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It’s the holiday season and time for us to make New Year’s resolutions and set goals for the year ahead in order to improve our health, business, relationships, and our overall well-being. Have you ever made New Year’s resolutions a bit too ambitious, just to give up somewhere around February? Now let’s skip on those crazy big bites we might struggle to chew on, like writing a book or traveling the world, and let’s talk about resolutions you can make to live a better and healthier life.
On a cranky day, has anyone asked you, “Did you get enough sleep?” Yeah, people notice it. Sleep is one of the essential ingredients for us. It’s like a reboot button for our body and soul. Getting six to eight hours of sleep is the key for a successful, happy and productive day. Besides you looking fresh and rested, by sleeping enough you can significantly boost your immune system and be more resistant to infections. Our sleep goes through phases and it’s really important to let all those phases happen by keeping your sleep time in that healthy range of six to eight hours.
Pay attention to what you eat.
“You are what you eat.” It’s a fact. The food we take gives us energy that keeps us going. Make sure your meals are well balanced, containing the right amount of protein, fat, and fiber. Never skip breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day. Proper breakfast keeps your insulin levels well-balanced, providing you with a great mood and healthy energy while you are making the best of your day. Make sure vegetables are on your plate everyday. You should also try and include some kind of fish/meat at least once a week while trying to cut down on fast food and red meat. Simple, right?
I drink water when I’m thirsty. Wrong! When you feel thirst and an urge to drink water, you are already dehydrated and that is not good. Our bodies contain 60 to 70 percent of water, so it’s obvious that water is essential for us. I personally know a lot of people who don’t drink enough water, supplementing with harmful sodas or just drinking water when they feel thirsty. The average daily consumption of water for an adult should be about three liters per day.
One thing that can help you with drinking more water is a simple app. Go to your app store and download one of the many apps available. It works as a simple reminder with notifications to alert you with when to take a glass of water. Another great feature is a chart that shows you how much water you took in that day and if you are properly hydrated.
Move your body.
If you are anything like me then you hate exercising and getting sweaty. Let’s change that. It’s a hard fact that physical activity can do wonders for our physical and mental health. Alongside the toned and fit body, doing some sort of exercise can do a lot for our brains as well, by providing us with more energy, focus, productivity, and an overall great mood. If you are not a gym person, you could consider some form of martial art, dance, yoga, or simply walk more.
Say goodbye to bad habits.
Smoking and alcohol consumption are two of the most common bad habits people have. A glass of alcohol can be quite beneficial for you, but ONLY one glass. Any excessive drinking can be very harmful to you. So next time you are out with your friends, try to say, “No more for me,” after you finish your glass of wine. On the other side, smoking has no benefits for you whatsoever. It’s one of the worst habits a person can have. Smoking increases the risk for almost any disease out there, the biggest impact going to your lungs and blood vessels.
If the power of will is just not enough to cut on this disgusting habit, you should try and look for help. Nowadays, there are clinics that can provide professional help for people who want to quit smoking. There are also many books that can help you with tuning your mindset, or you can also try hypnosis. Just do something and leave this nasty habit in the past.
The level of stress and anxiety that people experience nowadays could be classified as mental illness 50 years ago. Most of our stress comes from not being in the moment. We rush through the day in order to handle all the tasks we put on ourselves, thinking ahead and making the worst possible scenarios in our head. Let’s learn how to live in the moment. I know it’s not the easiest thing to do, but first, let’s take a deep breath. It’s no wonder that most psychologists try to help their clients by implementing breathing techniques.
Taking a deep breath and fully paying attention to your breathing, feeling your stomach and chest expanding, is just what we need. When we do that, we are leaving no space for our brain to think about anything else. It’s observing our breath, it has work to do. Great trick. You can do this with almost any activity you do. When you cook, just be there, chop those veggies peace by peace. When you eat, feel the taste of the food, chew with awareness. When you are walking try to count your steps or simply repeat to yourself left, right as you make your steps. Look away from your phone, notice the world around you and just be present.
A wise man once said: “Gratitude is the fastest way to happiness.” We all have wishes and desires. It’s in human nature to always seek more and better. Many times, driven by those desires and projections we forget what we already have. The truth is we have much more than we think. Try to recall where you were one or two years ago and what have you accomplished so far. Stop for a second and count your blessings. Your family, friends, significant other, your home, job, your health…
We are so blessed and there are so many things we take for granted. Start counting things you are thankful for and you will immediately notice the smile on your face. Happiness will light up your being. It’s also a good idea to keep a gratitude diary. Everyday, write down five things that you are grateful for.
Try to find 15 to 30 minutes everyday for the most important thing you can master: The art of doing nothing. You don’t have to go full on Buddha there, just sit in a quiet place, close your eyes (or don’t), and reflect your thoughts. Don’t try to resolve anything, or to come to a conclusion. Just observe your thoughts as they arise, notice them, and let them pass by. Don’t worry about their meaning, just let them happen. This process is training your brain to filter and handle the thoughts worth our reaction, separating important ones from the million other random ideas that come to our mind.
Get better at communication.
Good communication is the key to a successful and meaningful relationship. When we are able to fully articulate our thoughts and emotions, communication thrives. That is only possible if we truly understand ourselves and our reaction mechanism. Why do we feel the way we feel and why do we act the way we act? If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get better at communication, a great way to do it is through the course of neuro linguistic programming, or NLP.
The program helps you with understanding yourself: Why you are the person you are, what emotional blockades do you have, who is responsible for those blockades, how they are affecting your life, and what you can do in order to change that. When these things become clear to us, it’s much easier to be honest with ourselves and with other people as well. This can significantly improve our communication and take it to the next level.
You are only one decision away from the completely new life. Decisions can be really difficult, but are also very useful. Make one now and try to stick with it. Whether you want that ripped body or to take better care of your beautiful mind, let’s make a promise that this New Year's resolutions are going to be the ones that will stay.