Out-of-the-box New Year’s resolutions
Take a lucky guess at what makes the top of most folks’ New Year’s resolution lists each year? If you guessed “lose weight,” you got it right.
Second question, do you think most resolutioners accomplish this goal? If you answered “No” then you are right again.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines resolution as the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem: the act of resolving something. If you look at resolutions in this way, it’s like we make lists each year to solve our problems, which can be a daunting tasks to achieve in 365 days. That’s why experts say so many resolutions end up being empty promises to ourselves.
The good news is that there are so many small ways you can make changes in 2014 to get on the path to better health. From where you live to how much you watch TV, Dr. Amy Crawford-Faucher, a family physician said it best in a recent article posted to CNN Health online. “Good health happens when the physical, emotional and social or environmental parts of our lives are in balance.”
The article outlined some small but impactful ways to think outside-of-the-box when making your 2014 resolutions…outlining attainable goals that will help you reach the BIG ones you fail to keep year after year.
So in 2014, instead of adding “lose weight” to your list, go with putting more happy energy out into the universe or adopting one additional healthy lifestyle habit. After all, isn’t being fit is an extra bonus of being happy and healthy?
Below are nine other tips offered in the article by different health experts that are sure to give you a big dose of health and happy all year-round.
Get your nature and fresh air on
Just being out in the elements of nature can help relieve an overloaded mind says Jennifer Beaton, vice president for fitness with the Bay Club Company in San Francisco.
She says because of the way our sympathetic nervous system mobilizes our fight-or-flight response, they body simply can’t tell the difference between stress caused by a dangerous situation or stress caused by a bad meeting at the office. “Though we might not feel it directly, our bodies do,” Beaton said.
She suggests taking time to find a place in nature that speaks to you and visit this happy place often, even if just for a short period of time.
You should also take time breath in some fresh air every day. You can do this by waking up a few minutes early to take a stroll around your neighborhood or by parking your car a little farther from the door when heading into the office.
Step away from the screen. Work to reduce your TV and computer time and try opting for a good book instead.
If you are looking for a good reason, there is a ton of research that shows children who spend too much time playing video games, on computers and watching television are at greater risk for being obese.
Get some ZZZs
Believe it or not getting eight hours of sleep each day can go a long way in helping you overhaul your life without much effort. A good night’s sleep helps you burn fat; it decreases your stress levels and improves your immune system. It also boosts your mood and mental clarity, says Jae Berman, a registered dietician and personal trainer with the Bay Club Company.
Give yourself a little something
Instead of focusing on cutting out say sugar or bread from your diet, make a resolution to add something another expert suggests. How about adding a green vegetable to every meal or some protein with your snack? You can also consider drinking a glass or two of more water each day. Over time, these small additions will help you succeed in achieving your long-term goals.
To help combat stress, use the same approach like adding 10 to 15 minutes of meditation each day or committing to adding one organizational tool to help you manage your daily schedule.
Try living in the present and being mindful. This means stop eating your lunch while working or having dinner while watching TV or doing homework.
Unless you are focused on your breathing, most folks take only shallow breaths throughout the day. When you breathe shallow, it limits the amount of oxygen circulating throughout your body. This can cause increased anxiety and higher blood pressure, according to Harvard’s Family Health Guide.
Try something new
Have you tried laughing yoga? Give it a whirl or if you like the outdoors, try climbing or running a small race. If you want to eat healthier but don’t know where to start, try taking healthy cooking class or join an online group. Interacting with people who share your passion will definitely help you stick to your goals.
Commit to being better
None of us are perfect. But we can all strive to be better. Make a pact with yourself to do one thing better each day. Whether it’s eating a cup of yogurt or putting down your phone during dinner and family time, more good habits are sure to follow.
Pick a resolution theme
Choose an adjective that describes how you want to feel all year around and let that guide your list of resolutions. Whether your theme is Magical or Humility or Clarity, some experts say choosing just one word that describes how you want to feel instead of focusing on what you plan to accomplish can be very powerful.
Whatever your adjective, make sure you really connect to it on a personal level, this way you are always reminded of the special little wonders that are motivating you to make changes that will result in a healthier and better you!
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.