The end of the year comes with enough hustle and bustle that considering lifestyle changes for the upcoming 12 months may not be a top priority. Even so, New Year’s resolutions are an age-old tradition that represent a commitment to shift mindsets, daily habits, and ultimately improve the quality of life from several different perspectives. But coming up with resolutions that are both healthy and manageable can be a true challenge. Here are four changes you can make in 2017 to be your best you in mind, body, and spirit.
Reduce Your Stress Level
Even though you may not always feel overwhelmed or anxious, stress plays a significant role in how well or poorly our bodies function. Daily stress can cause the following issues:
Tension or pain in the muscles
An upset stomach
Inability to get restful sleep
Sadness or depression
Instead of treating the symptoms of stress, it is beneficial for your long-term health to work on reducing stress on a day to day basis. As part of your New Year’s resolutions, you can take simple steps to eliminate stress from your life, including increasing your physical activity, taking up meditation or getting a regularly scheduled massage, adding a social event to your calendar every now and again, and carving out time for relaxing hobbies. Adding one or more of these activities to your routine is known to reduce external stressors, making for a healthier, happier you in the upcoming year.
Improve Your Diet
One of the most common resolutions is focused on improving your diet, but for most, that’s easier said than done. However, stepping up your nutrition game doesn’t have to be a far-reaching goal. Instead of trying to completely revamp your diet to meet unrealistic calorie or nutrient goals, follow simple steps to find a healthy balance in what you eat.
An easy method to get more nutrients in every meal is to add color to your plate. Challenge yourself to get as many natural colors into each meal from plants and other sources, and you’ll notice a big difference in how healthy your diet becomes. You can also take small steps like reducing your alcohol intake or skipping dessert every time you dine out. Planning ahead for snacks and lunches throughout the workday also helps in making your diet much healthier.
Reconnect with Old Friends, Family Members
In our ever-connected world, it is easy to think we’ve kept in touch with friends and family from all corners of the world, but often technology provides only a superficial connection with the people we care about the most. A like or a comment on a social media post is hardly the same as a face-to-face coffee date! Reconnecting with old friends outside the confines of technology offers an unexpected health boost that’s worth chasing in the New Year.
Spending an hour or two with someone you haven’t seen for years gives a new perspective not only on your life and well-being but on the other person’s accomplishments and unique path as well. This connection prompts a level of self-reflection that works in our favor, giving us some insight into just how far we’ve come – or how far we need to go in the future. Reconnecting with old friends and family may not be a common New Year’s resolution, but it is incredibly beneficial for maintaining a healthy outlook on life.
Do Something Different
Another simple, healthy New Year’s resolution revolves around stepping out of your comfort zone. Taking on the challenge of something new, like running your first 5k or traveling to a part of the world you’ve never experienced, has known benefits for the mind and body. Not only does trying something different help you break out of a rut, it also allows you to gain a new appreciation for the world around you and the capabilities you may not have known you had. Pushing yourself past your current limits can also have an impact on your confidence level which ultimately improves your overall well-being.
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be daunting tasks that seem too far-fetched to easily accomplish. Whether you want to reduce stress, improving your diet, reconnecting with loved ones, or trying something new, keep your New Year’s resolutions in reach by implementing small steps to change your habits. Focus on making your goals manageable and realistic, and you’ll be amazed at what you’re able to accomplish in the upcoming year.