When the holiday decorations are all put away (along with all of the champagne and empty calories), and the calendar flips from December to January, we tend to make a lot of promises to ourselves. You know how it goes: New Year, new you, right? It’s like a clean slate and instant incentive to change all of those things you’ve been meaning to work on for the past 12 months, but just couldn’t get motivated to do.
Now that it’s a new year, it’ll be so much easier to completely change how you live day to day, right? How hard can it be? Well, according to Psychology Today, most of us have no problem making those completely life-changing promises to ourselves but roughly only 10 percent of us succeed in achieving them.
Surprised? We’re not. Creating successful habits takes time and repetition, and if you’re not setting realistic goals for yourself, it’s just not gonna happen. This year, instead of holding yourself to some unattainable standards, resolve to focus on creating healthy habits as opposed to breaking old ones. Read on for four healthy habits you can adopt (and maintain) in the new year that will get you closer to achieving that ultimate goal of living your best life.
Eat Your Veggies
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Dieting is hard. Vowing to never eat carbs again is virtually impossible. If you think you’re somehow going to give up chocolate for as long as you live? Well, talk to us when you’ve come to your senses. Instead of depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy, this new year try including more foods that offer greater nutritional value at every meal. Aside from being a great source of vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables also do a great job of filling you up. Plus, they’re relatively easy to grab on-the-go or throw on the side of your plate (we’re looking at you, baby carrots).
Of course, you can cut back on carbs and sweets, too. Curbing portions is another relatively easy way to make sure you’re putting more of the good-for-you stuff in your body without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy. In the end, it’s a lot easier to stick to a healthy diet when you don’t really feel like you’re on one at all.
Okay, we know everyone says they’re going to exercise more come January, but then by Valentine’s Day, it’s less gym-time and more stretch-for-the-remote-on-the-couch time. If you’re determined to make exercising more of a regular thing this year, then do yourself a favor and pick an activity you enjoy over one that you’re told will help you lose weight. The truth of it is, if you’re not having fun going to the gym at 5:30 a.m. every morning to run on a treadmill while half-asleep, you’re not going to keep it up.
Instead of dropping a bunch of cash on a membership you may not use, try taking a few different exercise classes instead to figure out what you do enjoy. Maybe you’re a Zumba goddess eager for a dance floor. Perhaps you’re more of yoga diva born to strike a warrior pose. Double down on your new-found love of exercise and invite a friend to join you. Nothing beats having fun with your bestie–except for maybe burning calories while you’re doing it.
Get More Sleep
In theory, this should be an easy New Year’s resolution to keep. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of squeezing in a few extra minutes of shut-eye and waking up refreshed, recharged and ready to start the day? As much as we all love the thought of getting more sleep–and as easy as it seems to accomplish–when you actually try to put this into practice, sleep seems like less of a priority on your never-ending to-do list. Before you know it, it’s 1 a.m., and instead of sleeping soundly, you’re on a deep dive Pinterest mission for 30-minute meal ideas.
We know it’s hard to “turn it off” sometimes, but getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep each night can do wonders for your productivity during the day–not to mention your overall health.
Try upping your bedtime by 30 minutes each night to give your body and mind plenty of time to unwind after a long day. Take a relaxing bath, read a book or listen to music. Don’t be afraid to set an “atmosphere” while you do it. Use a fragrant bath bomb or light a scented candle. Not only will the calming scents help you relax, but aromatherapy can help you fall asleep as well—especially beneficial for someone who tends to toss and turn. And, if you are having a hard time drifting off to dreamland, whatever you do, resist the urge to use electronics in bed. Scrolling through social media or sending a last-minute email can have the opposite effect of calming your mind and could actually activate your brain with excitement.
Establish a Skincare Routine
Think about it. Your skin is one of the first things people notice about you. Don’t you want yours to look its best all year long? Establishing a solid skincare routine is key to healthy, glowing skin and can be as simple as cleansing, moisturizing and wearing sunscreen (yes, even in the winter). Of course, not just any product will do. Put a little time and research into finding the right moisturizer and facial cleanser for your skin type. Do you have oily skin and are prone to breakouts? Or are you suffering from blotchy or dry, flaky skin? Knowing how to help your skin will go a long way in picking your products. If, after using them for a couple of weeks, you see no difference in your appearance, you may need to reassess or add another step like a toner or serum.
Remember to always wash your face in lukewarm water every evening to wash away all of the oils, dirt, makeup and pollution you’ve been exposed to during the day. Not only will keeping your skin clean at night help your pores remain clog-free–which means fewer breakouts–but it’ll also help fend off oxidative skin-aging damage. Following up your nighttime cleansing with a hydrating moisturizer is never a bad idea, especially if you’re battling dry skin.
Set your sights on a healthier you this new year and pick up a few of these healthy habits sure to help you get there–without too much hassle.