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5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Losing Weight (And Are Actually Achievable)

5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Losing Weight (And Are Actually Achievable)

Let’s face it, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, people generally don’t have the most successful track records. We set lofty, ambitious goals that seem super sexy when we’re setting them but leave us feeling inadequate and self-loathing a few weeks later when we’re right back where we started.

Remember the golden rule of goal setting? Always keep them SMART.

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based.

So, why do the rules change when you’re setting health goals at the end of the year?

New Year’s resolutions are just bound to fail — only 9.2% of people actually feel as if they’ve achieved them, according to University of Scranton research.[1] For whatever reason, we set impossible goals that aren’t achievable, too vague, too restrictive and aren’t specific enough to measure properly.

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But, I’ll be honest, I’m a statistic too. So instead of setting myself up for failure and doing the ‘all or nothing’ approach when it comes to choosing my health resolutions this year, I’m going to try something different: set health resolutions that a) have nothing to do with losing weight and b) are small, incremental lifestyle changes that I can actually keep.

I’m tired of feeling defeated and deflated in February, when my big dreamy health goals have gone to the wayside. But by choosing to implement small changes and setting my habits differently than I did last year, I stand a greater chance of avoiding all that mess, and making real change in my health habits.

So, here is how I plan on prioritizing my health and wellness this year, that has nothing do with dropping a jean size:

Get better sleep.

It’s no secret that everything suffers when we don’t get a good night’s rest — our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. With Arianna Huffington’s recent crusade to educate everyone about the sleep deprivation crisis we’re currently in, is there anyone out there who won’t prioritize getting better sleep in 2017?

As a self-proclaimed night owl, it’s too easy for me to neglect my night time routine. But, cleaning up my night time habits like putting my phone down earlier, banning the bedtime snacks and literally cleaning up my sleep environment will help me get better sleep.

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Studies have shown that when you keep your sleep environment clean, you get a better night’s rest. Luckily for us, we live in a time where anti-bacterial sheets are available, and the latest sleep innovation is a self-cleaning mattress. Talk about a dreamy bed!

Drink more water.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel better when I’m actually hydrated. Dehydration has been linked to triggering migraines, shrinkage of brain tissue and even dampening your mood.

There’s a reason that water is so vital to our well-being: it makes up almost two-thirds of who we are, and influences 100 percent of our processes. But instead of putting pressure on myself to get my eight glasses a day, I’m going to aim for hydration. If I’m feeling sluggish, cranky or feel a headache come on, I’ll reach for my water bottle first.

Eat more greens.

This one is pretty self explanatory but let’s dig into it anyway. Greens = healthy food. Healthy food = feeling good. Feeling good = better life.

I know first hand that when I eat more leafy greens and vegetables, I just feel better.

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But here’s the science: leafy greens pack a ton of vitamins and nutrients — vitamin A, C, E and K. Plus essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. They are nature’s nutritional powerhouse.

Greens are essentially the number one food you can eat on a regular basis to improve your health. So here’s to hiding spinach in my smoothie, sprinkling some parsley on my soup and eating an entire batch of kale chips…instead of my regular wavy Lays.

Cut back on complaining.

Making the necessary health changes to better your life requires more than the physical work, it requires a mindshift as well. And, it’s no secret that complaining is just downright bad for you.

If you’re constantly complaining, you’ll never be in the right frame of mind to make any lifestyle change. According to science, complaining can be detrimental to not only your mental health but your physical well-being as well.[2]

When you’re constantly stressed, your cortisol levels are elevated — and that interferes with learning and memory, lowers your immune function and bone density, and increases weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease.

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Apparently, simply having a negative thought makes having another one easier. Negativity will start to occur more randomly, and eventually your personality just becomes negative. But gratitude and happiness can also work the same way, which brings me to my next point.

Practice self-acceptance

I’ve never picked a theme for the year, but since I’m approaching things differently this time around, I’m going to try and stick to one for 2017. The word I’m going to abide to is ‘enough’.

After (finally) reading Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly,’ I’m starting to see that the true key to happiness isn’t material or checking things off my to-do list. It’s actually about showing yourself some compassion, and embracing the idea that you are already enough.

Self-acceptance is the number one habit that corresponds most with people being satisfied with their life[3]— but it’s the habit that we practice the least. Changing my inner dialogue to a positive one will probably be one of the best habits I’ve learned yet.

Featured photo credit: Allef Vinicius via unsplash.com

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Jennee Rasavong

Freelance Content Marketer

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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