleeping helps you burn fat, decrease stress, improves your immune system, and boosts your mood and mental clarity. Aim for 8 hours.
- Add something: Instead of focusing on eliminating sugar or fat, add something nutritious to your diet like an extra serving of vegetables or extra glasses of water. You can also add meditation to your bedtime routine or a book of financial planning to your reading list.
- Stop multitasking: Learn to be more mindful. Stop multitasking when you’re eating or driving the car and pay open attention to the present. Research shows people who practice mindfulness weigh less, stress less, and smile more.
- Breathe: Most people take shallow breaths throughout the day which can limit oxygen circulation and lead to increased anxiety and higher blood pressure. Inhale deeply, feeling your rib cage lift and your chest expand.
- Try something new: Try a yoga or Zumba class. If you want to eat better, take a healthy cooking class. Rediscover yourself.
- Be better: No one is perfect but everyone can try to do a little better each day. Whether it be swapping that bag of chips for an apple or taking your kids to the park instead of letting them watch television, treat yourself and your loved ones better.
- Pick a theme: Pick a word or a theme like “clarity” or “loving yourself.” Choosing a theme describing a feeling, rather than an action, will help you accomplish your goals. Once you have chosen your theme or your word, say it out loud and then write it down and try to connect to it on a personal level.
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