Chances are you’re either a resolution kind of person or they’re just not your thing. Actually, more than half of us have given up completely on making new year’s resolutions. It’s understandable – they’re nearly impossible to achieve so why even try?
As difficult as resolutions are to keep, they’re not worth giving up on entirely. There are ways to follow through on your commitment to self-improvement. One of these is picking the right goal for the right reasons.
With this in mind, we wanted to make a list of simple and achievable goals that even the most anti-resolution-iest of us can achieve.
- Practice Gratitude
Studies show that practicing gratitude can reduce depression, stress, and aggression. It can also increase overall happiness, improve self-esteem, and contribute to better sleep. And if you’ve struggled to keep physical health resolutions, you might do better with a mental health resolution.
The good thing about practicing gratitude is the more you do it, the easier it gets. To start off, make a goal to write down three things you’re thankful for every night before bed for a week. Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to get your gratitude time in. If you like this ritual, keep going! If not, find ways to adjust. Maybe, you do better with mentally listing things, or maybe this is more of a weekly ritual for you. Either way, the point is that once you start looking for reasons to be thankful, the more you’ll find.
- Eat More Plants
It’s estimated that only 1 in 10 Americans get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. We now know that our diets don’t only affect our waistlines, but a poor diet can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and even dementia. A simple way to improve your overall health is to commit to eating enough fruits and vegetables this year.
A great goal is to aim for 5 servings of fruits or vegetables every day. This can be a lot if you’re not much of a plant-eater. But it’s perfectly fine to set a lower goal and work your way up. One way to do this is to make sure half of your plate is produce (and not just potatoes). Because it’s not always easy to know how much a serving is, this is an easy visual you can do every time you eat. You can also try having one meal a day without meat. Finding tasty, well-balanced vegetarian meals will help give you more options when you’re searching for ways to get more veggie servings. From there, you can always bump it up to one day a week without meat. You’ll be getting your fill of fruits and veggies in no time!
- Take the Stairs
Taking the stairs can help combat a sedentary lifestyle, which is common in our 9-5 culture. It burns calories and strengthens leg muscles, can improve cardiovascular health, and may reduce the risk of stroke.
The idea of going to the gym 4 days a week is great, but it can also be overwhelming. Committing to taking the stairs when given the option is a simple way to make sure you’re moving a bit more than you did last year. Plus, the more you do it, the stronger you’ll become, and the easier it’ll get.
Studies have linked meditation to improved mental and brain health. One study found an association between an hour-long meditation session and roughly a 65% increase in dopamine levels. It’s been shown to also help reduce anxiety symptoms, improve depression symptoms, lower blood pressure, and more.
Meditation can be intimidating for many people. If you’re one of these people, start small. You can find free guided meditations on YouTube and different apps. You can start with as little as 3 minutes and work your way up over time (or you can choose to stay consistent with a short meditation).
Meditating every day is ideal, but if that doesn’t work for you, set a different goal. Maybe it’s every Wednesday and Sunday, maybe it’s just once a week. The most important thing is to start and keep at it.
The new year is also a perfect time to try one of our programs to improve how you feel and perform on a daily basis.
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