Despite the popularity of making New Year’s resolutions, we’re not very good at keeping them. While many Americans will spend the next few weeks making plans for a healthier and happier 2018, only about 8% of people will actually achieve those goals. One study suggests that a whopping 80% of New Year’s resolutions will fail by February.
According to Dr. Stephen Graef, a sports psychologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to resolutions. “Some of the biggest mistakes people make,” he says, “are setting goals that are too broad, too big, or too many.”
Instead of setting yourself up to fail with lofty and often unattainable goals, start with practical and simple habits that you can start from the comfort of your own home. Now you don’t even have cold winter weather as an excuse not to keep your resolutions!
Ground rules for wellness resolutions
Before we get started, let’s set some ground rules. You shouldn’t set out to adopt all of the following habits simultaneously. As Dr. Graef said, too many goals can be a recipe for disaster.
It’s much more productive to pick one or two habits that you believe could make the biggest impact in the coming year. Choose a single goal and achieve it instead of setting multiple goals, burning out (in February) and failing to complete any of them.
Keep a journal
Journaling is about more than just chronicling your life. Research has shown that keeping a written record of your day can increase mindfulness, boost your intelligence, spark creativity, improve your overall awareness and communication, and help you achieve your goals.
Worried about the time commitment of keeping a journal? Jotting down a few notes about your day can be just as effective as writing a large passage. In the book Tools of Titans, author Tim Ferris suggests completing a 5-minute journal entry two times a day. In the morning, he fills in the following prompts:
· I am grateful for…1._____2._____3.____
· What would make today great? 1._____2._____3.____
· Daily affirmations. I am… 1._____2._____3.____
And in the evening he fills out two more prompts:
· Three amazing things that happened today… 1._____2._____3.____
· How could I have made today better? 1._____2._____3.____
Well-stretched muscles have an easier time achieving a full range of motion, protecting you from injury. Flexibility can also improve athletic performance, as well as everyday abilities like bending, twisting, and reaching.
Stretching ten minutes a day will improve your flexibility, and it can be done without leaving the house. For most adults, the lower-back, calf muscles, chest, and hip flexors are the areas that need the most stretching. Check out these gentle exercises that target tendons, joints, and muscles.
Massage therapy can also help you improve flexibility. As we get older, our bodies and joints tend to weaken and tighten. An in-home massage is a treatment that can help recover your flexibility, reduce pain, and make your body less prone to injuries too.
Make your bed
Your mom and dad were right.Win the morning by making your bed when you wake up. For some, bed-making feels like a waste of time since you’re just going to unmake your bed in the coming evening. But in reality, there are a range of benefits to this simple task.
First and foremost, making your bed is an easy win. Starting your day by completing a task makes you more productive for the rest of the day. Once you’ve completed one task, it’s much easier to go after the next task and the next one. As an added bonus, you start your day by performing a productive action, not worrying about the various stressors in your life.
And if that’s not enough,bed-making may improve sleep quality as well as overall productivity.
Charcoal water filters
In the last couple of years, we’ve become increasingly aware of the chemicals, pollutants and heavy metals floating around in our tap water. If you’re looking for an easy habit to pick up in 2018, start by purifying your water.
If you’re curious about the quality of your local tap water, start with the EWG Tap Water Database. Be warned: it can be unnerving to see the amount of cancer-producing and hormone-altering contaminants in our water.
Charcoal and other carbon filters use activated carbon to trap/remove contaminants and other impurities that are inside tap water. Many filters today – both on faucets and pitchers – already use these charcoal filters. And now there are water bottles that include active charcoal to filter tap water. If you’re looking for a simple but effective way to be healthier in 2018, start with a charcoal water filter.
Turmeric has been used for millennia in Asia as both a dye and a medicine. In recent years, Western medicine has confirmed what the traditional Indian system of treatment has said for generations: turmeric, which includes the active ingredient curcumin, can be used for the treatment of a variety of health conditions, specifically inflammation and chronic pain. Curcumin has also been known to improve liver functions because of its antioxidant abilities. In addition, turmeric can improve digestion, and it has shown promise in reducing risk of certain cancers.
If you’re looking to spice up your life in 2018, start with these turmeric recipes. You can add the spice to foods, such as eggs, rice, greens, and soups – or you can blend in into a smoothie or sprinkle it into your tea.
Turn off your device
The majority of us spend our days shifting our eyes between our phones and our computers. While it may not be practical to remove electronic screens from our lives entirely, shutting off your tech gadgets at night can do wonders for your sleep cycle.
If you want to improve your sleep in the New Year, develop a habit of shutting off objects with electronic screens two hours before you got to bed. While any light can disrupt sleep, the light emitted from phones, computers, TVs, and tablets, blue light, has been shown to be especially disruptive to the circadian rhythm, the sleep cycle. If you absolutely must be on your phone, use apps that block the blue light, which can trick the brain into thinking that it’s day time. Some useful mobile apps for blocking blue light include Iris, Nightshift, and Twilight.
Instead of looking at your phone or your laptop, open a book, do some yoga, write in your journal, or take a walk around the block before bedtime.
Take sugar out of your snacks
Americans are sugar addicts. While the World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, the average American is chowing down on 82 grams of sugar – over three times the recommendation. it’s It’s easy to go over the limit when a single 12 oz. soda can have as many as 46 grams of sugar. This excess sugar has been connected with weight gain, growth of cancer cells, heart disease, and so much more.
The road to reducing sugar begins at home. Instead of buying processed foods, which are almost always packed with sugars, start with whole or natural foods.Replace sugary drinks with healthier alternatives, like green tea or water. Clean out your pantry with extreme (sugar) prejudice. After all, you can’t eat sugar if you don’t have it in the house.
Since sugar is addictive, you will likely struggle with cravings at first. To satisfy your sweet tooth, reach for fruit. Ann apple or a cup of blueberries is a great, healthy alternative to that donut or Mallomar.
Healthy habits in 2018
When you’re setting goals and prepping habits for the New Year, remember that quality and commitment will always beat quantity.
Think about what’s practical for you in 2018, and then set a plan to achieve your goals. And happy New Year!