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. For whatever reason, we set impossible goals that aren’t achievable, too vague, too restrictive and aren’t specific enough to measure properly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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— 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
|||^||Statistic Brain: New Years Resolution Statistics|
|||^||Psych Media: The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you.|
|||^||Science Daily: Self-acceptance could be the key to a happier life, yet it’s the happy habit many people practice the least|