5 Sustainable Lifestyle Changes to Make Instead of New Year’s Resolutions
Did you know? It’s estimated that 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions and only 8% of us achieve them! This year skip the resolutions and instead make small lifestyle changes that are sustainable all year long. Long term achievable goals like finding time to fit in more walks, or switching out soda for seltzer will add up over the year while your enthusiasm for a gung-ho attack on fitness may diminish with the first 5am bootcamp.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting New Year’s goals is overreaching. Making a sweeping change like suddenly going vegan or jumping into an intensive working routine when you’re not fitness person is just setting yourself up for failure. Instead, set smaller daily goals that you’re more likely to achieve with regularity. It’s inevitable that you’ll miss a day here and there; the key thing is to forgive yourself and get back on track immediately.
Here are some simple lifestyle changes that add up in a big way:
Drink more water. Plain water, ice water, seltzer water, whatever kind of water you can drink, drink more of it. Most of us are chronically dehydrated during the day which can cause everything from lethargy to irritability. Feel better mentally and physically by increasing your daily pure water intake.
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Stretch more. Many of us have sedentary jobs where we sit for long periods of time. Whether it’s behind the wheel or behind a desk, all this time in one place tightens up joints and decreases our flexibility. Increase the strength and flexibility of your muscles and tendons while helping the body and mind release daily stress. You’ll sleep better, have better posture and stronger balance!
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Connect with people daily. Like IRL and not online! Even eye contact and a shared smile with a stranger is enough to increase our feelings of connection with other humans. Make it a point to have more daily connections with people. Give an extra hug, smile at strangers, instead of thinking a compliment say it aloud; there are many opportunities throughout the day to make one or more new interactions. Humans are social animals and we thrive on feeling connected. Go on and see if it doesn’t make you happier!
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Set a sleep schedule and follow it. Lack of sleep has a hugely negative impact on both mental and physical health. Most of us feel like we don’t get enough of it. Establishing a sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster and sleep more restfully throughout the night. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day and stretch before bed, use a lavender pillow spray, listen to a few minutes of an audiobook; or do whatever eases you into a calm and peaceful state of mind.
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Find a physical activity that you enjoy. Not everyone wants to head to the gym for 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer. If you’re not a gym person or a jogger, there are still plenty of ways to get more active. Gardening is a great all-over workout. Weeding, digging, squatting, planting, all use different muscle groups. Get a workout without leaving your yard! Gardening isn’t the only alternative to traditional exercise; try dance, active video games, martial arts, nature walks, geocaching, metal detecting, gold panning, outdoor photography or parkour. Even if all you do is park in the furthest spot in the parking lot, find ways to get in a little more activity during each day!
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