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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

Reference

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Jennee Rasavong

Freelance Content Marketer

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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