January is a funny month – the big holidays are behind us, along with the stress of family gatherings, long-distance travel, and amusing the kids during their winter break. It’s a month that marks the beginning of a new year, and an opportunity to turn over a new leaf.
If you plan on making any resolutions for the New Year, take some inspiration from this list of 12 that you can use to improve your life.
#1 Be More Active
Recent studies have discovered a link between sitting for extended periods and a 50 percent increased risk of death from all causes. Other health problems related to sitting for too long include:
- Heart disease
Even worse – even when researchers adjusted for time spent engaged in exercise (up to a few hours per week), the people who sat longer still had a higher rate of disease and death than non-exercisers who spent more time standing or walking.
Commit to improving your health in the next year by resolving to stand and walk more rather than the spend most of your time either at a desk or on your sofa.
#2 Start Exercising Regularly
This is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions and one of the best. Although sitting for too long can be bad for your health – just standing around won’t do as much good as exercising. Sure, the gyms are crowded in January from everybody else trying to trim down from Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, too much drink, and a regular diet of holiday pastries – but you can even get a good workout at home.
Try these alternatives:
- Get some exercise vids and sweat off the pounds in your living room
- Invest in a stationary bike or treadmill
- Start jogging around the neighborhood
Resolve to dedicate time to looking and feeling better by starting (and maintaining) a good exercise routine.
#3 Get More Sleep
Getting too little sleep carries a broad range of health risks and can make you more liable to suffer many serious diseases. According to an article on Harvard University’s Healthy Sleep website, chronic sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for your health.
Studies show that people who get less than six hours of sleep per night tend to have a higher body mass index while people who sleep at least eight hours have the lowest on average. One reason for this is that sleep deprivation depresses the hormone that tells you that you’ve had enough to eat – leptin.
Many studies have also shown that adults who typically sleep less than five hours have a much more increased risk of developing diabetes. By resolving to get more quality sleep time you’ll enjoy feeling more rested, less stressed, and be healthier.
#4 Learn to Prioritize
Resolve to focus on the most important things first. Instead of attacking everything willy-nilly – try focusing on the most critical issues first. A good exercise is to ask yourself: “If I could only do five things for the rest of my life, what would they be?”
This mental exercise will give you some perspective on what’s important to you. Try it out; you might be very surprised by your answer. Armed with this piece of self-knowledge ask yourself the same thing about what needs to be done today, this week, this month, etc.
#5 Get Better Organized
It’s easy to lose track of paperwork, belongings, information, and so on – so resolve to be better organized and have a good idea of where everything important is kept. Start with your desk, closets, and drawers and work your way up to places like the attic, garage, and basement. Resolve to get a handle on where all your things are and improve:
- Improve work or school performance
- Stress less since you won’t have to look for lost items just when you need them
- Reduce clutter for a better work/living space
#6 Spend More Time with Loved Ones
The old saying is that no one on their deathbed ever wished they had spent more time at work. And, it’s true – what we remember is the wonderful times we’ve spent with our friends and family. Resolve to spend more time with the people that matter to you. Even making a quick call can make a huge difference in your life, especially regarding your older relatives. Don’t regret not having spoken one last time with a parent or grandparent who passed unexpectedly.
For those of us with children; don’t forget that they grow up before you know it. Enjoy being with them now, while they still need you and can’t imagine life without you.
#7 Read More
Reading is magical. Not just becoming immersed in a fantastic adventure set in far-off lands, but listening to the ideas of other people as if they were speaking to you face to face. Read more in the New Year and learn or be entertained by people from anywhere and anytime in the world.
#8 Watch Less TV
Unless you’re watching a historic event like the moon landing or an informative documentary; TV is wasting your time. Resolve to use your time better and avoid vegging out in front of the flatscreen. Read, exercise or learn a new skill, but resolve to do something more productive with the time you usually spend watching sitcoms or crime shows.
#9 Pay More Attention
Many of us go through the day glued to tablets, smartphones, and TVs. How often do you look up from the device in your hand or on the desk and take a look around?
Resolve to pay more attention and who knows what you may notice?
- An attractive stranger smiling at you
- A business opportunity
- A fantastic bargain
- That bus barreling straight toward you
You get the idea. Try looking around you and noticing your surroundings a little more often.
#10 Complaining without Offering a Solution is Whining
We hear it from children all the time: “I’m hungry,” and “I don’t want that,” instead of “I’d like spaghetti please,” and “I would rather have soup instead.” Adults are often just as bad. Instead of complaining, try offering someone the solution to your problem as well.
Besides making it clear to whoever you’re complaining to; you’ll have a clear idea of exactly how an issue can be resolved so you can focus on getting the best resolution from the beginning.
#11 Listen More
How often do you monopolize a conversation? Consider it from the other person’s point of view; how interesting is a conversation when you can’t get in two words edgewise?
Resolve to be a better listener by learning to talk less and care more about what someone has to say. Remember that a conversation isn’t a monologue, and that you may find out a lot by hearing more of what other people have to say.
#12 Look on the Bright Side
Resolve to be less pessimistic. I know it can be hard when the plumbing is clogged up, or you got a flat on the way to work – but the stress of always expecting the worse can actually damage your health!
The idea is not to mull on the bad things and appreciate the good that’s still there. Flat tire? Great! Easy and cheap to fix and I didn’t have an accident. You still have a flat tire, but you’re not stressing over it.