January has almost drawn to an end, but it’s never too late to start good habits. The practice of setting New Year Resolutions is believed to date back over 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.
Despite our best intentions, many of us fail to keep our resolutions mainly because we set unrealistic goals. By keeping resolutions simple and achievable we’re far more likely to succeed at them.
Here are some ideas to inspire you to make resolutions you’ll most likely stick with…
- Make healthy food choices – as we get older we need fewer calories, but we still need plenty of nutrients. Eating more nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, lean meats and seafood whilst cutting back on foods that are low in nutritional value such as sugary drinks, desserts and white bread will help improve overall health. Tip: Use wholewheat pasta instead of standard egg pasta.
- Vary physical exercises –variety is the spice of life! To keep you motivated and excited about exercising try a variety of activities rather than just sticking with one. There are plenty of activities to choose from that cover the broad spectrum of mobilities. Focus on trying to cover something aerobic (walking, swimming), something strengthening (bodyweight squats, push ups, weights), something to improve flexibility (pilates, yoga).
- Try something new – a fun way to make life more interesting and keep you motivated, is to try out something new once in a while. Think about 12 things you’ve always wanted to try (learning a language, pottery, dying your hair etc), write them down on paper, fold them up and pop them in an empty jar. On the first day of each month, take one out of the jar and that’s your ‘something new to try’ for that month. You can also get your family or partner to do this with you too.
- Laughter is the best medicine – laughter is a great medicine for the body and soul. There are short and long-term benefits to laughing according to Mayo Clinic, the short-term benefits include:
- Laughter makes you increase your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles and increases endorphins released by your brain.
- Laughing triggers and then relaxes your stress response which increases and decreases your heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a super-charged feeling of overall relaxation
- Laughter also stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation which help to reduce the physical symptoms of stress. Long-Term benefits include:
- Improving your immune system
- Relieving pain
- Increased personal satisfaction
- Improving your mood
Finding an opportunity to laugh each day is going to help improve your health, so make sure you have a library of jokes, some recordings of your favourite sit-coms or your funniest friend’s phone number at hand to keep you chortling.
- Culture Club – Seeking out a bit of cultural immersion is a fantastic way to enrich the mind, and have a lot of fun in the process. Whether it’s joining a dance class, trying out a local acting group, watching some online art webinars or exploring some new music genres – interacting with the arts can help reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and stress whilst boosting your self-confidence and often opening the doors to new friendships etc.
- Cook up a storm – cooking can be a great way to improve your mood. Cooking requires patience, encourages mindfulness and is a fantastic way to express your creativity – with the added bonus of having something delicious to eat at the end! Perhaps arrange a recipe swap amongst a group of friends so you can all try something new, or challenge yourself with a new cookbook, focusing on a cuisine you’ve never tried before and see what you come up with.
If you decide to try any of these suggestions we’d love to hear how you get on, so do please let us know on our Facebook page.