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10 Resolutions For Your Home In the New Year

10 Resolutions For Your Home In the New Year

Every year, the New Year arrives, brimming with possibilities. Promises and resolutions are abundant. You feel this time, it’s really going to be different and nothing will stop you from accomplishing your goals.

Now that January has rolled around, you must be really looking forward to a great 2016. You might have vowed to quit smoking, lose some weight, travel new places or spend some more time with your family. But what about your home – the place where you’ll spend most of your year? Below we present to you ten resolutions for your home this year, in the perfect spirit of new beginnings. They say home is where your heart is but a lovelier, better organized, and more comfortable place to live will surely work wonders.

1. Cut down the use of energy.

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    How about trying to improve the planet as well while you’re improving yourself? Going green could be a great way to make this year truly remarkable. You could start with solar panels or a hybrid car but those are not the only things that can make a difference.

    Learn to properly recycle, remember to turn off lights while you’re not using them and turn the taps off when you’re brushing your teeth. This way, you’ll not only contribute towards a better planet but also cut down your bills significantly.

    You can trim energy use by sealing and insulating your ductwork. This increases the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by almost 20%. It will make your home more comfortable and also extend the life of your furnace, heat pump and air conditioner.

    2. Create a healthy and family-friendly kitchen

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      The kitchen is the place where families gather together in the midst of all of the hassles of everyday life. While each of us are busy in our work and studies throughout the day, the kitchen is what brings us together.

      So why not make as healthy and family-together kitchen as possible? Make your kitchen clean and organized and keep it full of healthy and nutritious ingredients. Look out for some healthy recipes in cookbooks or online. Throw out anything that has overstayed in your kitchen by checking out their expiry dates. And also, transform your kitchen into a place that’s not just about cooking but also about connecting. Make the kitchen more accessible. You could also create a zone for kids in the kitchen. Try to make it multi-purpose and also elegant.

      3. Keep indoor air uncontaminated

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        Indoor air quality is one of the most important indicators of the quality of the environment you are living in. Prolonged exposure to polluted air can lead to complications like chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and lung cancer.

        Indoor air can be full of contaminants like dust, pollen and mold spores. The problem can be even more severe during winter when we prefer to keep our doors and windows shut all the time.

        The harmful irritants in your home can be eliminated by maintaining your HVAC system and changing furnace filters regularly, using low-VOC paints during remodeling of rooms and using localized ventilation in your bathrooms and kitchens to get rid of smoke, cooking fumes and surplus humidity.

        4. Install low-maintenance and durable materials

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          This year, shift your focus towards materials that are low-maintenance and durable. They will provide you a trouble-free service for a long time and since you have to spend minimal time maintaining them, they will spare you from worrying about looking after them. You could use fiber-cement siding which is weather-proof, exceptionally stable and resistant to fire, dents and rot and lasts for as long as 50 years. LED bulbs meanwhile last a phenomenal 18 to 46 years even when they are used for 3 hours every day.

          Seasonal artificial plants can be used to decorate your home if you don’t have time to spend hours every week tending to your flowers and trees in the garden.  Ceramic tiles which look extremely good on floors and walls meanwhile also last for decades.

          5. Make your house safe and sound

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            Your home may look wonderful and it’s properly organized also. How about putting some efforts into making it safe as well? You should ensure you’re not living with a potential fire, health or security risk. Besides installing fire detectors, check your house for gases like radon and carbon monoxide also. The hardware that perform these tests are not particularly expensive either. And, also watch out for dryer lint.

            Make sure your house is properly ventilated. You could also install door and window alarms, that don’t cost much these days. And also, ensure that your house is up to date with latest safety standards.

            6. Get your space organized

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              Getting rid of clutter is a must. In fact, it’s probably the best and cheapest way to feel better about your home. Of course, the act itself however can be quite overwhelming but can you think of a better way to start the year than with a clear and organized home? Keeping your space organized basically comes down to two things if you stick to them. One is to periodically get rid of whatever things you don’t use often or don’t like at all. The other is to only bring in things that you actually need.

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              Creating extra space for storage is another way to keep your home organized. With added space, you can store your possessions easily without your room looking untidy. So this year, how about making use of your imagination at creating a little more space in the most unimaginable places?

              7. Spend some time on home improvement projects together

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                How about trying your hand on some cool home improvement projects this year with your family? Such projects will not only improve your living place but you will also get to spend lots of quality time together as a family. You could try out some DIY projects. They are a fun and creative way to spend time and when finished, you’ll have something elegant to decorate your house with. They come in at all sorts of different budgets. Some of them don’t require much time to complete either.

                You could also try something organic. Plant a tree in your backyard or spend some time in the garden together with your family. Preparing home emergency preparedness kit or making your entrance more inviting is also a great idea.

                8. Get your finances right

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                  This probably could be the year you finally get your finances right. Creating a yearly budget will help you a lot. That way, you know how much you’ll need to spend this year and will also help to avoid overspending.

                  Do not forget to allocate some budget for improvement and maintenance of your house. Cutting down the use of energy will also help a lot. So turn off your air conditioner when you are not at home and dial your heater down to a lower temperature at night. Sound financial health is assured when you make enough money and when you do not overspend the money that you have worked hard to earn. So think of the ways to make enough money this year and also try to cut down costs as much as possible.

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                  9. Work out a system to keep your house clean

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                    Everybody loves to live in a clean house but almost everyone dreads the act of cleaning itself. Coming up with a solid plan to keep your house clean could be the best thing you did this year. Devise a daily, weekly as well as monthly plan to keep your entire house clean.

                    It’s best to focus on one particular type of cleaning at a time. You can wipe windows and mirrors first and then move on to sweeping the floors. And also, keep the cleansing utensils like sponge, scraper, cleaning cloths, plastic bags and apron in a place where you can easily find them.

                    You could also divide the cleaning job among the members of your family. Some of them can do dusting and vacuuming while the others can clean up the bathroom. This way, you can clean the entire house in no time.

                    10. Make your place more welcoming

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                      Every year, we vow to spend more time with family and friends. So why not make your house friendlier to increase the odds of real conversation and connection this year? All it takes is a little bit of rearrangement and a couple of updates.

                      You could start with your living room – the place where you welcome your family and friends. It doesn’t need to be very complicated either. Even adding a few bright cushions or placing down a new rug can make a huge difference. Guest bedrooms constitute the other essential part of the friendly experience. The experience of the guests in the places where they sleep can create lasting memories. So try to make them cozy and comfortable.

                      Featured photo credit: Kitchen Renovation by leyla.a via flickr.com

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                      Nabin Paudyal

                      Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                      Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                      How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                      How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                      Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

                      However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

                      Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

                      Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

                      Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

                      In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

                      What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

                      To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

                      The Biology

                      Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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                      Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

                      The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

                      A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

                      Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

                      So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

                      Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

                      Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

                      Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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                      Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

                      The Psychology

                      Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

                      Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

                      Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

                      Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

                      What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

                      Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

                      Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

                      1. Identify Your Habits

                      As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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                      2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

                      Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

                      It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

                      3. Apply Logic

                      You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

                      Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

                      4. Choose an Alternative

                      As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

                      Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

                      5. Remove Triggers

                      Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

                      Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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                      6. Visualize Change

                      Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

                      For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

                      7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

                      Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

                      Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

                      Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

                      More About Changing Habits

                      Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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